Like the small watch trend, I think it’s time you embraced the square watch. It’s the perfect choice for those who seek a retro-meets-vintage aesthetic, but also those who want to think outside the world of chronographs and panda dials. They’re cool again… wait, were they ever cool?
I’m talking about square watches with history – the TAG Heuer Monaco that was famously worn by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film Le Mans stands out – but also the new kids on the block like the bio-ceramic piece Swatch is calling the “What If…”. Of course, I’d seldom miss the Cartier Santos and Panthere once famously worn by Timothée Chalamet, amongst others.
To prove my point, I spent a week with the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 (ref. CAW211P.FC6356) to first figure out why the world never cottoned on to the square form factor, and second, why I suddenly have the urge to own something with such a specific vintage look.
Let’s look at the square watch trend through the lens of the piece that’s on my wrist.
The TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 (ref. CAW211P.FC6356) is an exact recreation of the piece worn by the icon and “King of Cool” Steve McQueen in the all-time-great racing movie ‘Le Mans’. It’s the original model, one of the most iconic watches in history, but more importantly, it was cool then, and it’s cool now.
The first thing that jumps out is the position of the crown. You’ll find it on the left of the watch, where it was originally used as a marketing device to show the world that manual winding was no longer necessary.
Today, it’s one of two Monaco watches on sale with the crown on the left, the second of which is the 1000-piece limited-edition Racing Blue Monaco (ref. CAW218C.FC6548) worn by Orlando Bloom in the Gran Turismo movie.
The second is the size and weight. You won’t be surprised to hear that this isn’t a light watch, but I believe that brings some of the vintage charm with it. The size is comfortable for most wrists, with a special mention going to the case back (with an exhibition window) and the rounded edges that help with wrist comfort.
I have an average-sized wrist and I never found the crown dug into my arm or the pushers into my hand. It’s a comfortable piece, even with a little weight.
The exact measurements are 39mm for the case and 14.3mm for thickness with a 22mm lug distance.
Finally, it’s the vintage aesthetic that seals the deal. The colour combination has always been the standout feature of the Steve McQueen watch (outside of the shape itself) with horizontal steel indexes, silver sub-dials for chronograph minutes and chronograph hours, a date at 6 o’clock, and a racing red chronograph hand to remind you of this watches functions.
My favourite touch is the original ‘Heuer’ logo without the ‘TAG’ moniker attached to it on the dial. True to the original, and superbly clean.
The look also extends to the finer details in its design. From the raised Opalin crystal to the vertical case curves that contrast with it, the look is timeless. All supported by a black calfskin leather strap with a special texture inspired by racetrack asphalt.
The truth is you don’t have to spend AU$11,250 to get on board the square watch trend, but if you’re looking for a watch that’s never fallen for the trends and defined this shape throughout the years, the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 is your answer.
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