As one of the most enduring and instantly recognizable timepieces in the world, it’s only natural that TAG Heuer has used the Monaco as a canvas for a multitude of colorways, styles, materials, and complications over the years. In recent times, though, few of these variants have been as impactful as 2021’s limited edition Monaco Titan. Although the brand has introduced multiple titanium-cased Monaco iterations since that initial (chronograph) effort, none of these have returned to the classic left-hand-crown Calibre 11 layout – until now. Decked in a summery new colorway that pays tribute to the traditional French racing blue used by Gallic automakers such as Bugatti, Delage, Alpine, and Delahaye from the dawn of motorsport until the rise of sponsor liveries in the late ‘60s, this new iteration refines the Titan’s core concept into something lighter and more energetic. The new limited edition TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue expertly balances sporting aggression and colorful charm into one of the most charismatic Monaco renditions in recent memory.
At 39mm wide and a sizable 14.4mm thick, the TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue’s sandblasted Grade 2 titanium case is functionally identical to the Monaco Titan. This familiar shape has endured for decades for a reason, and the mix of gently arcing case sides with razor-sharp linear edges is as visually effective now as it was when the Monaco first appeared in 1969. However, the darker hue of titanium and the fully matte finishing gives the Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue a modernist, architectural feel that many of its stainless steel counterparts lack. While this comes at the expense of some of the flash that polished steel brings, this case certainly does not want for presence on the wrist. The Monaco case has always had a tall, broad wearing stance, and the Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue does little to change that beyond the lighter overall weight of titanium. Like all modern Monaco models, this watch is fitted with a sapphire display caseback, and TAG Heuer rates the watch for a solid 100 meters of water resistance.
The TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue’s dial uses its vibrant color palette judiciously, keeping the brightest hues as accents and prioritizing a sense of visual balance. The deep, richly grained silver sunburst main dial surface is a genuine standout on the wrist, adding a treasure trove of highlights and visual texture to this familiar layout. TAG Heuer augments this neutrally colored base layer with deep satin azure blue for the line’s signature rounded-square subdials at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. While this sets up an intriguing inverse of the Monaco’s famous white-on-blue original colorway, the Monaco Chronograph takes things a step further with a brighter sky blue for the dial’s small, round lume plots. Vibrant electric yellow accents on the 12 o’clock index and the central chronograph seconds hand inject vigor into this cool, low-contrast layout, bringing both a race-ready sportiness and a playful undertone to the classic Monaco formula. Speaking of “classic Monaco,” the rest of the dial is more or less purpose-built to evoke the fan-favorite Calibre 11 Monaco references of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Elements like the printed Heuer shield emblem, the unique horizontal applied indices, and the framed 6 o’clock date window are all vintage Monaco staples, and they mesh well with the more modern color palette and titanium case to create something that feels at once classic and contemporary.
Like all modern left-hand-crown Monaco models, the TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue is powered by the Sellita SW300-1 based Calibre 11 automatic chronograph movement. Although the contemporary Calibre 11 has been a stalwart offering in TAG Heuer’s catalogue for roughly two decades, there’s no denying this movement is beginning to show its age somewhat. Its Dubois-Depraz chronograph module may echo the layout of the original modular Calibre 11 movement from 1969, but at a price point where its competitors are increasingly turning to fully integrated, in-house chronograph movements, some enthusiasts may see this less as a deliberate tribute and more as a missed opportunity. Likewise, the movement’s 40-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate lags behind some key competition in this market segment. Performance aside, however, this remains an undeniably handsome movement. The Calibre 11’s finishing is crisp and extensive, including small-scale perlage across the bridges and balance cock, as well as sharp Côtes de Genève topping the rotor.
TAG Heuer continues the Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue’s balanced, vintage-meets-modern approach through its strap pairing. The watch is fitted with a classic calfskin rally strap in cobalt blue, tying in handsomely to the subdials and hearkening back to the classic perforated rally straps of the ‘60s and ‘70s. However, the Heuer shield deployant clasp in titanium adds a contemporary twist to the arrangement, while keeping the entire package comfortable and stylistically cohesive.
Although the Monaco collection has hosted an incredible variety of options over the years, the limited edition TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue marks only the second time the classic Calibre 11 layout has been rendered in titanium. This new iteration builds on the success of the initial Monaco Titan with a brighter, more outgoing personality, but maintains the fan-favorite styling and modernist undertones to create a genuinely charming twist on the familiar formula. Only 1,000 examples of the TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue will be made, and the watch is available now through TAG Heuer boutiques, the brand’s e-commerce platform, and select authorized dealers. MSRP for this watch stands at $9,200 USD as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.