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TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

While TAG Heuer has not shied away from taking its – well-deserved – spot in the new found vintage watch craze, it has, thankfully, not neglected the fact that not everyone gets excited by or wants to obtain items people half a century ago used to like. The latest and boldest TAG Heuer, apparently thought up in deep denial of the vintage watch trend, is the TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition… or whatever it is called, as TAG Heuer doesn’t identify the exact name of the product anywhere in their press release or on their website. Here’s a hands-on look at this, ehm, striking looking watch.

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

All images by David Bredan

Without getting too philosophical, I think you’ll agree that most all aspects of our lives are as divided as they have not been for long – let it be politics, basic values, income, education, culture, or even watch taste. I won’t go down the route of discussing this in more detail, suffice it to say that I know there are people out there who will hate, and I do mean absolutely hate this watch with a passion – because one of the few things we have more of than division is hate, something so many have so much time and reserved energy for. Hating on it won’t make it go away, though, which I think is a good thing – and here’s why.

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

It’s either my sub-par memory again or it’s actually true, but I can’t recall a genuinely modern Monaco since the V4 – and that was far from affordable for most of us. While with its full square design and chronograph functionality the Monaco will always look more contemporary than many other watches, for long it has been absorbed in its vintage heritage – Gulf limited editions and ones mimicking the original’s look have been stealing the show lately. However, the V4 and some of the Caliber 36 models (anyone remember?) were genuinely hot-looking, modern things and – though I may well be in the minority here in WIS circles – I quite like this latest, forged carbon edition because at last it is something that makes for a modern take on this classic.

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

The square, albeit pre-Instagram-generation Monaco case, I think, looks fantastic in forged carbon. Its defined shape and sharp corners make for large, continuous surfaces where the random texture of its material can really be admired. Something to bear in mind, and I have tried to make the live images reflect this as much as possible, is that the material has a glossy, but not overly-shiny look to it in which the darker and brighter areas interchange in a more dull, less defined way when compared to regular carbon fiber. The transitions are smooth as forged carbon has a semi-glossy, semi-matte, murky look. You either like it or you don’t, but what can’t be argued against is the anti-allergenic material’s lightness and ability to disguise wear – it should look as new for long.

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

The 39mm wide case wears much larger than that figure would suggest and in that, this Bamford edition is like any other Monaco. The arrangement of the left-hand crown and right-hand pushers is in line with the traditional Monaco, while their black PVD steel choice of material is not. The forged carbon case acts like the forged carbon we have seen elsewhere – it reminded me of this, mind you, considerably less expensive Tempest Forged Carbon (reviewed here) – although I am sure it isn’t easy to carve the sharp corners and stubby lugs from this ultra-hard material.

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

The arrangement of the horizontal indices is also close to the famed old Monaco; in sharp contrast with them stands the vibrant blue prints everywhere else on the dial and hands. The upside to this is that legibility really is quite good – there is plenty of contrast between the background and the hands and their respective tracks – while the downside is that the rather ostentatious text above the date really jumps out at you. Frankly, I could do without the Bamford text, or at least of it being in bold – the caseback already pays tribute to the man and his Bamford Watch Department operation.

Speaking of which, while TAG Heuer and Zenith have announced their partnership with BWD last year, this Monaco Forged Carbon marks the first official co-branded piece where a collaborative watch is distributed by TAG Heuer boutiques and e-commerce, in select countries. Beyond this distribution, I am not sure what other distinction there is to be aware of – calling this the first may just be a marketing spin on what is an already ongoing partnership. Anyhow, those who buy one of the 500 numbered pieces will consider this factor last in their decision.

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

Around the wrist, as I said, the chunky Monaco case wears more like a 42, perhaps even 43mm case as it takes up considerable real estate, while the thickness of the case – courtesy of the Calibre 11 movement and the box crystal – further adds to the perceived heft; even if this Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon isn’t heavy at all. Speaking of the movement, the Calibre 11 is a base Sellita SW-300 with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module on top. Frequency is a modern 4Hz while power reserve is a low 40 hours.

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

Matched to the forged carbon case was a dark grey alligator leather and rubber strap that had a satin surface to match the matte-ish look of the case. The Heuer deployant clasp matches the vintage Heuer logo on the dial, making this a bit of a mess in terms of modern and vintage styling. While I love this old Heuer logo, I feel as though the vintage logo was added just for the hell of it, without consideration for the decidedly modern overall look of the watch – and yes, TAG Heuer does still make many Monaco models with the full TAG Heuer logo on their dials. No matter how hard you try, the vintage craze still gets you, apparently.

TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition Hands-On Hands-On

All things considered, this new Monaco Chronograph in forged carbon is a most welcome addition to the Monaco family that was, in all fairness, getting a bit self-absorbed with all the vintage stuff. The Monaco is a brilliant piece of design and nothing testifies to that fact more than how you can take it and dress it up in the materials and boldness of a very different age with such ease and success. Kudos to both TAG Heuer and Bamford for not being scared away from doing this even if everyone knows that many “purists” will dedicate a scary amount of time to hating it.

Price for the TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition will be $8,100. tagheuer.com

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  • Tom Erne

    Kindda looks like an Apple watch on steroids.
    1-2mm smaller and with a matching strap (WTF’s up with that gator thing) and it could have been cool. Like this…not really.

  • Alexander Hilsbos

    My, this is ugly.

  • Even before I scrolled down far enough to the “Bamford” in the post title or on the watch, my first thought was “My god, what an ugly Monaco”. Now it all makes sense (the ugliness that is). I get that carbon fiber still costs more than SS but $8100 USD is stlil too much for a Sellita SW-300 with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module. And even if it wasn’t, this is just too nasty looking (especially the numbers on the registers) for me to wear – even for free. Too bad really as I do like Monacos – just not this one.

    • I think you are being very kind Mark.

    • egznyc

      My thoughts exactly! Maybe if I were able to handle it I’d see something more here than meets the eye, but it looks more like the toy surprise inside a Cracker Jack box than an ADULT toy (okay, don’t go there …).

  • babola

    Oi! Tag Heuer! Nooo!

    • Drazen B

      Harry Enfield! … LOL!

    • Raymond Wilkie

      I could buy it if i want coz I’m conciderablyricher than yew.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    What a complete mess.
    The ugliest watch made even uglier.

  • I can’t help but think that, because of the case material and quasi-electronic hue of the dial printing, this looks like a smartwatch wearing a Monoco skin as its homescreen. In fact, if this WAS a smartwatch, it would be brilliant.

    But, alas, its not. It’s a hunk of plastic and a $400 movement signed by a rich man’s tasteless son and stamped with a ludicrous price. I got to hand it to Biver – he did exactly what he set out to do, namely position TAG as THE go-to brand for urban, hip, 30-somethings who still ride a skateboard to work and consider Banksy to be art. Hat is off to you, sir.

    • BNABOD

      Skateboard + 30 something = no good? Man I see this in SF every time I am there and my first reaction is grow up people …

      • There’s a guy in his 40’s who takes my train every morning whilst carrying a scooter and a helmet. Every time I see him, I want to give him some lunch money and a sticker.

        • Luke Duke

          This d-bag takes the morning train
          You can’t help but see him again, again
          He is some sort of visual pain
          O why o why there he goes again

      • Omegaboy

        Bamford’s on a train to nowhere, halfway out of cash
        He don’t want to get there, but he needs cash (and lots of it)
        He needs cash
        He needs cash for livin’
        He makes trash
        For someone just to see him

    • Valtsu

      Carbon isn’t plastic and isn’t the cheapest material out there. It is more expensive material than steel.

  • SuperStrapper

    I want neither a carbin caed watch nor one that says bamford on the dial. Ill leave it at that.

  • hatster

    Not a fan, but I don’t hate it. The finish just reminds me of some of the toys I had as a kid, so would be a struggle justifying the cost.

  • Luke Duke

    Mr Bamford
    What you’ve done to the dial?
    O Mr Bamford
    Did you talk with the head?
    Your lifestyle to me seems so tragic
    Ah, no thrill in them dials
    Some say that you practice black magic
    You’re waitin on Biver’s call!

  • mark

    I’m not keen on it, I’m a massive fan of the original watch as worn by Steve McQueen in the movie so its probably wasted on me.

  • David Rolls

    Not a fan. I can’t ascertain why it exists…

    If I wanted a TAG Heuer Monaco I’d buy ref CAW2111.FC6183 not this crap limited edition. Sure, Steve McQueen had a Heuer Monaco, but Paul Newman had a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. I know which one I’d prefer…

  • BNABOD

    “because one of the few things we have more of than division is hate, something so many have so much time and reserved energy for.” Yes that must be it, hate, no it is not hate it is criticism and this thing is just ugly to me and no the world is not filled w love.
    The horizontal markers on the dial look out of place, the numerals in sub dials are tacky, the case ( yeah carbon) looks like plastic 04 marble rye (pick one) and the movement is beyond cheap. So yeah excuse us all for calling this 8100 piece of junk crap because it is a big ? . It’s one redeeming quality is that it would be lighter.
    Over and out

  • SharpsvilleBill

    MY EYES! I’m blind…

  • Chaz

    How much you wanna bet the blue on the crown rubs off within the first year?

    • Tea Hound

      That depends which side of the bet I’d be on.

  • M’ Lord

    Young Bamford is doing good work these days. This watch shows he deserves his successes and has earned his place in in the watch world.

  • Playboy Johnny

    Absolute total laughable garbage! I have always considered TAG to be a low rent watch, only purchased by poor people or the watch newbie that had no idea what a real watch was… you know, like Brewmont customers.
    Adding the Bamturd name to this abortion, just makes it even more of a horrible joke. This “watch” looks like some cheap plastic childs toy, purchased at a petrol station. At least Bamturd is not destroying Rolex’s any longer.

    Yes, I want to purchase a plastic watch with no resale value, over a new Submariner. That seems like a sound financial decision.

    I had my coffee and a good laugh this morning, along with a philosophy lesson.

    • cluedog12

      One could say the rich people applying for real watches like the Patek Philippe 5131Js are muppets in their own way. Or one can correctly conclude that life is one serious joke.

      • Playboy Johnny

        Life is just a fantasy, can you live this fantasy life? I know….I know

        • Blake Carrington

          Life is life

          • Playboy Johnny

            So forget all that you see. It’s not reality, it’s just a fantasy.

          • Blake Carrington

            What’s nova, Aldo?

          • egznyc

            Sometimes a fantasy
            Is all you need

          • Bobby Ewing

            All I need
            Is just a little more time
            To be sure
            What I feel
            Isn’t all in my mind
            Coz it seems so hard to believe
            That you’re all I need

      • Darthibald Vaderfield

        That is why I collect Nubeos. It is financially irresponsible yet still sufficiently joyless–the latter of which I require all my endeavours to be.

  • Nello Alexandri

    Well, it looks different. I wish they had done a little more with the dial. Heuer in white? Something. Anything. It just looks blah.
    I dont hate it, but I dont like it. I don’t like anything Bamford has done though.

  • Yuck……. Not much more to say.

  • 5 more

    Reminds me of a splatter target.

  • Steve Bowden

    Another Awesome Review! Another Awesome Shirt!!! Where did you get this shirt, Mr Bredan? It looks great with the watch!

  • Mikita

    Lovely Bamturded plastic Sellita-based TAG for $8k+! Strong challenge for Brewmont and Hublow.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Well, this went down like a ton of bricks.

  • Luke Deerstalker

    I too am above all the hate. I’ve turned on my heartlight. I let it shine wherever I go. I let it make a happy glow for all the world to see. That being said, holy crap!

    • Tea Hound

      Whereas I am wallowing in the hate like a fat hippo in warm mud. Hate! Hate! Hate! Mmmmm. That’s better.

  • Roger Goodgion

    I don’t hate. There i said it. But nothing shits in my eyes more than Bamford. Their fit and finish over the years has been embarrassing. Now that they are partnered with a company that i guess can teach bamford how to properly use a pad printer, the fit and finish in the press pictures looks much better. So more of a fart in my eyes.

    • I agree and yet oddly, the dial printing on this example seems to be so much better than the last Bamford reviewed here on ABTW (which was embarrassingly shitty).

      • Roger Goodgion

        I was unclear. Yes, i think the photos here of the TAG look much better. I think Tag brought their level of manufacture to Bamford and hit them over the head with it. Bamford made a career out of taking a nicely finished Rolex and doing a crappy PVD over it. What is sad is, the technology to do what Bamford does correctly has existed for awhile, case in point the pictures in this article.

        • Yeah, well if working with LVMH brings the quality up, then we will only have artistic reasons to not like Bamford watches in the future, ha ha. Cheers.

  • DanW94

    Bamford modified powder blue and marbled Monaco + 70’s styled, hipster thrift store shirt cuff = fashion hell.

    • Luke Deerstalker

      C’mon now, I think Dawid looks good. Turn on your heartlight, Peter Coyote.

    • Playboy Johnny

      Hah!!

    • David Bredan

      You’ve got to give it to me, this was a good match. Also, you won’t find yourself in hell if you don’t click on the massive featured image that clearly indicates it will lead you there.

      • ASnog4’Squatch

        Thanks for deleting my comment. I’ll pretend it wasn’t because of my name…

      • ASnog4’Squatch

        Made profile public so you have an easier time finding/deleting me if necessary.

        • PickleRick

          Mr. Bredan deleted some of my posts, and called me a dick. Now depressed.

      • DanW94

        All in good fun David, all in good fun. Nothing meant beyond some good natured ribbing….

  • cluedog12

    I’m tired of hate. Lots of people are up in arms about Bamford because their modified watches robbed of the marketing luster afforded to the genuine article. The quality problems reinforced this emotional sentiment.

    This is a step forward. Now the Bamford modified watches are going through genuine channels, so they are the bona fide article. Quality appears to be up too, these are now like those designer sneakers that I don’t quite understand. But I know what I don’t know and I might one day follow the flock and come around to this LVMH-Bamford partnership.

    • Marius

      People hate Bamford because they produce shoddy rubbish. No other reason. Tag Heuer is who ought to worry about losing marketing lustre…

  • Tea Hound

    I wonder when someone astute at Tag will notice the correlation between the introduction of Bamford and the catastrophic drop in sales.

  • Jason

    Now this price is out loud Laughable!!

    • DanW94

      If you want to keep the gigglefest going, check out the price on the Carl Suchy & Sohne watch recently reviewed here.

  • Yan Fin

    Looks like a watch face on black plastic Pebble smartwatch for $100in their glory day. Pebble looks better, and smarter too.

  • G Williams

    I have to admit the watch does nothing for me. This was to be expected from the thumbnail so I almost skipped the article but I am glad I did not. I would like to complement David on a good review and further remark that the quality of reviews on ABTW has been going up lately. Thank you ABTW team for raising your game. A little love amidst the hate.

    • PickleRick

      Wipe your chin.

      • ASnog4’Squatch

        That’s very unChristian of you, VeggieTales.

        • PickleRick

          Just tryin to keep it real. Call them like I see them.

  • I’ve never seen a forged carbon watch that doesn’t look like crap, and that blue adds a layer of particular hideousness.

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    I wanted to pass, but I can’t. This is horrible, can’t describe here all that is wrong with this watch.
    I need a drink!

  • Dan Finch

    Hideous! No thank you…

  • BobHoover Tiangco

    Well that is one way to F up a classic.

  • Easy Quindo

    I love how David picks an off-nominal watch like this, predicts the hate, then proceeds to thoughtfully consider the watch anyway. Everyone then joyfully piles on with predictable vitriol. Honestly, I thought it looked weird at first, but I think it is actually kind of interesting on second glance. I love the box crystal, the look of the back, the randomness of the carbon, and the overall kitsch. Probably not my first pick though… if I had it I’d need to buy a new leather jacket.

  • Kuroji

    David, you assert this material is “ultra-hard.” I would really like to see some quantification of this. AFAIK it is less hard even than 18k gold. Hardness has a specific meaning in metallurgy, and since this material is not a metal, they seem to feel free to come up with their own definitions. For the purposes of watch case material, one is presumably most interested in the ability to retain its surface finish when exposed to abrasive contact with the environment. I would really like to see some real world comparison of the various contemporary materials to normal watch case alloys, both PM and SS.

  • midnucas

    It looks really cool, but I worry that the color combination may not actually be good for legibility.

  • Lindsay

    Are those unbroken edges on the case?

  • Ulysses31

    The dial looks unappealingly flat, and the case is… yeah. This is a watch that looks better in metal.

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