TAG Heuer Re-Ignites It’s Haute Horology With The Latest Monaco Split Seconds Chronograph

by Sameera Gamage

Heritage and innovation have come together to break the boundaries of time with TAG Heuer’s latest Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph.

TAG Heuer had a masterpiece lined up for OnlyWatch 2023, the biennial charity auction where brands send in their one-off timepieces made specifically for this auction. These timepieces are always unique, showcasing what the brand is capable off. However, as we know, OnlyWatch 2023 was postponed indefinitely (hopefully 2024), which meant we didn’t get to see a lot of the unique creations the auction was hyped up for. However, TAG Heuer did give a look into what they created: the first-ever TAG Heuer mechanical split-seconds wristwatch.

The TAG Heuer Monaco is one of the brand’s most distinctive collections. Since the timepiece’s creation in 1969, it has been a symbol of contrarian design, opposing the norm of traditional watch design. With the signature square-shaped case, left-sided crown, and blue dial, Monaco, upon its release, was certainly no ordinary timepiece. The timepiece was well ahead of its time in terms of avant-garde design, and this was reflected by visionaries like Sammy Davis Jr, Stanley Kubrick and Steve Mcqueen being spotted wearing the watch.

This is why it was chosen as the timepiece for this special split-second project. The new TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph was supposed to be the brand’s first-ever mechanical rattrapante (French for split-seconds) wristwatch. However, back in late last year, we were unlucky not to see this model enter OnlyWatch 2023.

Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph Timeless Blue (CBW2182.FC8339)

Now, TAG Heuer has unveiled two aesthetic timepieces of this extremely complicated mechanism as part of the brand’s Monaco collection. Whether TAG Heuer had this planned all along, to release these timepieces on the back of the OnlyWatch 2023 release, because the technical know-how in creating the watches has been surpassed, or they are releasing these models because they didn’t get to showcase their original masterpiece, either way, we are happy this point in time has finally arrived.

“TAG Heuer has always been committed to pushing the boundaries of timekeeping, and with the introduction of the Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph, we are not only embracing our rich heritage but also redefining the future of Haute Horlogerie d’Avant-Garde. This timepiece is the epitome of precision and innovation, a perfect fusion of tradition and cutting-edge technology, showcasing our expertise in watchmaking craftsmanship.”

Julien Tornare, CEO of TAG Heuer
Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph Timeless Blue (CBW2182.FC8339) – Case profile

These latest Monaco models, with their rattrapante complication, are truly horological masterpieces. The rattrapante complication allows you to record multiple time intervals that start at the same time but don’t end together. This means that the watch has two central hands and an additional pusher.

Before we touch further on the complicated movement, let’s look at the beautiful aesthetic design of the two models. TAG Heuer has unveiled two models of the Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph: a black DLC fine-brushed, sandblasted and polished titanium case with a black DLC fine-brushed, sandblasted and polished titanium arches with red elements on the dial or a fine-brushed, sandblasted and polished titanium case with gradient blue fine brushed, sandblasted and polished titanium arches. Both variants come with a 41mm x 41mm x 15.2mm thick case size.

Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph Sporty Red (CBW2181.FC8322)

The red Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph has the dial arches done with fine brushing and black DLC coating, a nod to the finishing of the watch’s lightweight black DLC titanium case. The dial is adorned with red elements, which stand out beautifully well against the black dial, case, and arches. Half of the hour indices are done in red, while the other is in white Superlumi-Nova, giving easy readability both day and night! The hands of the chronograph counters are red as well, and the split-second hand is red-lacquered and skeletonised.

Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph Sporty Red (CBW2181.FC8322) – Close up dial details

The timepiece’s case back is entirely crafted from sapphire crystal, giving a much larger view of the sophisticated movement inside. The transparent caseback is ingeniously designed to give the impression of a floating oscillating weight, emphasizing the watch’s sophisticated architecture. The oscillating weight has also been adorned with TAG Heuer’s iconic shield shape, which has been hand-painted in vivid red colour. This type of finishing is only reserved for the brand’s most exclusive timepieces.

Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph Timeless Blue (CBW2182.FC8339)

The Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph, with its timeless blue design, is a nod to the original 1969 Monaco with its blue dial. This variant features gradient blue dial arches, which transition from a light blue at the top of the arch to a more vivid royal blue at the bottom. TAG Heuer states that “this intricate colour gradient is achieved through a delicate anodizing process. This precise technique necessitates the application of varying voltages at different stages of the treatment — a sophisticated method perfected for each timepiece.”

Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph Timeless Blue (CBW2182.FC8339) – Close up dial details

The split-seconds (rattrapante) pusher at 9 o’clock has been colour-coded to match the rattrapante hand of each model respectively, which in this case is a gradient blue finish (however, the pusher is a solid royal blue colour). The blue variant features the same case back design. However, the finishing on the oscillating weight matches the dial, with a blue gradient colour for the TAG Heuer shield.

Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph Timeless Blue (CBW2182.FC8339) – Lume shot!

Several inscriptions are also found throughout the dial and on the caseback of both timepieces. The small second subdial at 6 o’clock echoes the arches’ shape, while the words “Rattrapante” and “Chronograph” on the subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock are subtle reminders of the watch’s technical feats. On the case back, each timepiece’s individual number is marked on the oscillating weight.

TH81-00 Mechanical Split-Seconds Chronograph Caliber

The TH81-00 calibre movement was created in partnership with esteemed manufacturer Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. It is made entirely of titanium and is TAG Heuer’s lightest mechanical chronograph movement to date. Combining the finest Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology, this rattrapante movement required the most expert watchmakers to create.

Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph Timeless Blue (CBW2182.FC8339) – Open Case back showing TH81-00 Mechanical Split-Seconds Chronograph Caliber

This split-second chronograph operates at an extremely high frequency of 5Hz (36,000 VpH), which is required for a highly accurate timer such as this. It also delivers a decent power reserve of 65 hours with the chronograph not activated and 55 hours with the chronograph activated. When the level of accuracy of a timepiece is greatly increased, normally the power reserve is greatly reduced (see our article as to why here!), however, TAG Heuer has been able to negate that partially with the development of this calibre.

“Every Component of the watch reflects our passion for horological artistry.”

CArole Forestier-kasapi – The Tag heuer movements director.
TH81-00 Mechanical Split-Seconds Chronograph Caliber

Creating the Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph alongside the TH81-00 calibre movement was a journey that took TAG Heuer into the very heart of innovation. The careful planning, design and execution in creating the movement was the height of TAG Heuer’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of watchmaking convention.

Final Thoughts

Having the Monaco timepiece be the muse for TAG Heuer’s pinnacle of innovation is quite fitting, as when the Monaco was originally released, it was also a model that stepped outside the norms of watch creation. The latest Monaco editions offer two distinctive styles. One is a more contemporary design, featuring black DLC with contrasting vivid red elements with a hand-stitched red calfskin strap embossed with a fabric pattern. The other is a true-to-heritage design, with blued arches mimicking the colour of the original Monaco model.

Regardless of the design choice, the Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph is a testament to watchmaking craftsmanship and avant-garde design. TAG Heuer has quite the legacy when it comes to chronographs, especially the Carrera and its deep history. Now, this latest Monaco timepiece has added the next chapter to TAG Heuer’s chronograph story, which is, without a doubt, the best chapter yet.

Reference: CBW2181.FC8322 (Sporty Red)

Specification

  • Case: 41mm x 41mm x 15.2mm thickness
  • Case Material: Black DLC fine brushed, sandblasted and polished titanium case, polished sapphire fixed bezel
  • Dial: Sapphire crystal dial, black DLC fine brushed, sandblasted and polished titanium arches
  • Crystal: Beveled, domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • Water resistance: 30m (3 Bar)
  • Movement: Calibre TH81-00 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph
  • Movement Frequency: 5Hz (36,000 VpH)
  • Power reserve: 65 hours (chrono off) / 55 hours (chrono on)
  • Bracelet: Hand-stitched red calfskin strap embossed with a fabric pattern, fine-brushed titanium butterfly folding clasp with black DLC pin buckle, safety push-buttons, and fine adjustment link.

Australian Recommended Retail Price: $200,000 AUD

Availability: June 2024. Only available through request. Head on over to Tagheuer.com.au for more information!

Reference: CBW2182.FC8339

Specification

  • Case: 41mm x 41mm x 15.2mm thickness
  • Case Material: Fine-brushed, sandblasted, and polished titanium case with polished sapphire fixed bezel.
  • Dial: Sapphire crystal dial. Gradient blue fine brushed, sandblasted and polished titanium arches.
  • Crystal: Beveled, domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • Water resistance: 30m (3 Bar)
  • Movement: Calibre TH81-00 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph
  • Movement Frequency: 5Hz (36,000 VpH)
  • Power reserve: 65 hours (chrono off) / 55 hours (Chrono on)
  • Bracelet: Hand-stitched blue calfskin strap embossed with a fabric pattern. Fine-brushed titanium butterfly folding clasp with a pin buckle, safety push-buttons, and fine adjustment link.

International Recommended Retail Price: $200,000 AUD

Availability: June 2024. Only available through request. Head on over to Tagheuer.com.au for more information!

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