TAG Heuer is known for its iconic chronographs, and among its revered collection, the Carrera and Monaco series have held a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts since the 1960s. However, the brand's history also boasts a few exclusive lines that have made sporadic appearances. One such line is the TAG Heuer Monza, which has resurfaced only a handful of times since its introduction in 1976, each time bringing a new wave of change. The original Heuer Monza of the '70s was the brand's first-ever watch with a black case, commemorating its partnership with the Ferrari Formula 1 team through vibrant Rosso Corsa red accents.
When the TAG Heuer Monza returned in the early 2000s, it showcased a fresh focus on early 20th-century-inspired style and introduced an entirely new case design for the brand. The last iteration of the TAG Heuer Monza, released in 2016, became one of the most celebrated watches of that year. It blended a contemporary DLC-coated titanium case design with evocative '70s elements, striking a perfect balance without directly replicating the original.
Now, in 2023, the Monza name makes its comeback in the TAG Heuer lineup, bringing with it an innovative new style. The new TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer boasts a bold and dynamically modern design, combining exceptional in-house movement performance with radical contemporary aesthetics while still paying homage to its predecessors.
At first glance, the 42mm-wide case of the TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer may resemble the 2016 Monza in shape and size, but it represents a significant departure in terms of appearance. The case material itself sets it apart, as the Monza Flyback Chronometer utilizes ultra-lightweight matte forged carbon instead of the previous model's rich piano black DLC-coated titanium. The marbled and striated texture of the carbon material enhances the aggressive and modern feel of the semi-cushion case design.
The mix of deep blacks and grays in the material adds visual complexity, even with its fully matte finish. Another notable change from previous Monza iterations is the use of black DLC-coated stainless steel for the crown and piston pushers, providing a darker and more cohesive look. Additionally, the Monza Flyback Chronometer features a sapphire display caseback, offering a view of its in-house flyback chronograph movement. Continuing the sporty ethos, the watch ensures a solid water resistance rating of 100 meters.
Although the skeleton dial of the TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer represents a departure from previous Monza models, it manages to reinterpret the original Monza's essence for the modern era. The design incorporates recurring elements from earlier iterations, such as the white baton hands, simple lume rectangles at the hours, colorful graphics on the chronograph minutes subdial at five-minute intervals, and the combination tachymeter and pulsometer scale on the rehaut. However, changes in the visual presentation are evident. Like the original 1976 Monza, this watch pays tribute to TAG Heuer's Formula 1 partners.
While the first Monza featured the fiery red associated with Ferrari, TAG Heuer's current partnership with Red Bull Racing has influenced the color scheme. Consequently, the Monza Flyback Chronometer replaces the red accents with Red Bull's blue and red palette. This alteration significantly transforms the visual personality of the watch while still capturing the spirit of its predecessor. Moreover, it explains the shift from the "Heuer" branding on the 2016 Monza to the full TAG Heuer logo on the new model. The intention is not to recapture the brand's Heuer-era past but to embrace its future.
Admittedly, the asymmetrical skeleton dial design of the TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer may not appeal to everyone's taste. However, the layout exhibits thoughtful design work throughout. The main skeleton dial bridge mirrors the rounded-square shape of the Monza's distinctive bezel, while maintaining a focus on legibility. The dial features a clearly printed seconds scale along its edge, complemented by the already easily readable handset. The subdials at 3 o'clock and 6 o'clock incorporate blue-tinted sapphire surfaces, striking a balance between functionality and the visual allure of a full skeleton design. TAG Heuer maintains its modernist approach by fully skeletonizing the date window at 9 o'clock, akin to its Carrera offerings. To achieve visual balance and legibility, the date display is fully luminescent with dial-matching blue Super-LumiNova—a first in TAG Heuer's history. This ensures readability even in low-light conditions, preventing a visual void on the dial.
The power behind the TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer is the in-house Calibre Heuer 02 COSC Flyback automatic chronograph movement. Previously exclusive to the Autavia line, the Heuer 02 COSC Flyback expands on TAG Heuer's flagship chronograph movement by incorporating an intricate flyback mechanism and achieving COSC chronometer certification for accuracy. In addition to these features, the Heuer 02 COSC Flyback boasts exemplary performance, offering a robust 80-hour power reserve at a beat rate of 28,800 bph.
The movement's visual characteristics closely resemble the standard Heuer 02 movement, with Geneva-striped skeleton bridges, a black-coated wheel-inspired skeleton rotor adorned with Côtes de Genève, and the iconic exposed column wheel in vibrant red. Completing the package, TAG Heuer pairs the watch with a black textile strap featuring vivid blue accent stitching.
TAG Heuer's revival of the Monza name is a significant event in the watch enthusiast community. Just like its predecessors, the new TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer combines innovative design with a striking and dynamic visual presentation. The watch is currently available exclusively through TAG Heuer boutiques, select authorized dealers, and the brand's e-commerce platform. As of press time, the suggested retail price for the TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer is $13,850 USD.