TAG Heuer 40th Anniversary Monza: The reinvention of a classic

Its name celebrates Niki Lauda's 1975 F1 championship win, but this watch's pedigree stretches back much further

The Monza celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and while it may not be as famous as the Carrera or Monaco among TAG Heuer aficionados, it's still a watch with a rich and very long history.

What's in a name?

The Monza name first appeared on a Heuer watch in 1976 to commemorate Niki Lauda's 1975 Formula One championship win for Ferrari, a feat that also helped the marque clinch the constructor's championship.

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Heuer had been the official timekeeper for Ferrari since 1971 so it was as much a celebration for the watchmaker as it was for the team.

Based on the Carrera platform, the watch featured a new chronograph finished in PVD black and a clear nod to Ferrari in the red accents on the chrono dials and sweep hand. Available for around five years, it was later offered in many different colours and variations - but the original black and red model is the one fans and collectors remember most fondly.

Time for a change

TAG Heuer reissued the Monza in 2000, but it looked nothing like the 1976 original, leaving many to question its heritage as a Heuer-branded timepiece.

However, its inspiration came from long before 1976.

The distinctive "coussin case", which bore no resemblance to the 1976 model, harked back to the Heuer Chronograph of 1933, which critics argued offered even stronger heritage than the Carrera or Monaco.

The line was phased out in 2005, only to be revived to great acclaim six years later with a recreation of the original 1933 Heuer Chronograph, only with the El Primero Calibre 36 movement powering it.

The 2011 Monza was limited to only 1,911 units worldwide, which, combined with the Calibre 36 movement and vintage design, made it sought after among collectors.

Now the Monza name has appeared once more, this time on a model that encapsulates aspects of the style of both the 1933 and 1976.

The best of both worlds

The 40th Anniversary Monza made "quite a strong impression during Baselworld 2016", says Monochrome Watches. While it might not possess the delicacy of the 2011 piece, it has a "masculine" look that blends both modern and vintage styles with aplomb, says Watch Time.

The watch is clearly a celebration of the 1976 Monza – the all-black case and dial, red accents and perforated calfskin strap are direct homages to its predecessor. But the coussin case harks back to the 1933 Heuer Chronograph, as well as both the 2000 and 2011 versions.

TAG Heuer has also resurrected the additional scales that adorned the 1976 Monza and while it's unlikely most people will ever use them, they do add to the motorsport feel of the watch.

In addition, the watch sports a tachymeter to measure an object's speed over a set distance, a feature quite common on motorsport watches such as the Carrera or Rolex Daytona. However, the inclusion of a pulsometer to measure the wearer's heart rate is far more unusual.

The result is "a look that is easily recognisable as a Monza while still offering a nicely updated look and feel", says A Blog to Watch.

It adds: "While the details betray the nicely aged design notes borrowed from the original, the effect is still one that elicits a gut reaction - I immediately liked the new TAG Heuer Monza."

The Monza has a retail price of $5,250 (£3,990)

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