The TAG Heuer Monza Flyback Chronometer is one of those rare treats that turn up only occasionally in the brand’s lineup of chronographs. In recent years, it has appeared mainly in limited editions, and there hasn’t been a refresh of the model since 2016. The Monza was first introduced in 1976 to commemorate TAG Heuer’s sponsorship of the Ferrari F1 racing team—and its 1975 win—and it was named for the legendary racing track in Monza, Italy, near Milan.
The salient tradition of the Monza is its dark case. It was the first TAG Heuer to be draped in black, and the dial typically matched the case, with black-on-black subdials, outlined in Ferrari red. It was a style that set the tone for the Monza as an avant-garde outlier in the brand’s catalog. Other chronographs, like the Autavia line, were more traditional, with contrasting subdials in the panda style. The tone-on-tone black styling was meant to mimic the style of racecar dashboard instrumentation.
The 2023 refresh maintains the codes of previous models but the 42 mm case and fixed bezel are made of forged carbon rather than the black PVD- or DLC-coated cases of yore. It’s more like a dark gray, with a marble-like matrix running through the carbon. The dial also takes a slightly different turn, leaving the red/black palette, synonymous with Ferrari, in the dust. These days, TAG Heuer partners with Red Bull Racing, and as a result, the red accents are replaced by Red Bull’s blue and red colors. Translucent fumé blue sapphire crystals cover the chronograph minutes counter at 3 o’clock and the running seconds at 6 o’clock. Red is applied to hands on the small counters and in the frame surrounding the date window. An abundance of Super-LumiNova adds a final modern touch, lighting up the lacquered hands and indexes, as well as, for the first time, the background on the date window.
There are echoes of previous Monza editions: black DLC crown and pushers, white baton hands, the simple rectangular shape of the indexes and the combination tachymeter/pulsometer scale on the rehaut. The movement, a version of TAG Heuer’s flagship flyback chronograph caliber Heuer 02, is new. It’s the COSC-certified (Chronometer) Flyback Heuer 02, a premium caliber with an 80-hour power reserve and water resistant to 100 meters, which is also used in the Autavia line. It is water resistant to 100 meters.
The new Monza is proof that CEO Frédéric Arnault is keen on raising TAG Heuer’s profile with increasingly technical (and pricey) models to expand the company’s offering from accessible price point timepieces to mid-tier all the way up to top tier, as evidenced by last year’s introduction of the limited six-figure Carrera Plasma introduction. We expect this is just a taste of what’s to come by April when the company will unveil more 2023 novelties at Watches & Wonders in Geneva.