TAG Heuer Releases a Trio of New Monacos with Skeleton Dials Ahead of a Big Race Weekend

The Monaco Grand Prix is this weekend (be sure to check out Time on Track next week for a full recap) and to celebrate what many consider the marquee race on the F1 circuit, TAG Heuer is releasing a trio of new Monacos with skeleton dials. What? You thought they’d release new Monzas? While a run of new Monacos released to coincide with the race that the watch is named after is perhaps predictable on the part of TAG Heuer, fans of the funky square cased chronograph still have reason to be excited. These Monacos make a very different impression than the more traditional, vintage inspired references that are TAG’s bread and butter, and might even pull new enthusiasts into the world of a watch that has long had an intense cult following. 


Somewhat surprisingly, these new Monacos represent the first time this watch has been released with a skeleton dial. According to TAG, the goal here was for a avant garde interpretation of the Monaco, which is fitting as the original watch, when it was released in 1969, was also a representation of the avant garde of its day. A square cased chronograph was well outside the norm, particularly in the racing world, and that first Monaco would have felt like an unusual choice to potential owners in the late 60s and early 70s. Obviously, it caught on, and has developed a following made up of racing enthusiasts, chronograph collectors, and fans of unique and iconic designs. Most notably, of course, the watch was worn by Steve McQueen in the racing film Le Mans, and is forever linked to one of the great movie stars of his generation for that reason alone.

The three variants of the new Monaco Skeleton each take a focus color inspired by the Monaco’s own history and the history of racing and run with it. The first, “Original Blue,” is inspired by the blue dial of the very first Monaco, and features a blue minute track at the dial’s perimeter as well as blue subdials at 9:00 and 3:00. We also get red accents on the chronograph hands as well as the running seconds that assist with contrast and also pay tribute to Monaco’s of the past with similar colorways. 

Next up is the “Racing Red,” which has the same red accented chronograph hands, but also adds bits of red to a black outer minute track. This variant is a bit more muted, and in spite of the name really focuses more on the gray and black tones of the case and exposed movement – the red is truly an accent here. 

Lastly, we have what I think is easily the most adventurous of the three Monacos, the “Turquoise.” This color was inspired by the Monaco coastline, and is featured throughout the dial in both subdials and within the hour markers. The tone of turquoise used has the appearance of luminescent material, and it works really well against the case, which has been given a black DLC coating. 

The Monaco case is 39mm wide, and in these iterations has been rendered in grade 2, sandblasted titanium. At 39mm, the square design of the Monaco is going to wear very differently (much bigger) than a circular watch of a comparable size, but the unique wrist presence of this watch is in many ways its primary calling card. The cases here maintain links to classic Monacos with elongated pushers, a lack of crown guards, and a beveled and domed crystal that is deceptive in its complexity and also gives the watch a strong vintage flavor. 


The movement is the Heuer 02 Automatic, an in-house design with a column wheel and 80 hours of power reserve. Much of the movement can be seen from the dial side, but the real show is on the back. The winding rotor has also been skeletonized, allowing for a nearly unobstructed view of the caliber. The cherry on top though is that in each watch the column wheel has been color matched to the focus color of the dial, which is a fun detail that brings just a little more visual to the backside than you might anticipate. 

All three watches are available now through TAG Heuer. The retail price is CHF 10,500 for the Original Blue and Racing Red, and CHF 11,000 for the Turquoise. TAG Heuer

Images from this post:
Related Posts
Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.