In case you missed it, 2019 is a big year for watch anniversaries, the most important of which is the 50th anniversary of Heuer Monaco. The original square chronograph developed with architects and other types of creativity became known with the “70s motorsport to this day, perhaps the most famous look ever seen in the film thanks to Steve McQueen and the 1971 classic racing Le Mans.
Fake Monaco has been a mainstay of the Heuer over the last 50 years – and later the TAG Heuer – lineup. In its anniversary year, TAG Heuer has paid tribute to the different chapters of Monaco through models devoted to different decades of Heuer production. The replica watches we have today celebrates the last race of the 12-gauge Monaco watch. It is worth noting that when we refer to the caliber 12 in the context of modern watches, we are not referring to the movement released shortly after the Caliber 11 in the early 1970s. On the contrary, the Caliber 12 beating under this watch’s smokey, ruthenium finished dial is Sellita-based with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module.
At first, I found it interesting that the TAG Heuer replica would commemorate the Caliber 12 with a 1,000-piece limited edition on the same day that it stands for the first 39mm Monaco chronograph with an in-house movement. It states the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. (Head here for Jack’s analysis of the new Heuer Monaco 02, which was also released today. It’s the end of an era for Monaco, which will now, like the Carrera and the Autavia before it, use TAG’s own in-house, column-wheel chronograph caliber.)
While the Heuer Monaco 02 is arguably the more newsworthy introduction TAG Heuer is making today, the Caliber 12-equipped Monaco was a mainstay of the TAG Heuer lineup. One could spot a modern-day Caliber 12 Monaco versus a Caliber 11 version thanks to the fact that its crown is on the conventional right side of the case in between the chronograph pushers. The modern aperture 11, like the historical movement its name refers to, has the crown on the left, a slightly eccentric style that has become iconic.
With the launch of the Heuer Monaco 02, Heuer now has the manufacturing movement equipped in Monaco and the crown position in the right hand. With the Heuer 02 already in the Monaco lineup, it seems the time has come to retire the 1,000-piece 12-gauge car. The replica TAG Heuer‘s signature Monaco is still left, and it’s hard to imagine the Calibre 11 being retired from Monaco.