Image: TAG Heuer
We occasionally come across a watch that we are eager to write about. It doesn’t happen very often, but it did for our cover story. The TAG Heuer Monaco is an icon, and it embodies much of what we love about watches. We could even write the story without having to buy a new watch, which we thankfully did not have to do. To understand this, consider the Monaco Special Edition’s reality here. The case is not new, nor is the automatic Heuer 02 movement. By any standard, it is an evolution rather than a revolution.
In contrast, when the Monaco first appeared, it was truly revolutionary. However, you can learn more about that in the cover. By any standard, it is an evolution rather than a revolution. In contrast, when the Monaco first appeared, it was truly revolutionary. However, you can learn more about that in the cover story. Here, we praise this particular model and the details that make it such a lovely piece. To begin, we must emphasize that while this watch is based on the famous Dark Lord model from 1975, it is not a reissue or even a true tribute. Instead, it’s a play on the style. It has the same size and shape as the other Monaco offerings, being a square 39mm watch.
The watch’s sandblasted DLC titanium grade two material and highly unusual two-tone black-on-black dial set it apart (circular brushed within the minute track, and highly grained around the hour markers). These markers are rose gold plated and match the hour, minute, and small second hands (with white SuperLuminova on the hour and minute hands). The effect is striking in photographs, which we hope to persuade you of using our own photographs as well as stock press images.
Image: TAG Heuer
The effect is even more impressive in metal, with the grained elements standing out. You might look at it and think of a racetrack or racing tyres — the press release mentions these specific examples, but we came up with them on our own after our shoot with the watches. Perhaps we’re on the same wavelength as TAG Heuer’s communications team, or there’s something organic about this description. This abundance of visual cues may appear overwhelming, and we haven’t even mentioned the chronograph hands or subdials. The Monaco Special Edition is no exception to the Monaco’s track record of making such aesthetic touches work. In addition, the crown and chronograph pushers are made of grade 2 DLC titanium.
The TAG Heuer Monaco ‘Dark Lord’
The black alligator strap also has a folding clasp made of the same material and DLC. In addition to increasing surface hardness, DLC has the added benefit of making surfaces resistant to visible fingerprint stains. We tested it several times and it appears to work as advertised, though it is not 100% effective; TAG Heuer does not make this claim in their press materials. A noteworthy claim is that this is only the second Monaco to be cased in titanium, following the Titan Limited Edition last year. As a result, this is the first time the Monaco has been encased in DLC treated titanium. This Limited Edition, dubbed the Dark Sun, is only available at TAG Heuer boutiques and online.