TAG Heuer: A Motorsports Icon Refreshed

by Jamie Tan

The Monza returns in a new guise with technical and aesthetic updates.

TAG Heuer has reintroduced the Monza. The new Monza Flyback Chronometer bears a heavy technical slant this time, from a case constructed in carbon to its flyback chronograph movement.

High Octane Heritage

The Monza has been closely associated with motorsports since its inception in 1976. Named in honour of the Italian Grand Prix, it was first launched to celebrate Scuderia Ferrari’s victories at Formula One the previous year, which saw Niki Lauda clinching the Drivers’ Championship and the team winning the Constructors’ Championship.

The original Monza was a striking presence on the wrist, with its black cushion-shaped case and dial serving as the background from which the hands and indices popped. Its chronograph, a perennially useful complication in motorsports, was also central to its identity. TAG Heuer has revisited the Monza several times over the years since then, and reworked these design codes for each subsequent iteration to suit the zeitgeist.

Built For Speed

The Monza Flyback Chronometer is arguably the boldest version of the Monza yet. It leans heavily towards the technical side of things, whether in terms of its overall aesthetics, construction, or movement.

The watch begins with the familiar cushion-shaped case, sized at 42mm across and rendered in carbon this time. This is clearly a throwback to the original, as the original Monza’s black-coated case was considered cutting-edge for its time. In the same vein of things, the Monza Flyback Chronometer’s black carbon case is appropriately contemporary – with the benefits of having a cool striated appearance while being light yet strong, no less.

In lieu of a solid dial, however, TAG Heuer has opted for an openworked one that offers a peek at the movement. To ensure that legibility isn’t affected, the brand has cleverly incorporated a few design elements. For instance, note how the sapphire sub-dials at three and six o’clock, which house the chronograph minute totalizer and running seconds respectively, are executed in a smokey translucence TAG Heuer dubs fumé blue. Doing so creates high contrast with the red hands, which makes reading the counters a cinch. The date aperture at nine o’clock, on the other hand, features a block of blue luminescent material as the background, with the skeletonised date wheel situated above it. Such an arrangement creates high contrast as well to make it easy to read the date.

The flange of the Monza Flyback Chronometer has, interestingly, been printed with separate scales for both a pulsometer and a tachymeter. The quadrant from 12 o’clock to three o’clock features a pulsometer scale – calibrated to 15 heartbeats – with a blue line to delineate it visually. By using the chronograph to mark the length of time it takes for 15 heartbeats, then reading the chronograph second hand’s position off the pulsometer scale, one is able to get an instant measurement of the heart rate in beats per minute.

Meanwhile, the tachymeter scale takes up the rest of the flange to provide rate conversions down to 60 units per hour. One can, for example, measure the time it takes a car to travel one kilometre with the chronograph, then use the tachymeter to convert the car’s speed to kilometres per hour.

A carbon folding buckle to match the case

As its name suggests, the Monza Flyback Chronometer is driven by a COSC-certified chronograph movement. The addition of the flyback function here is noteworthy, and represents a step up from simple chronographs that must be stopped before they can be reset. In contrast, the flyback chronograph can be reset using the same reset pusher even while it’s running – the hands simply jump back to zero and continue their respective treks without a pause. Such a function eliminates the lag caused by the stop-reset-restart sequence, which makes measuring the elapsed time for consecutive events more accurate.

To finish things off, TAG Heuer has fitted the timepiece with a black fabric strap bearing matching blue stitching. The deployant clasp is, surprisingly, in carbon instead of DLC-coated steel, which creates an overall package that is even more coherent in terms of aesthetics.

The Monza Flyback Chronometer will be available at TAG Heuer boutiques, online via the brand’s e-commerce websites, and at select retail partners.

Images courtesy of TAG Heuer, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.

Related Links:

TAG Heuer: Dream in Colour

TAG Heuer Monaco Purple Dial: Heritage in a New Light

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