While TAG Heuer has not shied away from taking its – well-deserved – spot in the new found vintage watch craze, it has, thankfully, not neglected the fact that not everyone gets excited by or wants to obtain items people half a century ago used to like. The latest and boldest TAG Heuer, apparently thought up in deep denial of the vintage watch trend, is the TAG Heuer Monaco Chronograph Forged Carbon Bamford Edition… or whatever it is called, as TAG Heuer doesn’t identify the exact name of the product anywhere in their press release or on their website. Here’s a hands-on look at this, ehm, striking looking watch.
It’s either my sub-par memory again or it’s actually true, but I can’t recall a genuinely modern Monaco since the V4 – and that was far from affordable for most of us. While with its full square design and chronograph functionality the Monaco will always look more contemporary than many other watches, for long it has been absorbed in its vintage heritage – Gulf limited editions and ones mimicking the original’s look have been stealing the show lately. However, the V4 and some of the Caliber 36 models (anyone remember?) were genuinely hot-looking, modern things and – though I may well be in the minority here in WIS circles – I quite like this latest, forged carbon edition because at last it is something that makes for a modern take on this classic.
The square, albeit pre-Instagram-generation Monaco case, I think, looks fantastic in forged carbon. Its defined shape and sharp corners make for large, continuous surfaces where the random texture of its material can really be admired. Something to bear in mind, and I have tried to make the live images reflect this as much as possible, is that the material has a glossy, but not overly-shiny look to it in which the darker and brighter areas interchange in a more dull, less defined way when compared to regular carbon fiber. The transitions are smooth as forged carbon has a semi-glossy,cheap replica TAG Heuer watch review, semi-matte, murky look. You either like it or you don’t, but what can’t be argued against is the anti-allergenic material’s lightness and ability to disguise wear – it should look as new for long.
The 39mm wide case wears much larger than that figure would suggest and in that, this Bamford edition is like any other Monaco. The arrangement of the left-hand crown and right-hand pushers is in line with the traditional Monaco, while their black PVD steel choice of material is not. The forged carbon case acts like the forged carbon we have seen elsewhere – it reminded me of this, mind you, considerably less expensive Tempest Forged Carbon – although I am sure it isn’t easy to carve the sharp corners and stubby lugs from this ultra-hard material.
All things considered, this new Monaco Chronograph in forged carbon is a most welcome addition to the Monaco family that was, in all fairness, getting a bit self-absorbed with all the vintage stuff. The Monaco is a brilliant piece of design and nothing testifies to that fact more than how you can take it and dress it up in the materials and boldness of a very different age with such ease and success. Kudos to both TAG Heuer and Bamford for not being scared away from doing this even if everyone knows that many “purists” will dedicate a scary amount of time to hating it.