Review: TAG Heuer Monza Chronograph
TAG Heuer reissued one of its rare gems, the Monza Chronograph, in celebration of the watch’s 40th anniversary.
The Monza is definitely one of the lesser known TAG Heuer watches, as most of the limelight goes to scene stealers like the Monaco, the Carrera, and the Aquaracer. This makes the Monza an extra delightful treat, especially the latest one, which is a reissue commemorating its 40th anniversary. Like the Monaco, the Monza is associated with a prominent racecar driver. But the difference is that Steve McQueen is a racer on screen only, while Niki Lauda, for whom the Monza was made, is an actual Formula 1 champion.
It was in 1976 that Jack Heuer, great grandson of the brand’s founder, created a chronograph to celebrate Lauda’s first world championship title with the Ferrari team in the 1975 season. Why name the watch Monza? Lauda’s championship win that season was confirmed when he finished third place at the Italian Grand Prix at – you guessed it – Monza. He drove the then-new Ferrari 312T and his teammate Regazzoni won that race, allowing Ferrari to clinch its first constructor’s championship in 11 years. Then, TAG Heuer, at that time named Heuer, was the official timekeeper for Scuderia. Incidentally, it was the first time that the name Monza appeared on the dial of a watch.
That watch had a cushion-shaped case inspired by a 1925 model. It had an all-black color scheme and its chronograph came with both pulsometer and tachymeter scales – apt, considering how the diabolical speeds of Formula One cars would set your heart racing. Red hands and counters give it an added touch of sportiness, recalling the company’s racing heritage.
The remake preserves much of the original. Its shape remains cushion, its color scheme is predominantly black, and its hours and minutes hands are black and white lacquered. The indexes are painted with a vintage Super-LumiNova as a nod to the 1970’s and the logo used is the historical Heuer one, as opposed to the contemporary green and red TAG Heuer shield. What has change, however, is the case material, now titanium vis-à-vis steel then. It gets the black color tone from the titanium carbide coating. Its size, too, has increased to 42mm from 39mm. Further details include the Calibre 17 automatic chronograph movement inside, and a numbered screw-on case back featuring the historic Heuer logo engraved with red lacquer finish.
- Dimensions: 42mm
- Functions: Hours, minutes, chronograph
- Power Reserve: 42 hours
Movement: Self-winding Calibre 17 chronograph
Material: Titanium coated with black titanium carbide
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Full-grain perforated calfskin with deployant buckle in black-coated titanium
This article was first published in World of Watches.