TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Steve McQueen is an updated version of the watch McQueen wore in the movie “Le Mans”. The dial’s legibility is also a drawback. The easiest display to read is the minutes counter at 9 o’clock (its hand runs continually rather than jumping forward once a minute). The main dial achieves its very successful retro and auto-racing look by eliminating numerals to mark the hours and minutes, but this makes the watch harder to read. Furthermore, the contrast between the luminous areas on the center-mounted hands and the mostly pale dial is very weak. The luminous material is applied sparingly and glows only dimly in the dark. And the running seconds subdial is confusing because it has so many markers. Poor legibility won’t dissuade fans of mechanical timekeeping who have taken a shine to this smartly styled watch.
The case has many chamfers and edges. The borders between polished and satin-finished surfaces are very precise. The chrono pushers are highly detailed and distinctively shaped. They are set in bushings that protect them from impacts and give them greater hold, thus minimizing wiggling. The caseback has a round sapphire window and is held in place by screws. The stop-start chronograph button is too easy to push in. A smoothly running button is generally a desirable feature, but the one on our test watch yielded to pressure so readily that contact with the tightly fitting sleeve of the wearer’s jacket was enough to stop the chronograph prematurely. These shortcomings are balanced out by several virtues. The crown is large and easy to grasp; the chronograph pushers are also big enough to operate easily; and the movement has both a stop-seconds function and, for the date display, a rapid-reset mechanism. The clasp, made of stainless steel, is sturdy, well-crafted and user-friendly. You open it by pushing two large buttons. It snaps firmly shut afterwards.
The movement is a Sellita SW 300 base, with Glucydur balance, paired with a chronograph module made specifically for TAG by Dubois Dépraz. (Most other Monaco chronographs contain the ETA 2894.)
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