Tag Heuer Monza - Calibre 36
The name TAG Heuer has been associated with making high end, Swiss watches, many of them automotive based, for years. That's because the company, originally Heuer, has its roots in motorsport history. In fact, this model, the Monza, is named after a particular town and racing circuit which has hosted the Italian Grand Prix since the dawn of Grand Prix racing itself back in 1922. Monza is known for its ominous and long-abandoned banking, high speeds, glorious victories, tragic deaths, and above all, Ferrari and the red sea of the fervently loyal Tifosi. Seeing as Ferrari was the team to beat in the 1970s, Heuer partnered with Ferrari as a sponsor, boasting its badge front and center under the windscreen of Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni's Ferrari 312 T2 Formula One car.
After Niki Lauda's 1975 World Championship win, Heuer released the Monza, commemorating Niki and Ferrari's victory, naming it after Ferrari's home race. Just as the Monza circuit has changed many times over the years, so too has the watch and the company. Heuer has since partnered with TAG, appropriately a producer of high-end automotive engine parts, especially turbos, for Formula One cars. TAG Heuer has done several re-editions of the watch including this, the CR5111 Calibre 36, featuring the iconic El Primero chronograph movement from Zenith. This particular watch is modeled after a Heuer chronograph from the 1930s and includes original books, box, and was serviced in October 2018. All watches serve a purpose but perhaps what makes them special is that they remind us of something. When I see the watch, the chronograph subdials, and the ensigned "Monza" on the dial, it reminds me of a driver tightly gripping the wheel as he barrels around the Autodromo Nazionale Monza or watching Niki Lauda round the Parabolica his V12 screams towards the finish line of the 1976 Italian Grand Prix. All in all, TAG Heuer's ties to motorsport and the Monza which was born of a perfect union of Heuer, Ferrari, and the Monza circuit seem to create a perfect back story for a watch dedicated to watch enthusiasts and motorsport enthusiasts alike.