The Dynamism of the TAG Heuer Monaco Split Seconds Chronograph

Where most watchmakers begin with time-only watches, TAG Heuer is all about the chronograph, which is what makes the new Monaco Split Seconds Chronograph notable. It is technically the first-ever split seconds or rattrapante chronograph wristwatch from the brand – well, the first mechanical kind anyway. Some of you might feel the Only Watch edition for 2023 deserves credit as the first such watch for TAG Heuer but this is a series production model and Only Watch was delayed until May this year.

So why did it take TAG Heuer such a long time to make a split seconds chronograph? It made all sorts of legendary and singularly distinctive chronographs, after all, and even lent its expertise to LVMH sister brand Zenith. Well, as noted elsewhere, the automatic calibre TH81-00 here is a Vaucher movement, as it was in the previously-announced Only Watch model. Vaucher, part of the same outfit that owns and makes Parmigiani Fleurier watches, is famed for all manner of collaborations and TAG Heuer itself has been flexing its partnership muscles lately (see Kenisi last year).

The development of the new calibre was certainly undertaken under the wise eyes of TAG Heuer movement director Carole Forestier-Kasapi, who had this to say about the new Monaco Split Seconds Chronogaph: “Every component of the watch reflects our passion for horological artistry.” On that note, the new TH81-00 calibre is crafted in titanium, in large part; this probably means plates and bridges but perhaps also chronograph levers and cams. The dial also goes partly titanium, with sapphire crystal in the mix too. It is all quite complex and there is a reason for this, besides the Only Watch connection. But first, let us explain a little about the functions.

In a nutshell, the split seconds function allows the operator to time multiple events; these will begin at once but possibly end separately, like lap times between two racing cars, for example. It does this with the help of an extra set of chronograph hands and a third pusher, which the Monaco is the ideal shape for. Speaking of which, the movement here is basically round so we have automatic winding in place. Here are a few key specs to wrap things up for now. There are two colourways, in red and blue, both with 41mm grade 5 titanium cases. The power reserve is 65 hours (with the chronograph off) and 55 hours (with chronograph on). This might seem quite standard but calibre TH81-00 is also high-beat, keeping pace at 5 Hz. Water-resistance is much more casual though, at just 30m.

Finally, if you want to scratch your head about something, forget about the water-resistance. It is all about that complexity that I mentioned. The price of the Monaco Split Seconds Chronograph starts at CHF135,000, with some custom options taking it all the way to CHF165,000. Now, this provokes some questions – we have them and we are sure you have them too. Remember that TAG Heuer famously offered the most accessibly priced Swiss Made tourbillon chronograph for a little while. We shall do our best to more information on this from new CEO Julien Tornare.

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