Some people may be familiar with this situation: young children like to emulate their elders, but often have a hard time stepping out of the shadow of their older siblings on account of their lack of experience. The TAG Heuer Monza with its big siblings, the Carrera and the Monaco, has had a similar experience – and tragically so, in our opinion. So fasten your seat belts, because the story behind the TAG Heuer Monza is as fast-paced as the Formula 1 circuit it was named after.
The history of the TAG Heuer Monza
The legendary Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda, who survived one of the most horrific accidents in motorsports history in the cockpit of his Ferrari 312T2 on August 1, 1976, made a major contribution to the development of the TAG Heuer Monza, which at that time was still called Heuer Monza. If he had not led the Ferrari team to victory in the Grand Prix and the World Championship the year before, the Monza probably would have never been developed by Heuer.
The Heuer Monza's hour of birthFrom 1971 to 1979, the Swiss watch manufacturer Heuer was an unofficial and more importantly team Ferrari timekeeper, as Enzo Ferrari did not trust the official timekeeping. In return, the Heuer logo was emblazoned on the Scuderia Ferrari race cars. In 1975, when Lauda won the Italian Grand Prix at the Autonomous Nazionale di Monza, bringing the championship title back to Maranello, Heuer took the opportunity to launch a watch that would forever commemorate the day's victory and Ferrari's new status as Formula 1 World Champion. This was the very moment of the Monza's birth.
TAG HEUER MONZA CR2080.FC6375
Niki Lauda was one of the first recipients of a Monza model the year after his historic victory. This watch, which was specifically designed for motorsports, adopted the design of the Heuer Monopusher chronograph and added a pulsometer and a tachymeter scale. It also added a small second hand at 10 o'clock, a feature unique to the early Monza models. Additionally, the case of the Monza was coated completely black, giving the watch an even sportier look. The only disadvantage of the Monza was that it was conceived from the beginning only as a limited edition.
Reissues of the Heuer Monza24 years later, the Monza was finally resurrected in 2000. Early models of this new edition also carry the Heuer only logo on the dial. The current TAG Heuer emblem is only visible on later versions. The cushion-shaped case is reminiscent of the monopusher design from the 1930s, but is often confused with the design of the Heuer Camaro. This reissue of the Monza was to remain in the manufacturer's range for about five years before disappearing from the picture again. But more about this later.
In the shadow of the Carrera, Camaro and Monaco
The Monza did not enjoy good standing in the world of luxury watches in the beginning – it was neither made of high-quality materials nor did it offer a particularly wide range of models. Accordingly, its competitors had an easy time holding their own against the new sports chronograph. Moreover, the Monza had to face a number of accusations. For some, the Monza was only a PVD-coated special edition of the Carrera from the 1970s, and for others, it was just a simple copy of the Heuer Camaro. However, the design of the Monza had a long history – back to the 1930's – but no one seemed particularly interested.
TAG HEUER MONZA CR2080.FC6375 | TAG HEUER CARRERA CAR2B80.FC6325
It was the Monza's bigger siblings, in particular, which made it especially difficult. The Monaco, Carrera and Camaro were already well-established models in the field of high-calibre racing watches and defended their status. Even this was unnecessary, because the Monza was always tripping itself up. Although one of the world's first automatic chronograph calibres was powering the watch, it was hidden behind an opaque case back. Likewise, the larger variety of exclusivity offered by its competitors was equally detrimental.
The Heuer Monza – a coveted underdog
Today, at least on the secondhand market, things look a little different. The Heuer Monza from the 70s is very popular with collectors and has had a steady increase in value. The Monza is rarely available for less than €2,000 and today is an excellent entry-level watch in the world of luxury watches. The more recent models from the 2000 series have also enjoyed considerable popularity. These Classic Monza mdoels offer a far greater variety of models than the early models from the 70s. Alongside variations on the classic Monza look with a leather strap, stainless steel case and black or white dial, there are also models with a yellow gold or rose gold case and artfully embellished dials.
TAG HEUER CLASSIC MONZA CR2114.FC6164
The Monza is discontinuedA brand-new Monza is now hardly available. Unfortunately, it fell victim to a decision to clean up the manufacturer's range from the usual "mainstream" models. The underrated Monza finally had to give way to the Monaco and the Carrera, while the big siblings were allowed to remain on their thrones. They certainly deserve this, but the Monza independently possesses a special something of its own. Its roots go back to the origins of chronographs, its design does not lack a distinctive timeless elegance and gives the wearer a certain eccentric and individual look.
In the spotlight once againIt is also interesting to note that in the year 2000, in addition to the renowned Monza Calibre 17 Chronograph, a Monza Calibre 6 was launched as a three-hand watch with a small second at 6 o'clock. This became especially exciting and interesting in the years after the production was discontinued. In 2011, for the first time after six years without production, a new Monza with the reference number CR5112 was released on the market (TAG Heuer Monza Calibre 36 Limited Edition CR5112.FC6290), a special model with a 1930's style dial. This special edition, limited to 1911 pieces, is currently available at advantageous conditions and at a solid price and features the at that time new Heritage design from TAG Heuer. The Calibre 36 automatic movement can also be admired through a sapphire crystal back.
Five years later, TAG Heuer would again create a stir at Baselworld with another Monza edition. The Monza Cal. 17 (Ref. CR2080) revisits the design of the original Monza from 1976, and packs it beautifully into the case of the 2000 Monza Calibre 17. Here and there a little more modern, this Calibre 17 takes on the look of a sporty, motorsports-oriented luxury watch that is not only aware of its origins, but also displays them with a pride.
TAG HEUER MONACO, MONZA & CARRERA
Why should I buy a Heuer Monza?
If you don't want to stand out from the crowd with just any luxury watch, but would rather wear a piece of watch history on your wrist, then a Heuer Monza is the ideal choice. The models released after the Millennium are versatile, as is familiar and appreciated from TAG Heuer models. Whether in the office, with jeans or with a racing suit, the Monza not only looks great on any occasion, but will also impress you with its technical features. The Monza may not be the most luxurious watch in terms of its basic features, but it reflects the quintessence of what makes a good watch. Take a moment to give the Monza the attention it deserves!