This weekend marks the 80th Monaco Grand Prix and TAG Heuer is celebrating the occasion with three new skeletonized Monaco watches. Technically this isn’t the first time TAG Heuer has made a skeletonized Monaco. In 2021, for Only Watch, the brand made the first ever open-dial in the history of the watch. The fully forged-carbon watch was essentially an homage to the original and highly collectible Dark Lord (a grail for many Heuer addicts), with the dial, the case, and even the hairspring all made from carbon composite. Then, last year, TAG Heuer released the Monaco “Riviera” Monte Carlo Boutique Limited Edition. It also featured a skeletonized (ish) dial but in Tiffany blue colorway. While I’m sure they would want us to refer to it as Riviera blue, let’s call a spade a spade. Plus, this was during peak Tiffany blue era, which now, sadly, feels sort of passé to reference as a concept (let that be a lesson unto us all to not fall into trend traps). So let’s just go back to calling it Riviera blue.
The Monte Carlo boutique edition was made in a very exclusive run of just 30 pieces – which meant you had to live in Monte Carlo or be rich enough to get yourself to Monte Carlo by yacht/private plane/or special wealthy people breed of carrier pigeon. You’ll be glad to know that this new openwork skeleton Monaco is made for public consumption. It will not cost CHF 290,000. Nor will it be piece unique, nor come in a limited run of 30. It’s available in three versions: a blue sandblasted dial; a black sandblasted dial with sandblasted titanium case and red accents; and a black sandblasted dial with black DLC sandblasted titanium and turquoise accents. I vote the black colorway as the best looking of the bunch. The hands, indexes and date window are treated with Super-LumiNova, which looks especially cool on the black and turquoise colorway and amps up that futuristic feel that they are clearly going for with the skeletonization. Just for reference, I never care about Super-LumiNova, so the fact that I am mentioning it here it means I think it looks damn good. The Monaco is one of the few watches you can call an actual icon, and it has truly cemented itself as being worthy of the title. Launched by Jack Heuer in 1969 during the Golden Era of Motorsport, it is now synonymous with Steve McQueen or, if you’re me, Jacob Elordi. Thanks to its uniquely square shape, it’s one of the most recognizable watches on the market today. And listen, I’m not a square watch girl, but I do love anything that sparks a visceral reaction. I enjoy anything – whether I deem it stylish or not – that reminds me of how important it is to develop your own tastes and sense of style. There are few watches out there that I don’t enjoy on a personal level but that I deeply respect on a wider design based level – the Monaco is one of them.
The skeletonization is certainly a new style direction for the Monaco. It’s a bold look for an already bold watch. But it makes sense in today’s context. Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet have firmly laid the foundation for popular wear-in-the-Miami-club skeleton chronograph that you can barely use to tell the time. I get it. Gotta keep up with the times or you risk being left behind. It’s a far cry from my romantic associations with the Monaco. In black and white pictures, on the wrist of Stanley Kubrick or Sammy Davis Jr. it looks like a Bauhaus-inspired, Mid-Century work of art. But this openwork is a middle ground. Wear this watch if you want to be Steve McQueen, but like the 2023 version.
Since the TAG Heuer Monaco’s debut in 1969, the iconic Swiss watch quickly became a true classic for racing fanatics and passionate collectors alike. The timepiece, which is renowned for its versatile square case shape and technologically-advanced chronograph features, has graced the wrists of racing icons such as Joe Siffert and Steve McQueen, who sported a TAG Heuer Monaco in the popular 1971 film, Le Mans.
Now expanding the celebrated Monaco range in honor of the 80th Monaco Grand Prix, TAG Heuer is unveiling new, vivid Monaco chronograph timepieces. This collection features three brand-new timepieces that are characterized by their skeleton dial, the first of its kind within the Monaco range. By carrying this element over from the TAG Heuer Carrera to the TAG Heuer Monaco editions, the brand extends a throughline that connects its modern styles to past silhouettes.
The original Monaco prototype was instantly cemented as an industry favorite due to its innovative case silhouette, striking blue dial, and daring chronograph functions. Paired with the Calibre 11, it was a dependable staple for those who gravitated towards bold looks. Then building upon and elevating the original design, TAG Heuer introduced a new look for the Tag Heuer Monaco Chronograph in the 1970s. This iteration featured a matte black case and dial of the legendary “Dark Lord.”
The timepiece quickly became a cultural symbol, consistently evolving as time progressed. In 1998, the TAG Heuer Monaco was reissued through the brand’s Vintage series, featuring more modern updates. The tried and true style was then reimagined once again in 2003 and upgraded with a precise Calibre 360 movement. Today, the watch is one of the brand’s most esteemed and recognizable models, and TAG Heuer continues to release it in exclusive, limited-edition variations. In celebration of the Monaco Grand Prix and over 50 years of the beloved timepiece, three more novel models have been revealed.
These three brand new models mark the first time a TAG Heuer collection has ever unveiled the mechanism of the watch. The modern-day skeleton comes in three dial options — Original Blue, Racing Red, and Turquoise — designed with cutting-edge aesthetic features to appeal to more adventurous watch collectors. Each new model honors TAG Heuer models of the past, nodding to classic styles through certain borrowed colors and racing motifs. The turquoise skeleton model calls to Monaco’s crisp blue coasts, providing a vibrant stand-out option.
Each of these three new Monaco skeleton watches is powered by the in-house Heuer 02 movement, which employs a conventional column wheel with an 80-hour power reserve — one of the largest for a chronograph in the entire industry. This feature is displayed through a sapphire case back. The new models also feature a sandblasted titanium Grade 2 39 mm case for durability and resistance no matter the occasion. Other aesthetic features include Super-LumiNova treatment which illuminates the indexes and hands of the watch, a date window, and an innovative, embossed bi-material strap that combines rubber and leather for flexibility and comfort. These straps come in both blue and black options.