Review the First Gold Monaco – TAG Heuer Monaco 18ct Yellow Gold Chronograph Replica

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Everyone knows that a sports watch should be made of steel. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics, but also practicality-stainless steel is harder than most precious metals, including 18-karat gold, which means your steel sports watch is less likely to be scratched and damaged than the equivalent gold. But there’s something special about the TAG Heuer Monaco 18ct Gold chronograph replica CW5140, the Monaco case is perhaps the sportiest of TAG Heuer’s classic chronographs, and its large, square case, already conspicuous, is made even more so by the square case made of gold.

The Story

While there were Gold Carreras and an Autavia in Heuer’s historic catalogue, there was never a Gold Monaco. It wasn’t until 2002, some 5 years after TAG Heuer revived the Monaco that the first Gold Monaco replica was launched. The watch featured in the 2002 and 2003 catalogues, before being replaced in 2004 by the Monza Calibre 36 Rose Gold.

If we turn to the 2002 Price List, we can see that the Monaco was priced at £6500 in the UK, and in fact was one of the less expensive gold models, given that others such as the 2000 and 6000 series also featured a gold bracelet. So why this interest in Gold?

When Jean-Christophe Babin arrived as the new TAG Heuer CEO in 2001, part of his mission was to elevate the brand in the eyes of consumers. He was determined to bring back TAG Heuer’s reputation for innovation and precision, projects that began to emerge in 2005 with the launch of the Calibre 360 movement. But projects like the Calibre 360 take time and know-how, and when it came to making movements, TAG Heuer had no in-house knowledge of mechanical movements, having relied on Lemania and ETA/ Valjoux since the 1980s. So how could the brand be pushed up-market ahead of the technical cavalry arriving? The answer was precious metals.

From 2001, TAG Heuer released Gold versions of many of the main model lines- 2000, 6000, Alter Ego, Monaco, Monza, Carrera and Autavia. The Monaco Gold collection replica consisted of a single Calibre 17 reference (CW5140) replica, although there was also a limited run of around 15 watches of a White Gold Monaco, reference CW5141.

Design

The TAG Heuer Monaco 18K Gold replica (18K being 75% pure Gold and 25% alloys such as zinc or copper) used the same basic design as the standard steel Monaco of the day, reference CW2111, but with a few key differences in detailing to set the flagship Monaco apart from its steel brethren.

The dial

The dial is quite different to that offered on the steel Monaco of the day, and is a wonderful star-burst silver colour. The hands and applied hour-markers are Gold, giving the watch a luxurious rather than sporty look. And speaking of those hour markers, they are significantly longer than those used on the steel Monaco.

The watch uses a TAG Heuer rather than Heuer logo- it’s often forgotten that LVMH phased out the use of the Heuer logo from around 2002, only reprising it again in 2010 with the 300 SLR. All Monaco/ Carrera/ Monza/ Autavia from this era are branded as TAG Heuers.

The Case

Well, ref CW5140 replica is a solid 18ct yellow gold cased (38 mm x 38 mm x 13 mm) Monaco chronograph with “cushion” angled pushers. The dial is 18 ct silvered gold and has 3 sub registers at 3,6, and 9 (but not picked out in another colour), plus a date window at 6. It has baton type hands and gold indexes. The hands are lumed, as are the tips of the indexes. All is covered by a quite pronounced Plexiglass crystal.

Caseback

The piece is powered by the automatic calibre 17 (which is an ETA 2894-2 movement with a chronograph module) which beats at 28,800 vph (4hz) and has 37 rubies. The power reserve is some 42 hours and water resistance is to 30 m. This movement is COSC chronometer rated. A large gold rotor dominates the movement, and has some nice Cotes de Geneve decoration.

The case back is solid (pity) and notes usual brand information – along with reference and serial numbers, plus 18 ct gold hallmark.

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