TAG Heuer is unveiling its most advanced timepiece to date: the MONACO Twenty Four Concept Chronograph, a cutting-edge creation inspired by the supercharged race cars of the 24 of Le Mans. The luxury watch carries an oversize “24” at 12 o’clock and the emblematic blue and orange livery of Gulf Oil – the same colours TAG Heuer Ambassador Steve McQueen wore in his 1970 film classic, Le Mans.
Based on the iconic exterior of Steve McQueen’s square-shaped Monaco, the concept watch’s unique tubular design and extreme shock-protected components are directly inspired by GT racecar technology. An innovative wonder with a unique two-part, see-through dial in an oversized, very contemporary case (40.5mm), the MONACO Twenty Four Concept Chronograph is powered by the superlative TAG Heuer Calibre 36 Movement (beating at the stunning speed of 36.000 beats/hour relentlessly as the engine of a Le Mans prototype running at 350 km/h), visible from the front and through its sapphire crystal caseback.
Seriously sleek and high-tech, this daring creation of TAG Heuer’s newly expanded R&D department is a triumph of lightness and transparency, yet it looks like it could go 400 kilometres an hour down the endurance race’s fabled Mulsanne Straight.
The sophisticated concept watch is the latest in a series of groundbreaking concept watches on the mythic watch of Steve McQueen. In 2003, the double-sided MONACO Sixty-Nine won the coveted Design Watch of the Year Award at the Grand Prix d’Horloge in Geneva. In 2004, the belt-driven MONACO V4 was named Watch of the Year by Wallpaper magazine and “Best of What’s New” by Popular Science. In 2007, the MONACO 360 LS Concept Chronograph, the world’s most accurate wrist chronograph, was awarded the prestigious iF Design Award.
In a world first, the MONACO Twenty Four Concept Chronograph’s powerful TAG Heuer Calibre 36 movement “floats” inside a black PVD case, suspended within an “energy manifold” steel-tube housing very much like a race car’s driver’s protective cockpit cage. The components inside the polished black PVD-coated case (based on the MONACO V4 case) are further insulated with a shock-absorbing “composite filter” material used in aerospace and auto racing. The manifold arms collect vibrations and direct them away from the movement and into the composite filter, which absorbs and dissipates their energy.
Another never-before-seen innovation is the watch’s centrifugal system: the three arrows on the annular oscillating weight, visible from the front of the dial and through the sapphire crystal caseback, display its working rotation. Custom built in industrial-grade tungsten, the oscillating weight echoes a GT car’s chrome mags. The large-faced, black-textured dial bears an oversize “24” at 12 o’clock, in honour of the 24 of Le Mans.
The innovative two-part dial’s semi sub-counters at 9 and 3 o’clock have “doubled” hands: on the 3 o’clock, for example, the first part of the hand displays 0 to 15 minutes when the other part of the same hand passes under the upper dial.
Water resistant to 100 metres, with anti-reflective double-sided treatment on the curved sapphire scratch-resistant crystal glass to ensure the best readability, this superlative timepiece impressively reveals the direction the Monaco myth will take over its next 40 years.