The second in our Weekly Watch series dedicated to Only Watch timepieces, is the stunning Tag Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco. Nothing excites me more then when luxury benefits mankind. To be held in Geneva this November, under the patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, the 9th edition of the charity timepiece auction will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. It supports research toward finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
For the Only Watch 2021 auction, Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer channels the spirit of the extremely rare Monaco ‘Dark Lord’ with a unique, high-end, carbon-cased version of its incomparable square-cased chronograph. The Tag Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco is a one-off, never to be recreated. Tag Heuer is a company I can truly connect with, having worked extensively with the team over the years and certainly a favorite. Discover the brilliance of watchmaking with this stunner of a timepiece. – Priyanka Sippy
Only Watch was founded by Luc Pettavino and first held in 2005. It continues to unite the world’s best watch companies, which donate remarkable one-off watches to the auction. So far, Only Watch has raised more than 70 million euros in support of research projects into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, with 99 per cent of proceeds going directly towards funding those projects.
For the Only Watch 2021 auction, Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer channels the spirit of the ultra-rare Monaco Dark Lord with a high-end, carbon-cased version of its incomparable square-cased chronograph. The unique watch will be auctioned at Only Watch 2021, the biennial charity watch auction, which is scheduled to take place this year in Geneva on 6 November.
The carbon-cased piece is a true watchmaking masterpiece, playing on more than half a century of Tag Heuer heritage, while also embracing the best of the company’s 21st century style, expertise and innovation. The result is a very distinct watch that is a result of Tag Heuer’s insatiable appetite for avant-garde Swiss watchmaking. In the words of Frédéric Arnault, TAG Heuer Chief Executive Officer. “It is our great pleasure to put forward for auction the TAG Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco, one of the most spectacular, imaginative wristwatches we have ever created.”
The Case for TAG Heuer enthusiasts, the Only Watch Carbon Monaco will have distinct resonances of the mythical black-PVD-cased Monaco Reference 74033N known by collectors as the ‘Dark Lord’. It was produced in limited quantities in the mid-1970s and never appeared in a Tag Heuer catalogue or any of the company’s advertising, making it extremely rare and highly prized. The Tag Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco’s case tells the story of this special watch using state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques. It’s forged in black carbon fibre, giving it a brilliantly mysterious look. This is a unique case that has been designed explicitly to carry the largest sapphire crystal caseback ever applied to a Monaco. The watch’s future owner will have an unimpeded view into its bespoke movement, while the watch remains water-resistant.
The Dial: The striking skeletonized dial that gives the watch so much of its character is also made of carbon. It was created in collaboration with Tag Heuer’s long-time partner, the highly regarded dial specialists ArteCad, and is worked from a single piece of carbon fibre. The dial’s architectural appearance was created by milling and drilling the basic form to reveal arresting structural shapes that stretch across the face of the watch like the struts on a racing car, a design that makes subtle reference to Tag Heuer’s integral role in the progression of modern motor sport over more than six decades. Each of the dial’s intricate skeletonized facets has been finished by hand using the fine-watchmaking technique of anlage, which gives the dial its depth and multidimensional look. Underneath these, a date wheel peeks through, as does the top side of the movement. Typically, the top side of a calibre is left raw as it’s unseen, hidden by a solid dial. But in this case, Tag Heuer elected to hand-finish it to ensure every element was as extraordinary as it could be, even when partially obscured, a decision that’s symbolic of the relentless attention to detail applied to the watch. Sitting on top of the carbon dial are three black galvanized brass plates that form the watch’s chronograph and small-seconds sub dials. Orange detailing sampled from Only Watch’s 2021 sun kissed color palette makes the hands stand out against the black dial, while the hour markers are individually machined blocks of highly luminescent beige Super-LumiNova®.
The Movement: The Tag Heuer Only Watch Carbon Monaco is powered by Tag Heuer’s in-house Heuer 02 automatic chronograph, a Swiss-made movement with an 80-hour power reserve. The movement also features a unique oscillating weight in the form of the Tag Heuer shield, which is not only hand finished throughout, but is also decorated with a fine line in the gradient orange to yellow color of Only Watch 2021. Astonishingly, the seamless transition from orange to yellow was achieved by hand, painted by the master dial artist and micro-painter André Martinez. To match the spirit of Only Watch, Tag Heuer decided to give the movement an exceptional level of finishing and to work with Artime SA, one of the watch industry’s leaders in decorative techniques.
The Strap: To finish off this spellbinding watch, Tag Heuer has created an innovative strap that looks like a metal bracelet, but which is in fact made of leather. The link effect is produced using a highly skilled process that took months to perfect. First, silicon is injected into the sole of the leather. This is then heat-stamped with a mold in the shape of a metal link bracelet, creating the three- dimensional effect. A first for Tag Heuer, who have never used this technique on a watch strap before.
To be worn with pride.