Seems like the Swiss watchmaker gradually commences sales of their new Tag Heuer Monaco Vintage Chronograph (Ref. CAW211B.FC6241) watch. Coming 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 is animated with a more modern self-winding caliber.
According to the corporate press release, the watch will be powered by the well-known TAG Heuer Calibre 11 automatic movement, which is essentially ETA 2892-A2 base caliber with 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 red “HEUER” logo. Its bridges are decorated with perlage. The mechanism is clearly seen via a transparent display caseback covered with a sapphire crystal.
While originally the watch was expected to be delivered 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 watch, 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.
My guess is that it is done not in order to irritate die-hard fans of the Monaco series, but as a 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) automatic chronograph watch 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
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Square
Bezel shape: Square
Case size: 39.00 mm
Case height: No data
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
Case back: Sapphire