The Monza has played a special role in the TAG Heuer catalog for over 40 years. As an affordable alternative to the Carrera, it's especially popular among chronograph fans. Black models with a red chronograph seconds hand are especially popular.
Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda won his first World Championship in 1975. The Swiss watch manufacturer Heuer – later renamed TAG Heuer – introduced the Monza in celebration of the victory. Its black, PVD-coated case helped this model stand out from its bigger sister, the Carrera. It quickly found many fans in the watch community and is now a coveted collector's item.
The early 2000s saw the Monza make its comeback, this time with a new case and calibers. One of the movements used in this so-called "Re-Edition" is the Calibre 36, which is based on the famous Zenith El Primero. TAG Heuer also released the first three-hand Monza with a gold case at this time.
The Monza has belonged to the Heritage collection since 2015. The most recent model combines a black-coated titanium case in the shape of the Re-Edition with the black dial design of the original Monza, including the red chronograph seconds hand and dual tachymeter-pulsometer scale around the dial's edge. The proven Calibre 17, based on the ETA 2894-2, powers this timepiece.
|Monza 36||7,500 USD||Calibre 36 (El Primero)|
|Monza Calibre 15||5,300 USD||Calibre 15 (in-house)|
|Monza Calibre 12||3,800 USD||Calibre 12 (in-house)|
|Monza Heritage||3,400 USD||Calibre 17 (ETA 2894-2)|
|Monza Calibre 6||1,600 USD||Calibre 6 (ETA 2895-1)|
The Monza of the 1970s and 80s represented an affordable alternative to the Carrera. Early Monzas have the same oval case shape as the Carrera, but in brass instead of stainless steel. Depending on the model, the case also had a black PVD or chrome coating.
Early models got their power from the in-house Calibre 15. This movement is a pared down version of the Calibre 11 and Calibre 12 developed by Heuer, Breitling, Büren, and Dubois Dépraz. It has a small seconds dial at 10, a date at 6, and a minute counter at 3 o'clock. Like the other movements in this family of calibers, its crown is located on the left-hand side.
Heuer soon went on to release a version of the Monza with the Calibre 12. You can identify this model by its lack of small seconds dial. Instead, the Calibre 12 has an hour counter for the chronograph at 9 o'clock.
Vintage Monzas are extremely popular among collectors, especially the black model with the Calibre 15. This timepiece sells for up to 5,300 USD. At around 3,700 USD, the other editions are much more affordable.
After a near-20-year absence, TAG Heuer brought the Monza out of retirement with a series of "Re-Edition" models in 2005. These watches bear little resemblance to their predecessors. For example, the designers decided on a cushion-shaped case inspired by a Heuer mono-pusher chronograph from the 1930s.
The dial was also entirely reimagined. Applied rhodium-plated indices and a large "12" dominate this new landscape. What's more, the hands are now sword-shaped, and the tachymeter scale has transformed into a detailed minute scale. Not even the subdials remained untouched: While the subdial at 6 retains its classic round shape, those at 3 and 9 o'clock mirror the case's cushion shape.
TAG Heuer offered two versions of this chronograph: one with the Calibre 17, based on the ETA 2894-2, and another with the Calibre 36 (Zenith El Primero). It's easy to tell the two models apart since watches with the Calibre 17 have a date display at 4:30. Those with the Calibre 36 have their date at 6. Another variant with the Calibre 36 debuted in 2011. Its dial and hands resemble those found in timepieces from the 1930s.
You can purchase a stainless steel model with the Calibre 17 or 36 for between 3,300 and 4,100 USD. There are also watches in 18-karat rose gold available. Be prepared to spend around 5,400 USD on a well-maintained model with the Calibre 17 and 8,200 USD on one with the Calibre 36.
The Re-Edition series saw the premiere of the Monza as a three-hand watch. Its design is very similar to that of the chronograph, but it looks much tidier. A small seconds dial at 6 o'clock adds a particularly refined touch. TAG Heuer outfits these timepieces with the Calibre 6, a modified version of the ETA 2895-1.
Pre-owned, the stainless steel edition costs about 1,600 USD. On the other hand, the version with a gold case and textured dial is quite rare and easily demands upwards of 6,700 USD in good condition.
TAG Heuer announced the Heritage Monza Calibre 17 in 2016, much to the delight of many fans. This watch brings together everything that's made the Monza so popular over the last 40+ years.
Perhaps the most exciting design choice was the return of the dial used in early models from the 1970s and 80s. This means luminous white hands and indices (including a combined tachymeter-pulsometer scale around the dial's edge) on a matte black background, a bright red chronograph seconds hand, and small red accents on the subdials and the dial's outer ring. For the case shape, TAG Heuer's designers turned to the Re-Edition models from the early 2000s. However, unlike those models, the Heritage model is made of titanium with a black PVD coating, a detail taken from the original model from the 1970s.
The Calibre 17, based on the ETA 2894-2, powers this timepiece. It features a small seconds at 3, a date display at 6, and a minute counter at 9 o'clock. The crown and push-pieces sit on the right-hand side of the 42-mm titanium case.
Be sure to have about 4,000 USD on hand for a mint-condition timepiece. Well-maintained examples are only slightly less expensive at roughly 3,400 USD.