The TAG Heuer Monaco is an absolute fan favorite among racing enthusiasts and watch lovers alike. Since its inception in 1969, it has seen many iterations and versions, some basic, some fancy. Today, we see the introduction of two rather high-end versions of the Monaco. This is the Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph. Let’s have a look!

The new TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph comes in two colors — red and blue. The red model features a black DLC-coated case and red accents on the dial. The blue version has no case coating but comes with blue gradient-anodized bridges on the dial side. Both have a very serious price of €135,000.

TAG Heuer Monaco history

The Monaco dates back to 1969, which puts it right in the heyday of Heuer racing chronographs. The brand’s watches from the late ’60s and early ’70s are favorites among collectors. This was the first water-resistant square chronograph, and its distinctive shape made it easily recognizable from a distance.

Steve McQueen wearing a Monaco in the movie Le Mans

Being easily recognizable was certainly beneficial, especially when Steve McQueen wore it in the 1971 film Le Mans. Initially, the Monaco came in blue- and gray-dial versions. The blue has arguably become the iconic one. The model was discontinued in the mid-’70s.

It wasn’t until 1997 that TAG Heuer brought the Monaco back. A 2003 update saw the Monaco receive the new caliber 17. Since then, many more versions have followed, some more faithful to the originals and some more advanced and exotic. Today’s introduction certainly lands on the more exotic end of the spectrum.

TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph

TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph

So, what do we have here? The new Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph boasts a 41mm titanium case. Unlike the 1969 original, the crown has moved to the right, making way for the split-seconds (rattrapante) pusher at 9 o’clock. Sapphire crystals close off the case on both the top and bottom. The case back, interestingly, is fully sapphire rather than merely outfitted with a sapphire window. The dial, too, is made out of sapphire, showcasing the movement beneath. The movement, however, isn’t skeletonized, so the view is limited.

Speaking of the movement, this is the high-beat rattrapante caliber TH81-00. It is an automatic movement ticking away at 36,000vph for a nice and smooth sweep of the two center seconds hands. It shows running seconds at 6, a chronograph minute counter at 3, and an hour totalizer at 9 o’clock. The two chronograph-related sub-dials are labeled “Rattrapante” and “Chronograph.” This is a bit confusing as it seems to describe each sub-dial while it actually refers to the watch as a whole.

All sorts of fine details create quite a bit of visual interest. The gradient-anodized bridges on the blue version are a prime example. So are the checkerboard-patterned movement bridges and the open-worked rattrapante pusher with guards. It all looks intricate and rather fancy.

TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph

Initial impressions

As much as I want to like it, the Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph does not make much sense to me. It seems fancy for fancy’s sake. The dial, for instance, looks very complicated but doesn’t actually offer much of a view into the workings of the watch. It merely sacrificed a lot of legibility just to look intricate.

TAG Heuer Split-Seconds Chronograph

Little details, like the rattrapante hand being the same color as the running seconds hand, confuse me. Both are hardly legible against the gray backdrop and have nothing to do with each other functionally. This tells me the watch is an exercise in complicating matters rather than making a better racing chronograph.

I would have rather seen, for instance, a full-gold Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph with a traditional (legible) closed dial and the very useful rattrapante complication. That, too, would have existed merely for fanciness’s sake, but at least it wouldn’t be at the expense of being a great racing chronograph.

Pricing and availability

As mentioned, the new TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph is priced at €135,000. Both versions share the same price tag and will be available from June 2024. Both watches come on color-matching, hand-stitched fabric straps.

What do you think of the new TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph? Let us know in the comments below!

Watch specifications

Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph
CBW2182.FC8339 (blue) / CBW2181.FC8322 (red)
Sapphire with blue or red accents
Case Material
Titanium / Black DLC-coated titanium
Case Dimensions
41mm (diameter) × 47.9mm (lug-to-lug) × 15.2mm (thickness)
Case Back
Full sapphire
TAG Heuer 81-00: automatic split-seconds chronograph, 36,000vph (5Hz) frequency, 65-hour power reserve with chrono off (55 hours with chrono on), column wheel
Water Resistance
Hand-stitched fabric (blue or red) with titanium folding clasp
Time (hours, minutes, small seconds), split-seconds chronograph (12-hour and 30-minute registers, central seconds hands with rattrapante function)