The latest TAG Heuer Monaco brings a sleek, hyper-vieweable twist to the classic racing watch format that we all know and love
When Jack Heuer designed the Monaco — motor racing’s most iconic watch — Formula 1 was in a very different place than it is today. Here’s a thought; pick up an onlooker from the Monaco’s 1969 launch, and toss them 54 years into the future towards this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. Apart from more bit of nausea and sensory overload from the size, scale, and sensation that is modern Formula 1, the poor chap might also ask themselves in bewilderment — why is the race happening at night?
If you’re just getting into F1, it’s interesting to note that night races are a relatively recent addition. First introduced during the inaugural 2008 Singapore GP, it has since been planned across just four races — something that the Swiss timekeeping giant has commemorated through the new Monaco Chronograph ‘Night Driver’.
The last few Monacos have retained the watch’s iconic square case in favour of open work, skeletonised dials — nifty stuff, but certainly not easy to read while taking a corner at high speed. The Night Driver shifts gears with a highly visible, luminescent dial, which offers a mature, understated anthracite, grey opaline finish during daytime hours, recalling the ‘charcoal grey’ of vintage Monaco chronographs. As the sun goes down, the circular dial element stays dark while the external light grey and chronograph counters glow a stunning light blue via a liberally textured application of Super-Luminova.
The grade 5 titanium case, a first for the Monaco chronograph, offers an understated-cool way to round out the watch, elevated by a matte sandblasting along with a coating of diamond-like carbon (DLC). This function-over-flashiness approach is continued with 100m of water resistance and a black calfskin rally-style watch strap, enhancing breathability on the wrist while channelling Heuer’s old-school racing chronographs from the 70s. Under a display caseback you’ll find the Calibre 02 automatic movement, which has now found a home in many TAG Heuer chronographs; names such as Carrera and Autavia come to mind. While the movement’s build results in a fairly thick 14.7mm case and the crown at three rather than the traditional nine, the watch retains solid performance across 80 hours — just about enough for a full race weekend.
Following up from the Carrera Skipper earlier this year, the Night Driver continues TAG Heuer’s latest trend of fun, thematically sound revisits to their classic watch lineups, and will be made as a limited-edition run of 600 individually engraved pieces. At INR 9,48,600, it certainly costs more than the regular Calibre 02 Monaco in stainless steel, but we’re certain the Night Driver stands out enough to find success amongst fans of the Monaco and TAG Heuer alike.
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