Hands-On with the TAG Heuer Monaco
TAG Heuer is a highly respected name in the watch world, and for good reason. They manufacture high-quality products, don’t charge too much for them, and have fantastic branding. For all you collectors out there who want to purchase an entry-level Swiss piece, I definitely support going with a TAG watch. The question is, which one will you choose? Below, I outline all the reasons for why your answer might be the TAG Heuer Monaco.
Edouard Heuer, a 20-year-old craftsman and horology enthusiast, started this legendary company in 1860. He quickly established his brand as one of the top Swiss manufacturers in the world. In the beginning, they were best known as masters of the chronograph, but their catalog and areas of expertise have continued to grow.
Today, TAG Heuer is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. They have a slew of celebrity ambassadors, tons of fans in the timepiece world, and a spot on most “top watch company” lists. To me, their defining characteristic is how fun and sporty the brand is. They don’t try to be anything they’re not, and instead thrive in the niche they have built for themselves.
The History of the Monaco
Most watch experts will tell you that the Monaco is an icon in horology culture. While this watch didn’t signal the invention of any one feature, it was the first of its kind to combine many into one. The three of note are it being square, waterproof, and a chronograph. Combine that with the exceptional aesthetics of the Monaco, and you had an instant classic. Its big moment came when A-list actor Steve McQueen put it on for his movie “Le Mans,” where he played the part of a racecar driver. From then on, the Monaco was a pillar in the watch community.
Simply put, the Monaco is one of the most beautiful watches on the market. I think its most pleasing aspect is the contrast between squares and circles. The former includes the case and sub dials, while the latter describes the dial itself. What you get as a result is a watch that is entirely unique. Add in bright coloring and a fashionable leather strap, and you have a timepiece that is an absolute joy to look at. It looks even better when it’s on your own wrist, by the way.
TAG Heuer provides the quality you’d expect out of a watch in this price range. It is crafted from stainless steel, sports a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and generally comes with an alligator leather strap. While some of you might want a precious metal, those don’t fit well with this price point or TAG’s brand identity. Ultimately, this is a semi-affordable sport watch, not a luxurious dress piece.
The Monaco’s movement is Swiss-made, in-house, and has a 40-hour power reserve. Its accuracy is good, but not great. All of these metrics are roughly what you would expect out of this price range. This movement is not a strength that is worth discussing a ton, but it also isn’t a weakness.
Watch companies can often get away with low-level craftsmanship on dress watches and others with minimal functions. Luckily, they can’t do that with chronographs. You can feel a low-quality pusher the second you touch it, so every manufacturer in this space needs to deliver an exceptional product. The good news is that the TAG Heuer Monaco definitely lives up to its reputation. It is well-built, has a great chronograph, and sports 100m water resistance. I doubt you’ll be disappointed with its craftsmanship once you get your hands on this watch.
Chronographs are almost always associated with aviation or racing, and the Monaco is no exception.
In fact, it is one of the most famous racing watches of all time. It started with Steve McQueen in his prominent driving role, and that legacy has continued to this day. While there are more functional racing options on the market, few of them have the style and history of the Monaco. Additionally, consumers generally don’t purchase timepieces as tools to take on the road. Instead, they want the spirit of driving incorporated in a gorgeous watch. That is precisely what the Monaco delivers.
Shopping for Swiss watches is often intimidating. There are just so many brands out there, and most of them are incredibly expensive. All of TAG Heuer’s products provide a bridge between you and a watch market that is so often exclusionary. If you’re interested in this brand, they have a variety of options for you to choose from. As you might imagine, the Monaco is my favorite of the bunch. It’s undeniable aesthetics, historical significance, and craftsmanship make it a sure bet, and I am confident that it would be a fantastic addition to your collection.