TAG Heuer Monaco Goes Black & Gold For Monaco GP

In what’s becoming a trend for TAG Heuer, we’re getting a new Monaco for the Monaco Grand Prix happening this weekend along the Mediterranean coast in the south of France. Last year we saw a lovely titanium case and silver dial with old school ‘Heuer’ branding brought to the watch (along with a Verstappen victory), and this year we’re getting a black DLC titanium case with black and gold dial in an overall more modern package. The ‘TAG’ makes its way back to the dial, and the crown moves to the right side of the case, bringing the early aughts look firmly back to the table. But, it’s for good reason, it’s modeled after the so-called ‘Dark Lord’ Ref. 740303N. 

The Black Monaco Special Edition LE is indeed a nod to one of the most famous Monaco references ever produced, the 740303N, which was made for a brief window in 1974. The 74033 and (three-register) 73633 references utilized manually wound Valjoux movements, and had their crowns placed between the pushers along the right side of the case. Additionally, the 740303N in particular had radially arranged hour bars rather than the horizontal bars often seen on the Monaco. Of course, what set the ‘Dark Lord’ apart, and earned it its nickname, was its black PVD case and red hands.

original Dark Lord, credit: Phillips

While this latest special edition Monaco does get a three register dial thanks to the Heuer 02 automatic movement inside, it gets a fully blacked out dial and case (39mm) and red timing hands to reference the 740303N, though that’s about where the similarities end. The modern TAG Heuer logo appears at 12 o’clock, and the use of gold accents take the watch in a very different direction than the old-school classics. The circular area of the dial is set within a heavily textured surface that remains at the perimeter. 

Full black racing or sport watches are having something of a moment right now, with watches like the Porsche Design Chronograph 1 and the carbon Bamford B347 offering impressive takes on the genre. The execution of this Monaco feels neither here nor there in regards to its inspiration, leaving it in more fashionable than sporty territory that may or may not suit the Monaco as a whole depending on your taste. 

The Black Monaco Chronograph Special Edition is available now at the price of $8,200 and will be limited in production. You can even pay for it in crypto, which the brand now accepts. Keep an eye out for it on the wrists of the Red Bull drivers, who will be looking to extend their driver (VER) and manufacturer lead at the Monaco GP this weekend. Ferrari Driver Charles Leclerc, on the other hand, will hope to break his recent Monaco curse and find a win in his hometown. TAG Heuer.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.