The new TAG Heuer Monza Calibre 36 Re-Edition automatic chronograph will be issued in a limited series of only 1911 numbered pieces and will officially go on sale in June 2011.
Although the official number of timepieces to be manufactured looks a bit like a gimmick (usually, in the price range of some $7500 – $8500 USD, true limited-editions are counted by dozens, maybe hundreds,) the reason the CR5112.FC6290 is limited to 1911 pieces is rather simple.
It was in the year 1911 that Heuer has released its iconic Time of Trip 12-hour dashboard chronograph that was designed specifically for cars and airplanes.
Making it easier to measure time in the air (or behind the steering wheel,) the device was hugely popular among aviators and motorists (Porsche still offers similar devices as optional equipment for its sports cars and even the Cayenne family of performance SUVs). The chronograph’s popularity, of course, had something to do with its extremely legible dial and ease of use: it featured a classic ‘monopusher’ design and was easy to operate with just one hand without turning the driver’s attention from the road ahead (roads were not particularly good a hundred of years ago, you know).
The new TAG Heuer Monza Calibre 36 Re-Edition, however, has a completely different model as its sorts of inspiration.
If you compare the photos above and below, you will notice that there are not so many differences between the new Monza Calibre 36 and the original Heuer Monza chronograph that was introduced in 1933 (interestingly enough, the cal. 36 is actually based on Zenith El Primero 400 self-winding caliber.) I am not sure about differences in size (the “re-edition” comes in a deliberately compact by today’s standards stainless steel body that is just 38 millimeters wide), but the rest is almost identical save for some minor details that were not practical to reproduce.
Of course, the new model is not a monopusher (powered by their Caliber 36 automatic movement, it is equipped with a standard pair of chronograph push-pieces located at 2 and 4 o’clock) and the new setting crown is also a lot smaller than the original onion-shaped job.
This is a pity since the 1933 model was almost ideal in terms of usability. On the other hand, as I am never tired of repeating, chronographs these days don’t serve any practical purpose, so the choice of control elements is not that critical after all. Also, it is not a re-issue, it is a re-edition. Feel the difference.
The typeface for the Arabic numerals is also slightly different as is the color of the luminescent substance the covers the numerals and fills the hour and minute hands. And there is also a new “MONZA” lettering at 12 o’clock that, to my taste, looks somewhat superfluous.
But all in all, I must admit that this is one of the most appealing vintage watches that were offered last month at Baselworld 2011. It stays on par with the gorgeous 2011 Monaco Vintage Chronograph (Ref. CAW211B.FC6241).
I wonder if this trend will continue next year. I like this flow of “re-editions” hitting the market.
Photos: TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer Monza Calibre 36 Re-Edition (Ref. CR5112.FC6290) specification
Movement: Automatic, Calibre 36 (base caliber Zenith El Primero 400,) rapid date correction, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Cotes de Geneve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, date
Power reserve: 50 hours
Case: Stainless steel, polished and fine-brushed
Size: 38.00 mm
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Brown leather strap with Heuer logo on the inner side; Folding buckle with safety push buttons and Heuer logo
Crystal: Sapphire, curved, antireflective
Back: Sapphire, screwed, numbered