Seems like Tag Heuer gradually commences sales of their new Monaco Vintage Chronograph (Ref. CAW211B.FC6241). Available in a compact stainless-steel body around 39 millimeters in width and height, the new timekeeper brings you the design of the legendary Heuer 1133G chronograph but sports a more modern self-winding caliber.
According to the corporate press release, the Monaco Vintage Chronograph will feature the well-known Calibre 11 automatic movement. Essentially an ETA 2892-A2-base caliber, it sports an add-on chronograph module manufactured by the Swiss brand’s time-proven partner Dubois Depraz.
Adding 24 more synthetic rubies to the original 25 stones, the module not only makes the mechanism more complex, but also a tad different to repair, which may be a problem (well, probably not a real problem, but at least a hassle) if your local service specialist doesn’t know how to repair the movement if something goes wrong. On the other hand, a totally in-house mechanism would probably be even more difficult to put in good working order I suppose.
While this is not a “manufacture” movement, the Caliber 11 features a nicely decorated and partly skeletonized winding rotor with a red “HEUER” logo. The bridges sport the usual circular-graining finish and polished screw-heads. There is nothing much to brag about this movement, but you still can show it to your friends via a transparent display case back covered with a sapphire crystal.
While I originally expected the Monaco Vintage Chronograph to come to stores in a charcoal-gray PVD-treated case, the production model comes in a standard fine-brushed and polished stainless steel body. It is not clear, whether it was a last-minute attempt at cost-cutting or there were concerns about the coating’s durability.
Like the iconic Heuer Monaco 1133G, the Monaco Vintage has its winding crown located at 9 o’clock.
However, the chronograph push-pieces are identical to those used in current TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12 models, as are the hands at chronograph totalizers.
I guess that they did it not to annoy die-hard fans of the Monaco series but as one more way of cutting costs.
However, the rest looks more or less identical to the original model.
The Monaco Vintage offers hand-applied, faceted, and fine-brushed horizontal hour indexes, diamonded minute and hour hands with a touch of red and luminescent markers, red second hand, and an angled date aperture at 6 o’clock.
TAG Heuer plans to limit the model’s production to only 1860 watches that will go on sale at a recommended street price of $5200. If the price will indeed be that low, we will probably get an instant hit. After all, with all those myriads of grossly overpriced “limited editions” from Panerai and Breitling that never cease to flood the market, the five Grands (and some change) that the legendary manufacturer plans to ask for the vintage-styled timekeeper don’t look like too much.
Build Quality: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Photos: TAG Heuer
Tag Heuer Monaco Vintage Chronograph (Ref. CAW211B.FC6241) specification
Price: $5200 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber 11 (based on ETA 2892, modified in-house,) diameter 30 mm, rapid date correction, Swiss Made
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Caliber finish: Open-worked oscillating weight with “Heuer” logo, vertical Geneva stripes, perlage (circular-graining)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 39.00 mm
Dial: Brushed, dark chocolate-grey with black counters
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black punched calfskin strap with folding buckle and safety pushbuttons
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective