First presented back in 2009 as Monaco Twenty Four Concept, this beautiful artifact has resurfaced as Tag Heuer Monaco Twenty Four Steve McQueen Calibre 36 Chronograph (ref. CAL51111.FC6299). The time-measuring device looks almost identical to the conceptual model, but comes in a different color scheme and has the PVD-coated body swapped for a more practical (if that adjective at all can be applied to any luxury timekeeper) stainless steel case that features a nice combination of polished and finely brushed surfaces.
As the name implies, the new Monaco Twenty Four is equipped with their in-house Calibre 36 automatic movement. Beating at a rather unusual (only Zenith uses such fast movements on a large scale with their El Primero family of movements) frequency of 36,000 semi-oscillations per hour, the caliber is quite precise allowing to measure time intervals with precision of 1/10th of a second.
This sort of precision is probably absolutely superfluous, but it is still nice for such an expensive (it retails way above the psychologically important €10,000 mark) to be powered by one of the finest mechanisms currently in use by Swiss majors.
Despite its remarkably high speed, the caliber lasts as long as 50 hours, which makes it more comfortable if you have more than one mechanical watch, but don’t plan to use it with an automatic winder.
As usual for their racing-inspired Monaco series, the Calibre 36 Chronograph features a nice combination of classic materials, vintage color schemes and high-tech design elements, those including a double-layered, see-through dial and a pretty unusual shock absorption system that protects not only the escapement wheel, but also the movement as a whole.
As the concept model, the new Tag Heuer Monaco Twenty Four features an upside-down small seconds indicator with “00” starting at 6 hours, not at 12 as on almost all other watches. Although the design may be fairly confusing at the beginning, I am positively sure that it will take almost no time for the timekeeper’s owner to adapt to the new layout.
As for the colors, I can’t say that I am sure about their design references, but it looks close to that of 1963 Cooper Type 61 Monaco King Cobra: a British-made sport car powered by an American 4.8-liter V8 engine. Although the car wasn’t successful on a track, I hope that the Monaco Twenty Four Calibre 36 Chronograph will be more popular among true enthusiasts.
At 40.5 millimeters wide, the watch is not terribly large. However, the way the blocky case with its relatively long horns is machined out of a single block of steel makes it look massive on a normal wrist. Surprisingly, its bulkiness is actually quite imposing: there is a certain aura of masculine presence about this gorgeous timekeeper, which is only enhanced by its massive chronograph push-pieces and large setting crown.
I could even argue that, unlike many other similarly styled timepieces, this one would even look great not only with some casual clothing but also would be home with an expensive formal suit. All you will possibly need is to make sure that colors complement each other in an organic way.
Photos: Tag Heuer
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Tag Heuer Monaco Twenty Four Steve McQueen Calibre 36 Chronograph (ref. CAL51111.FC6299) specification
Movement: Automatic, Calibre 36, in-house, COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 31
Movement frequency: 36,000 vph
Power reserve: 50 hours
Movement decoration: Vertical Geneva stripes, ring-shaped oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 40.50 mm
Dial: Blue and satin-finished steel
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Blue alligator leather strap with light blue stitching on steel folding buckle with safety pushers
Crystal: Sapphire, beveled