Introducing: The TAG Heuer Monaco Night Driver Limited Edition
The TAG Heuer Monaco Night Driver is the latest limited-edition version of the brand’s iconic driver’s chronograph. It brings a decidedly new look and hits upon the luminous-dial trend that collectors currently seem to be enjoying. Let’s take a closer look and see if this new release is a roadworthy wrist companion.
I took a gander at our TAG Heuer article archives, and the brand has been on a relatively steady streak with its limited-edition Monaco releases. Whether it’s the left-hand-crown Calibre 11 pieces or the in-house Calibre 02, there has been a flurry of models with all sorts of dial colors and case materials. The TAG Heuer Monaco Night Driver is the newest in the line and, thankfully, my initial impressions are positive.
The TAG Heuer Monaco Night Driver
The new Monaco is meant to celebrate the spirit of night driving and the importance of legible instruments during such an activity. Of course, this is a bit of a romantic take, but this is the world of watches. However, as we will see, TAG Heuer has gone to great lengths to bring no-light legibility to the Monaco. As far as the name, “Night Driver” is fairly direct. I’ll admit that when I first saw it and read the PR materials, I thought of the movies Baby Driver and Driver. As an aside, the latter feels like a missed opportunity to use TAG ambassador Ryan Gosling in the advertising materials. Low-level lighting and the hallmark white satin jacket would have fit perfectly with this watch. Oh well…
A different kind of dial
TAG Heuer tells us that the Monaco Night Driver marks the first time that the model has employed a fully luminous dial. “Fully” might be a bit strong, but there’s plenty of Super-LumiNova for when things get dark. The center of the two-piece dial is anthracite gray with an opaline finish, while the external portion and the sub-dials are in light gray. When the lights go out, these light gray areas, the hands, and index dots glow light blue for roughly three hours. There’s a surprising amount of detail on display in the dark, and yes, it seems that legibility is excellent.
Paired with an appropriate case
The Monaco Night Driver sports a Grade 5 titanium case with a black DLC coating. I’m normally somewhat ambivalent about dark cases because I find them less versatile (I own several and rarely wear them), but this is the perfect choice for the dial design. The case is also quite wearable and uses the standard 39mm diameter and a length of 47.4mm. It is water resistant to 100 meters and has a display case back. This model uses a sapphire crystal that contributes to an overall thickness of 14.7mm.
Inside, the Monaco uses the brand’s in-house Calibre Heuer 02 automatic chronograph movement. It has 80 hours of power reserve, a quick-set date, running seconds at six, a 30-minute counter at three, and a 12-hour counter at nine o’clock. As much as I enjoy the overall look of this watch, I always have to moan about the “there/not there” running seconds counter at six. Once again, it feels like an afterthought, but I suppose it leans more toward the “not there” front than other models.
Impressions and pricing — TAG Heuer Monaco Night Driver
The Monaco Night Driver is one of the cooler recent releases from the brand and even better than the Skipper in my view (I hear pitchforks rattling!). I really dig the muted color combination on the dial, and the fact that it “lumes up” so well is a neat trick. I also think that the choice of a black rally strap with a matching deployant buckle was the perfect combination. As far as niggles, there’s the lower half of the dial with the seconds and date window, but it’s passable on this piece. Come to think of it, I would have preferred the Calibre 11 with this dial combination as well, but in general, this is a really cool piece.
The Monaco Night Driver will be made as an edition of 600 individually numbered pieces. Pricing is set at CHF 9,300 when it hits stores, boutiques, and the TAG Heuer site in October. For reference, that price is CHF 2,000 more than a normal Calibre 02 Monaco in stainless on a strap. So, it isn’t inexpensive, but I am sure it will find success among TAG Heuer fans. As I said, I like this release and find it different enough that it stands out from the recent limited-edition Monaco models. What are your thoughts on the Night Driver? Let us know in the comments.