It is Jack Heuer, honorary chairman of TAG Heuer, and creator of the original Monza in 1976, who went on stage to receive the prize upon the request of Jean-Claude Biver, TAG Heuer CEO and President of the Watch Division of the LVMH Group.
Forty years ago, in 1976, Jack Heuer, the great grandson of TAG Heuer’s founder, created a chronograph to celebrate Niki Lauda’s 1975 Formula One championship win for Ferrari. The Swiss watch company was then Official Timekeeper for Scuderia (from 1971 to 1979), and it was the first time that the Monza name first appeared on the dial of a Heuer watch.
At that time, the watch was markedly different, yet very stylish. Its cushion-shaped case was inspired by a 1925 model, and its all-black chronograph was enhanced by a pulsometer (which measures heart rates) as well as a tachymeter scale (which converts time into speed). The colour scheme was highlighted by red hands and counters to reflect its racing heritage.
Beautiful watches never go out of fashion. At Baselworld 2016 this week, TAG Heuer has returned to this model’s roots with a reinvention of the Monza featuring the watch’s two key functions – the pulsometer and the tachymeter scale (not included on previous reissues) – and with the original font.
The famous original coussin case is the centrepiece, and so is the all black look with black and white lacquered hour and minute hands as on the original. The same applies to the indices in vintage orange SuperLuminova™.
A link from past to present, the case is now made from grade 5 titanium (previously steel), making it lighter and more shock resistant. The material is coated with titanium carbide to give it a powerful, matt black appearance.
The diameter has also been increased (from 39 mm on the original models to 42 mm, for a modern, masculine look). It is equipped with a “super racing” strap in full-grain black calfskin with top-stitching, which evokes the design of the three-spoke steering wheel on the racing cars of the time.
Inside, the 17 automatic calibre, a chronograph with its two chronograph counters at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock – perfectly spaced for a beautifully harmonious dial. The screw-on back is numbered and features the historic Heuer logo engraved with red lacquer finish.
The original Heuer Monza is highly sought after by collectors, and has been reissued only a handful of times. So close to the spirit of the original, this model, which celebrates its 40-year anniversary, will undoubtedly represent a milestone in the history of the manufacture’s heritage.