March 18, 2016
by James Stacey
To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Monza, TAG Heuer has launched a re-issue that is somewhat similar the original model. Born to celebrate Ferrari’s Formula 1 win in 1975, this distinctive PVD black racing chronograph debuted in 1976 and, while the Monza has come and gone over the past four decades, it is this original design that is most closely associated with with Monza name. For 2016, TAG Heuer honors that design with a striking new model that echoes the aesthetic of the original Monza.
While at first glance it may appear that the new TAG Heuer Monza is quite similar to the original, there are many considerable differences that separate the two. Regardless of old vs new, TAG’s thinking is on point, and the 40th anniversary TAG Heuer Monza is an absolute stunner. With a new 42mm case and bezel shape that is rendered in titanium, the bezel flanks are polished while the case and bezel top is brushed. Much like the original, the pusher and crown are left in bare steel. Unlike the original, thanks to the Calibre 17 movement inside, the crown and pushers are now on the same side of the case.
The dial is also largely different from the original, which featured the same functions (date, 30 minute register, sub seconds) but is easily differentiated by its symmetrical subdial design. For the new TAG Heuer Monza, the dial is symmetrical and the sub dials are reversed from the original, with the red-accented 30-minute scale at 9 rather than 3 o’clock. The handset and date display remain very similar, and the internal pulsometer scale shares the same design as the original, as does the branding. The new TAG Heuer Monza model is handsome and legible but, while similar in charm to the original, it has lost a certain quirkiness that I appreciate.
The result of the new TAG Heuer Monza design is a look that is easily recognizable as a Monza while still offering a nicely updated look and feel. On wrist, the TAG Heuer Monza feels fantastic, not unlike the feel of the Oris 65, where you could, momentarily, believe you’re wearing a vintage watch. While the details betray the nicely aged design notes borrowed from the original, the effect is still one that elicits a gut reaction – I immediately liked the new TAG Heuer Monza.
Functionality is provided by TAG Heuer’s Calibre 17 automatic chronograph, which is basically an ETA-2894-A2. This modular movement runs at 4Hz, uses 37 jewels, offers a power reserve of 38 hours, and features a cam-actuated chronograph. For the new TAG Heuer Monza, the domed sapphire crystal boasts dual-sided anti-scratch and anti-reflective coatings, and water resistance is 100m.
Thankfully, while the new TAG Heuer Monza is a numbered edition, it’s not limited in any way, and will hit the market with a retail price of $5,250 USD. I appreciate that the new TAG Heuer Monza is not a direct photocopy of the original, and that it arguably improves the design in more ways than one. While I’m on record sharing my skepticism at the need for more and more “vintage-inspired” designs, I’ll happily eat crow in trade for more watches like the new TAG Heuer Monza. tagheuer.com