This Tag Heuer Monaco 24 Calibre 36 Chronograph watch replica features an unusual floating dial and a legendary chronograph movement. Angus Davies visits the TAG Heuer Boutique in Manchester to look at the Monaco 24 Calibre 36 Automatic Chronograph presented in a cheerful palette of colours.
The Boutique has an extensive array of models, including some “Boutique Only” watches and some of the brand’s über complicated haute horlogerie timepieces.
Walking along Manchester’s rain-soaked pavements may not sound like an enticing prospect but located on St. Ann Street, in one of the city’s most prestigious shopping areas, is a retail destination which justifies embracing the inclement weather. The recently opened TAG Heuer Boutique is a sumptuously appointed haven of horological treats.
During a recent visit to the Boutique, an attentive member of staff showed me a plethora of eye-catching models. But, on this occasion, I had no intention of making a purchase. Indeed, I had another objective in mind, to spend 30 minutes in the company of a Swiss made fake Tag Heuer Monaco 24 watch, taking photographs and recording copious notes.
With the onset of the winter blues, I craved a touch of sunshine and sought a brightly coloured watch replica to dispel any sense of seasonal sadness. The name “Monaco” conjures thoughts of a sun-drenched destination where each year glamorous individuals attend the most exciting motorsport event, the Grand Prix de Monaco. The name also proves familiar to those with a passing interest in horology.
The Heuer Monaco, released in 1969, is an iconic watch, respected by legions of watch replica collectors.
Since its launch the Monaco has spawned an array of variants, but has always retained strong links to motorsport, courtesy of the 1970s film “Le Mans”, where Steve McQueen was seen sporting a blue dial version of the watch.
Jack Heuer and Willy Breitling shared the development costs of producing the world’s first self-winding chronograph. This movement, codenamed Project 99 was subsequently named the Calibre 11. Heuer realising both companies would share the same movement chose to house the Calibre 11 in the world’s first water-resistant square case, providing an additional point of differentiation. The iconic Monaco was born.
Whilst this particular variant of the Monaco was first released in 2011, it continues to have a charming freshness to its form. The Monaco 24 Calibre 36 Automatic Chronograph has been produced in various colourways, but the sunny disposition of the orange dial detail wholeheartedly captured my attention.The Boutique in Manchester had several members of the Monaco family in stock, but my eyes were drawn to a vibrant orange and anthracite model with a character distinctly different to the 1969 original.
On this particular model, the shock absorbing mounts are presented in a metallic orange colour.Within each corner of the case, shock absorbing mounts can be seen. These are part of the company’s “Advanced Dynamic Absorber” system protecting the movement from shocks and holding the floating dial in position.
The corners of each subdial are rounded, softening their profile and providing cohesion with the neighbouring rounded lines.Two square subdials are positioned at 3 and 6 o’clock. The subdial at 3 o’clock is a 30-minute register, whereas the subdial opposite displays the running seconds.
While my attention was initially drawn to the orange shades featured on this watch, anthracite is the most widely used colour on the dial. The adjacent surfaces employ a horizontal brush. The central area of the dial is affixed with four brightly polished screws and incorporates a vertical satin brush.
The central chronograph seconds hand is presented in a cheerful orange shade. Below noon, “24” is proudly proclaimed in a modern font, referencing the famous 24-hour race in Le Mans.The hour and minute hands are rhodium plated and lined with luminescent material.
The first striking detail of the dial design is that it is round whilst being housed within a square case. Moreover, the circular canvas floats within the case with the areas to the side according a view from front to back.
At 6 o’clock, an elongated, curved aperture reveals the date. Encircling the dial is a minute rail featuring luminescent white markings.
TAG Heuer has produced a captivating dial that has a unique appearance. The sapphire crystal features bevelled edges which yield fascinating ghost images to the periphery of the dial area. However, this aspect does not detract from the excellent legibility of the dial, but rather offers an abundance of charm.
The case is larger than the original 1969 Monaco, with a diameter of 40.5mm. Whilst this could not be described as excessive, there is a significant depth to the case. However, this timepiece remains applicable to current tastes and the watch replica proves very comfortable to wear.
The angled trajectory of the push pieces, where they interface with the case band, ties in with the diagonal orientation of the shock absorbers. Furthermore, a soupçon of orange can be seen adjacent the dial where the push pieces connect with the movement. These details may sound minor, but they enhance the visual appeal of the watch replica and manifestly demonstrate TAG Heuer’s obsession with the minutiae.
A notable quality of the watch replica design is how the structural aspects of the watch’s architecture deliver much eye-appeal. The head of each bolt securing the shock absorbers is visible on the case band. This design element seems to provide a sense of solidity and mechanical honesty.
The case back is secured with four screws and features a large, square sapphire crystal, revealing virtually all of the movement. There is no sleight of hand, TAG Heuer seems to freely disclose all aspects of the watch replica with welcome candour.
The watch replica is fitted with a black leather strap, featuring a bold orange underside and folding clasp which shuts with a superbly positive action.
The Calibre 36 is based on the iconic Zenith El-Primero movement, oscillating with a frequency of 36,000 vph (5Hz). The column-wheel chronograph needs little explanation as its reputation is held in high-esteem by watch replica enthusiasts around the globe.
The Monaco 24 Calibre 36 Automatic Chronograph is a chronometer with COSC certification.
However, the presentation of this movement is quite distinct thanks to the enhancements made by TAG Heuer. The rotor consists of three spokes with weights occupying one third of its circumference. The open-worked design reveals much of the movement beneath. Whilst the rotor adds an air of modernity, the capacity to see much of the gear train and balance wheel below is reminiscent of a vintage movement. The candid disclosure of the micro-components within makes the Calibre 36 very appealing.
Returning to my sojourn to Manchester, whilst the city may sometimes lack the temperate climes of a Mediterranean beach, friendly Mancunian warmth can be found at the TAG Heuer Boutique, together with a very extensive array of models.
TAG Heuer has expertly taken the idea of a square watch replica case, found on the original Monaco model of 1969, and infused it with contemporary styling. The floating dial is both very attractive and simple to interpret.
- Model: TAG Heuer Monaco 24 Calibre 36 Automatic Chronograph
- Reference: CAL5112.FC6298
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 40.5mm; sapphire crystal to front and rear
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
- Movement: Calibre 36; self-winding; frequency 36,000 vph (5Hz); 31 jewels; power reserve approximately 50 hours
- Strap: Black crocodile leather presented on a stainless steel deployant
The avant-garde watch replica company offers this Tag Heuer Monaco watch replica with a blue dial, reminiscent of the watch replica worn by Steve McQueen in the film “Le Mans”. However, I must admit the orange and anthracite version proved especially agreeable to me, bringing a touch of warmth to proceedings, similar to a balmy day on the Côte D’Azur.