At Baselworld 2015, TAG Heuer quietly launched what we are looking at today, the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Reference CAW211P replica, and other than few truly very minor differences, it allows Heuer Monaco fans to get a taste of owning the original – at around half the price of what that 1,000-piece limited edition cost before selling out like hot cakes in 2009.
Crown on the left, as on the original: tick. Red-filled hour and minute hands, horizontal indices, and red five-minute markers on the dial: all there. "Calibre 11" in the name: tick. Calibre 11 inside? Nope – that, for obvious reasons, couldn't happen. What clearly is the biggest difference between the original and the 2015 model is the movement inside: on what is more than likely an ETA-replacement Sellita automatic base, a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module is responsible for the stopwatch function as well as the dual sub-dial layout of the dial on the 2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11.
Having been the first automatic chronograph movement ever, TAG Heuer's Calibre 11 movement from 1969 is among the few truly noteworthy and important movements that every watch enthusiast should know at least a little bit about... and that is why it is rather confusing why TAG Heuer decided to name a modern movement Calibre 11 – although it is considerably different to the original in more than a few ways – and also to title a modern timepiece "Calibre 11." Frankly, while tributes and re-editions do great work at keeping traditions and icons well and alive decades after their inception, there is a fine line between paying tribute and causing confusion.
The movement is rather exquisitely decorated – as always at this price point and with comparable calibers, the decoration is nice but, of course, you will find no hand-bevelled edges or other haute horlogerie witchcraft. TAG Heuer decided to go with a sapphire crystal case back – a most welcome change from previous editions' solid steel case back. The movement is without a shadow of a doubt nice enough to justify such a deflection from the original – I presume even purists will have to agree.
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