Review the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Calibre 11 39mm watch replica

The TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Calibre 11 39mm watch replica CAW211R was launched to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the brand’s relationship with Gulf Motorsports.

The TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Calibre 11 39mm watch replica CAW211R was launched to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the brand’s relationship with Gulf Motorsports. My time on the watch made me realize that it may well be my favorite Monaco. Since this Monaco Gulf watch differs only in style from the standard TAG Heuer Monaco 11 movement, I wanted to take some time to cover the evolution of the Monaco Gulf so that everyone can understand its background, evolution and history.

TAG Heuer And Gulf Oil

A certain degree of drama has always been inherent in endurance racing. It’s one of the reasons the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been adapted by Hollywood so often. After all, humans are only meant to go so fast, for so long, and the racers that test their durability to that degree are lauded for their resilience and the strength of their equipment. For this exact reason, no race team was more highly regarded in the late 1960s and early 1970s than John Wyer Automotive. Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell, Brian Redman, and Pedro Rodriguez are just a few of the legendary drivers to race under the livery (other than Siffert himself). A by-product of the success and pageantry of John Wyer Automotive, the Gulf Oil and TAG Heuer (née Heuer) branding has evolved into an intrinsic part of auto racing history. It’s a commercial relationship that helped define that period in the popular imagination, which is exactly what the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Edition replica is meant to celebrate.

TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf ’Vintage’ replica ref. CW2118 & ref. CW211A (2005-2007)

TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf ’Vintage’ replica ref. CW2118 & ref. CW211A (2005-2007)

This Monaco Gulf celebrates the 50th anniversary between TAG and Gulf, the first Gulf Monaco came out in 2005. The TAG Heuer ‘Vintage’ Monaco reference CW2118 replica was a limited edition run of 4,000 watches with a white dial featuring red and blue stripes. These were inspired by the colors of Steve McQueen’s racing suit in Le Mans. The release in 2005 also coincided with McQueen’s 75th birthday.

Like with all Gulf Monacos replica before this latest model, the crown is on the case left alongside the chronograph pushers. It was, the only Monaco without “Gulf” on the dial (read the Calibre 11 article for details). This model has the modified-ETA calibre 17 movement housed in the smaller 38mm x 38mm, 13mm thick case. While it was a limited edition run, it’s not super difficult to find one of these on the secondary market (here are the current listings on Chrono24) ranging between around $3,500-$6,000 depending on condition, box, and papers.

The second iteration was the Gulf II Monaco replica ref. CW211A which was technically the same as its predecessor but with a new dial. Now black with orange and blue, it was an homage to McQueen’s Gulf Oil Porsche 911 in Le Mans. It also features the Gulf logo on the dial, with the ‘Monaco’ text moved to 12 o’clock. As with the CW2118 replica, this Gulf II Monaco came in a limited edition run of 4,000 units. These are harder to find than the white-dialed version, likely because the black dial just looks better. There are a few units available (current listings here) ranging between $3,500- $6,500.

TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf CAW2113 Calibre 12 replica (2009)

TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf CAW2113 Calibre 12 replica (2009)

Two years later saw the limited edition Monaco Gulf ref. CAW2113 replica with some aesthetic changes as well as a new case and new movement.

The new dial swapped out the black dial for a metallic grey with blue/orange stripes while quizzically also replacing the black date window. They replaced the matching black dial with a white date window rather than having it match the grey dial. The change from the calibre 17 to the calibre 12 wasn’t really that big of a deal. It did mark the use of a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module rather than an ETA chronograph module.

The new case size here grew by 1mm to 39mm x 39mm and 14mm thick with an exhibition caseback. Another limited edition run of 4,000 units.

The TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Edition Calibre 11 replica CAW211R

This CAW211R borrows the successful form factor of the Tag Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 CAW211P replica from 2015, the most authentic revival of the original 1133B (the very first Monaco; B for blue), and subverts its classical detailing with the graphic Gulf design. It’s a decision that transforms the watch’s appeal and embraces the excess of the Monaco’s earliest look. 

CAW211R

This watch has an appearance nearly identical to the original Tag Heuer Monaco replica, a watch defined by its slab-sided case profile, sharp angles, raised crystal, tiered pushers, horizontal hour markers, and date aperture at six o’clock. The biggest difference in function between the original Monaco and the CAW211R is the movement inside. There’s a sapphire crystal on the caseback that allows a view of the movement and the decoration that TAG Heuer has applied, namely côtes de Genève on the branded rotor and perlage visible underneath it. Overall, the case features a satin finish with polished bevels. 

The dial features the emblematic colors of the Gulf Oil livery, solid petroleum blue on the left side and light blue and orange stripes cascading down the entire right side of the dial. The distinctive Gulf color palette at use is vibrant and full of life, just like the high-speed cars that wore it. The dial includes a small Gulf Oil logo positioned above the date window at six o’clock. It also features the original Heuer shield logo compared to the modern TAG Heuer branding, a decision that reflects the unique heritage this watch is meant to honor. Finally, the red lacquered central chronograph seconds hand matches the red five-minute markers and the tips of the central hour and minute hand.

CAW211R

On the wrist, the Monaco wears unlike any other watch out there. Its 39mm by 39mm cushion shape and stubby lugs create an interesting dynamic on the wrist. With its tall sapphire crystal and three-part case construction, the watch has a unique and definite presence, one that is surprisingly easy to get used to when worn. The strap, which tapers substantially, helps quite a bit in this regard, thanks to its easy-to-adjust, Heuer-branded deployant buckle. The perforated design of the strap, made of blue calfskin leather, is another distinct aesthetic choice that works well with its contrast orange stitching. 

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