I will be writing more about this watch, when the fifth (and final) 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Monaco is released, but in the meanwhile, this posting will provide at least a quick look at the fourth 50th Anniversary LE Monaco. Released today, this fourth Limited Edition Monaco pays tribute to the fourth decade of the Monaco, from 1999 to 2009.
This fourth model in the series offers a very different look from the first three models, each of which emphasized a unique color or texture for the paint on the dial. The first model used a psychedelic green for the 1970s, the second model used a blood red for the 1980s, and the third model used a textured gray for the industrial look of the 1990s.
The fourth model in the series uses a pitch black dial, with a circular white track for the minute / seconds markers. TAG Heuer suggests that this design “captures the bold architecture and daring design codes of the decade from 1999 to 2009”. The registers are finished in white opaline. This Monaco uses red accents on the main time-of-day hands, with orange and red markers on the track that goes around the dial.
Inspirations — Circa 1970
The most dramatic design element of the new Monaco is the circular white track that goes around the dial, framing the two squarish registers. While the Monaco has often been described as employing a “circle in the square” design, this “circle” has always been mode subtle, suggested by the path of the hands and the relatively light markers for the minutes. On the new Monaco, this circle is much more pronounced, a wide, bright white band on the black dial.
Oddly enough, among the vintage Heuer chronographs, it’s the Temporada (from 1971) that provides the closest precedent for this style, using a circular track to frame the registers.
The Montreal, from 1972, is another model that uses a circular track to surround the registers, but the Montreal presents circles surrounding circles. By contrast, the new limited edition Monaco places the circular track between the square registers and the square case.
In terms of the “minor” design themes, the new Monaco combines red and orange accents, easily derived from the vintage Heuer portfolio. We see that red accents that Heuer first used in the compressor-cased Autavias in the late 1960s (Reference 2446C), and that became popular with the use in the Viceory Autavias.
Heuer used orange accents in many of its chronographs, starting with the “Orange Boy”, circa 1971, and continuing to the very last of the Monacos, which collectors call the “Dark Lord”.
It’s interesting that Heuer never used the red accents and the orange accents on the same dial, so this Monaco breaks new ground in that respect.
We will be providing additional thoughts when the series of five 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Monacos is complete, but did want to provide at least this quick look at number four in the series.
Through the creation of four 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Monacos, TAG Heuer has demonstrated that the Monaco, with its large, square dial, can serve as useful “billboard” on which it can display messages and imagery across a variety of themes. TAG Heuer declared that the five 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Monacos would each evoke a decade, in the life of the Monaco.
TAG Heuer announces that this fourth Limited Edition Monaco evokes the decade from 1999 to 2009. To my eyes, this watch evokes the style of the early 1970s, as shown by the “circle in a square” styles of the Temporada and Montreal, which were released in 1971 and 1972. It is an interesting addition to the designs of the first three models, from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and complements those watches well.
Based only on the photographs, I put this one toward the top of the list of the Limited Edition models and I will look forward to seeing this Monaco “in the metal”.