At this year’s Watches & Wonders, TAG Heuer introduced quite a few new watches that focus on the brand’s future. But for the fans of the rich history of TAG Heuer, the brand releases the new Monaco Gulf Special Edition. It’s the first time the brand has equipped the Monaco Gulf Edition with its in-house automatic Calibre Heuer 02. The integration of the famous orange and blue Gulf colors is also now more sophisticated than ever. These changes result in a timepiece that is a new, refreshing take on an iconic design of the past.
Every time TAG Heuer releases a new version of its icons, the watch community pays great attention. Especially when it’s a special edition of the classic chronograph that pays tribute to the brand’s racing history dating back to the days with Jack Heuer at the helm. But more specifically, this Monaco Gulf Special Edition pays homage to the days of Jo Siffert and Steve McQueen and the movie Le Mans that made the Monaco an icon. For this new edition of the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf, the brand updated the design and equipped the watch with the in-house Calibre Heuer 02. Let’s take a closer look at what’s new with this piece!
At first glance, the new TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition feels very familiar. For this new special edition, however, the brand toned down the integration of the Gulf Oil branding a bit. But before we get into that, let’s start with the case. The new Monaco comes with the same iconic 39mm case as its predecessor, making it a great fit for a wide variety of wrists. In general, square and rectangular watches are not always the easiest to wear, but at 39mm, this is modestly sized.
The watch features a blue sunray dial with applied indexes and a polished, rhodium-plated number “60″ at 12 o’clock. This is a nod to the racing numbers on the Porsche Gulf racing cars. The “60” sits just above the TAG Heuer logo and Monaco name, both of which are printed in white on the blue dial. The integration of the Gulf Oil identity starts with the square register at 3 o’clock, which features the light blue and orange Gulf colors. The retro-style typography used for the registers at 3 and 9 o’clock is also a really nice touch. As you can see, the Gulf logo is printed in white on the lower half of the dial. It blends in very nicely with all the other white elements.
The characteristic light blue and orange colors are also present in two vertical stripes on the right side of the dial. The dial also features two main chronograph registers and a more subdued small seconds display at 6 o’clock. The elapsed-minutes register sits at 3 o’clock, while the elapsed-hours register resides at 9 o’clock. As you can see, these two registers are recessed, giving the dial a deeper visual effect. Additionally, there is a date display at 6 o’clock, which sits just below the small seconds indicator. The overall style of the dial is a colorful mix of both modern and ’70s-inspired elements. The Gulf branding brings the 1970s retro flair, whereas the other elements give the watch the perfect amount of modern style. Other colorful touches are the orange central chronograph hand and small hands used for the sub-dials. The hour and minute hands are executed in stainless steel and filled with white lume. Despite the colorful approach, the dial is easier on the eye than the model it replaces. That model has extra red elements, and the Gulf colors are more prominent as well. Overall, this new dial looks a lot more balanced.
If you turn the watch around, you will see the in-house Calibre Heuer 02 through the sapphire display case back. This is the first Monaco Gulf Edition model equipped with this caliber. The automatic chronograph movement consists of 168 components. It operates at 28,800vph, has 33 jewels, and provides 80 hours of power reserve. As you can see, the skeletonized rotor and mainplate are decorated with Geneva stripes. The rotor is treated with black PVD and contrasting orange engravings. The Calibre Heuer 02 utilizes both a column wheel and a vertical clutch. Furthermore, it features a quick-set date and hacking seconds. The modern movement is finished to fit the overall style of the watch perfectly. Fans of the Monaco Gulf Editions will love that TAG Heuer finally equipped the watch with an in-house caliber.
Compared to the previous edition of the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Edition, this new model is a big improvement. The Gulf Oil branding is now better integrated, but it still doesn’t lose its special presence. On top of that, the overall use of color feels a lot less erratic than in the previous version. What remains, however, is the fact that this watch will only speak to those who love the Monaco design. This TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition will stand out in the crowd and is not for everyone. But I’m sure long-time fans will enjoy this updated piece with its new design and top-of-the-line movement. It’s good to see that this iconic watch gets the update it deserves. It shows that TAG Heuer is not just looking toward the future but also has an eye for its remarkable past.