TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 ACM Edition Watch Review

TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 ACM Edition Watch Review

TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 ACM Edition Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Allow us to take this opportunity to not just review a unique version of the TAG Heuer Monaco, but also to review the collection as a whole. The Monaco is one of TAG Heuer's most famous watch families, sporting a cushion/square case which was originally debuted in 1969 - an important year for watch making, and an important year for Heuer. The Monaco watch gained fame when actor and driver Steven McQueen wore one in the 1970 race movie Le Mans. More recently, the Monaco was very prominently featured in the television show Breaking Bad. The watch was worn by the lead character Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) in the last two seasons of the show.

The Monaco is indeed a cultural icon, but is it also a good watch? That is a great question. TAG Heuer has been producing the Monaco for over 40 years, and even though it sports a unique design, there must be something about this timepiece that keeps people coming back. This was my first time wearing a Monaco at length so let's take a look at how it measured up.

TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 ACM Edition Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

This particular version of the TAG Heuer Monaco is a limited edition for 2013. It is called the Monaco Calibre 12 Automatic Chronograph ACM Edition. There are two important elements to the design. It is actually the second time TAG Heuer has created a watch to honor the "Automobile Club de Monaco" (ACM). This is exactly what it sounds like, a car club in the principality of Monaco in Europe. The ACM gets a lot of limited edition watches made in its honor, and each has the clubs unique logo somewhere on the watch.

In this case the ACM logo (and hint of the hallmark orange color) is placed on the back of the watch over the sapphire crystal window where you can see the movement. What I've said is amusing about this watch and that is that it "is a Monaco... for Monaco." The second and perhaps more important feature of this watch is that it is black in color. Aside from the Monaco Twenty Four Concept Chronograph Tag Heuer produced in 2009 during their 40th anniversary of the Monaco, this is the only other modern Monaco to come in a black case. It is further meant as a visual homage to a very rare and famous black-colored Monaco from the 1970s known as the ref. 74033N. Sources disagree on whether the 1970s black Monaco was even a production model, and it is exceedingly rare and mysterious. This ACM Edition Monaco follows suit offering a black case with polished steel chronograph pushers and crown. It isn't a direct re-edition, but it is a thematic reinterpretation of the legendary black Monaco.

TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 ACM Edition Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

12 comments
THMonacoLover
THMonacoLover

You misrepresent yourself as saying you are not someone who really wears square watches, when you absolutely rave about the Bell & Ross BR01-92, and looking at the wear on it, it is an everyday wear for you.

HawaiianHorology
HawaiianHorology

Honestly, I prefer the Tudor Chronograph (Heritage chrono).  It's not a square case but if we are talking nostalgia inducing chronos with square registers...

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

It's a likeable design.  Square watches are quite masculine.  What bugs me about this range is the ring of markers and indices.  On a square face it reminds me of a round peg in a square hole; something about it comes across as awkward.  I understand tha it would make it a little easier to read but I don't think the sacrifice in aesthetics is worth it.

Stuart Russell
Stuart Russell

Calling the ACM a car club in Monaco is a gross understatement - they basically organise the legendary F1 race and license the race and all of its intellectual property to the FIA.

jjnov
jjnov

Another great review. I always wanted one of these. 

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

$8,200 beans? That's a big pile of smackers, too many samolians for a watch like this. 


The best Monaco I've ever seen was a 3-register variant on an amazing multi-link bracelet. I still kick myself for not buying it at an AD I was browsing one day, it had already been discontinued and I was offered a very fair discount on it that I passed on. Even at 39mm (this is one of the biggest 39mm watches you'll wear) the straps on the Monaco are too wimpy. The taper down to like 15mm and don't feel secure. The bracelet was not only very attractive and well made, but also held the watch on with much more confidence. 


I like the black/black though. I'd always pass because of the co-branding, but without it this is a nice piece. 

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

Probably my new favorite Monaco. But I think the date should be white numbers on a black background. And the price is a bit steep for a non-manufacture movement. Most PVD coatings on watch cases are titanium based, so there may be nothing out of the ordinary with TAG's PVD here. But I do like the Monaco in black a lot. Looks less retro and more modern classic in this tasteful rendition.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@THMonacoLover You really think Ariel wears the same watch (any watch, not just a BR) everyday? With the number of watches he owns and reviews that's pretty funny. I've seen him in Switzerland and Hong Kong and even on travel he does not wear the same watch everyday.

Stuart Russell
Stuart Russell

@MarkCarson @THMonacoLover I think there is and certainly should be a clear line of demarcation between watches 'owned' and 'reviewed'. We should really therefore let Ariel respond to this issue himself. You'll probably find that, unless he's Ken Kessler, he doesn't own as many watches as you might think...