The 2022 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix may have been a wash-out, but that hasn’t stopped one racing icon from emerging sparkling clean. Pioneering watchmaker TAG Heuer has dipped into the archive books to unveil a fateful recreation of the 1974 Monaco ‘Dark Lord’. Bathed in all-black and arriving with a matte PVD case in the classic square design, the 2022 Dark Lord looks every bit as ominous as the name would suggest, and it could be a sign of things to come. With the contract between Formula 1 and the Automobile Club d’Monaco officially coming to end, the timepiece may very well be a fitting farewell to racing’s most picturesque setting.
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For years, TAG Heuer’s square-shaped chronograph has been synonymous with motor racing, courtesy of a scene-stealing cameo in the 1971 Steve McQueen film Le Mans. In the years that have passed, the Monaco has seen many variations, however, it was the 1974 edition that gave birth to a slightly edgier side. The original ‘Dark Lord’ featured a stunning all-black design and a PVD case that complemented the unique winding and setting crown at the 9 o’clock position. This time around, TAG Heuer has revisited that very timepiece, throwing a few modern adaptations into the mix.
The new TAG Heuer Monaco Special Edition arrives with a 39mm diameter and the same classic square configuration, however, the dial has copped a dual brushed and grain texture addition. Furthermore, the hands and markers are rose gold-plated, working to subtly contrast against the more imposing red accents. But don’t expect much more colour anywhere else. The all-black case is derived from grade 2 titanium and DLC-coated, a first for a Monaco chronograph, to give it a truly midnight finish. According to TAG Heuer, the DLC coating extends beyond the sandblasted case, now featuring on the crown, pushers and caseback.
Inside, TAG Heuer has unsurprisingly equipped the Monaco with the Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic, its mainstay for automatic timepieces and a stellar performer on all fronts. As TAG Heuer explains, the movement utilises a traditional column wheel to actuate the chronograph, helping to provide an 80-hour power reserve. Flip the new Dark Lord over and you can even catch a glimpse of the rose gold-plated movement in action, courtesy of the sapphire display caseback which only adds to the sleek design.
For TAG Heuer fans, the recreation doesn’t exactly come out of the blue. Just last year, the Swiss luxury brand unveiled a one-off variation of the 1970s classic for the charity watch auction Only Watch, raising a whopping CHF290,00 in the process. Naturally, the edition got forums talking and it wasn’t long before avid collectors began hedging their bets that a new Dark Lord was on its way. Just a few months later, it seems they were right.
The latest 39mm Monaco Dark Lord Special Edition comes on a black alligator leather strap and will be available this month in TAG Heuer boutiques only. Best of all, you actually will be able to get your hands on the timepiece. Unlike the one-off Only Watch recreation, this new timepiece is not limited and will retail for AUD$11,850. Suffice to say, the force is very strong with this one.
TAG Heuer Monaco Special Edition Specs
Brand: TAG Heuer
Model: Monaco Special Edition
Movement: Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic
Functions: Hour, minute, seconds chronograph
Dial: Two-tone dial
Case: Black DLC titanium grade 2 sandblasted
Bracelet: Black alligator strap