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 Tag Heuer 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 new Monaco chronographs all come equipped with Caliber HEUER 02 Automatic – visible through the caseback – which means a healthy 80 hours of power reserve and 100 meters of water-resistance. Pricing stands at CHF 10,500 for both the blue and black dial titanium or CHF 11,000 for the Black DLC Titanium model.

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.