What We Know
Almost two years ago, we ran a story ranking our favorite watch nicknames. Slotting in at number 10 was the TAG Heuer Monaco, but not just any ordinary Monaco. This was an all-back-everything example, complete with black strap, PVD-coated black case, and a monochromatic dial design contrasting the most ’70s-esque orange flourishes. Our own Cole Pennington chose this Monaco for our nickname round-up because it’s become known, in horological circles, as the “Dark Lord,” and I am sure you can see why. My favorite part of the write-up is Cole ascribing the watch to Darth Vader, Sauron, Voldemort, and Luke Skywalker in a manner of four sentences. Impressive. Most impressive.
Well, today, on the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix, TAG Heuer is bringing the Dark Lord back to life. The general aesthetic is revised with this new watch, touted as a Monaco Special Edition for the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix. I think I’ll stick with Dark Lord Revival if it’s all the same.
The new piece clocks in at 39mm in diameter in the classic square configuration. It features some modern finishing techniques by way of both the brushed and grain textures on the dial. The hands and markers are rose gold-plated and the remaining colorful accents are done in a rather punchy red.
In terms of the black case, it is made from grade 2 titanium and is DLC-coated to create the black color. Inside beats the Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic. The watch is water resistant to 100m, features a sapphire display caseback and will be made available this month in conjunction with the race.
What We Think
It’s not necessarily a surprise to see TAG release a new Monaco – in fact, we see a good amount of Monaco or Carrera special or re-editions every year. But this watch has serious historical and horological chops. The Dark Lord is a cult classic model, produced in limited quantities and extremely collectible. It also represents a groovy time in the history of Heuer, when it leaned heavily into the PVD game with watches like this and the Monza.
What I like about this new release is that it feels simultaneously respectful of the original Dark Lord while simultaneously bringing the design into present day with the rose-gold accents and combination of finishing. This is also more a homage than it is a reproduction. Gone is the orange in favor of a bolder, far more modern red accent color.
In lieu of PVD, which is extremely susceptible to scratching (like literally scratching the finish right off the watch), TAG opted for DLC (diamond-like carbon) for the finish atop the titanium. The result is a watch fit for Grand Prix 2022, but one that also serves as an appropriate time capsule for the OG Dark Lord.
An all-black watch, which this most certainly is, is quite visually heavy. I find it very cool that TAG saw fit to craft the watch from titanium, creating a bit of a trick on the old noggin. It may look heavy – but instead it’s deceptively light.
Because I’m a Star Wars super fan (not embarrassed to admit that), I want to return to Cole’s assessment of the Dark Lord and who to best associate it with from cinematic lore. He laid out a pretty good list of characters, but ultimately I have to say that when I hear Dark Lord, I think Darth Vader. Even looking at this watch, if you squint a little bit, you can sort of make out the Vader silhouette. It takes a pretty creative squint, I’ll admit.
So, if we’re sticking with the galaxy far, far, away approach then I think it’s fair to dub this release “The Monaco Strikes Back.” I’m looking forward to seeing this piece in the metal and will be sure to report back on my observations. Until then, may the Force be with you.
Brand: TAG Heuer
Reference Number: CBL2180.FC6497
Case Material: DLC-coated grade 2 titanium
Dial Color: Black
Indexes: Rose gold-plated
Water Resistance: 100
Strap/Bracelet: Leather strap
Caliber: Heuer 02 Automatic
Functions: Hour, minute, seconds chronograph
Power Reserve: 80
Pricing & Availability
Limited Edition: No, special edition
Shop this story
The HODINKEE Shop is an authorized retailer of TAG Heuer. To view our collection of Monacos, click here. For more information about TAG Heuer, visit their website.
TAG Heuer is part of the LVMH group. Although LVMH Luxury Ventures is a minority investor in HODINKEE, we maintain complete editorial independence.