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[REVIEW] of my TAG HEUER MONZA : sexy...but fantasy !

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    [REVIEW] of my TAG HEUER MONZA : sexy...but fantasy !

    Hi Folks,

    I'm creating this thread as a backup of a review I wrote for RWC, before it might disappear forever... As some of you might know, RWI's sister forum is closing its doors...
    I thought it would make sense to back up my reviews here, hoping that RWI members might appreciate them too.

    There is actually a "large" choice in the Tag Heuer Monza replicas. I found at least 2 automatic (a 7750 based and a faux-chrono), and 2 different quartz models, without mentionning the dial variations. I went for the quartz for several reasons :
    - I like this model, but not enough to invest too much
    - the automatic model is better designed than the quartz version(s), but still not close enough to the gen
    - I am still reluctant in owning too many A7750 in my collection, although I made 4 exceptions recently
    - I have nothing against quartz, neither in reps nor in genuine watches.

    Better to say it now : we're talking about a fantasy watch, so this review has to be taken accordingly. I belong to those who think that a rep does not need to be 100% accurate to be enjoyed. My priority is "how it looks and feels". And this Monza is definitely a sexy watch in my eyes.

    A (very light) slice of History...

    1930 • HEUER launches the MONZA range
    1985 • HEUER is taken over by the Group TECHNIQUES D’AVANT GARDE, which owns the Formula 1 Team Mc LAREN : now the watch company exists as TAG-HEUER
    2000 • Re-edition of the Tag Heuer Monza, as an hommage to the Italian Grand Prix

    TAG Heuer Monza sports watches are characterized by fine assemblage and craftsmanship. The Monza line comprises a wide range of models, including three-handed watches with date function as well as chronograph models. In the heart of the TAG Heuer Monza watches beat self-winding Swiss movements appreciated for their reliability and performance.

    The uniquely designed cushion-shaped cases of Monza watches are crafted either in steel or 18K yellow gold. They feature a distinctive contrast between brushed and polished surfaces pleasant to look at and touch. This is why the watch was spotted on the wrist of the main characters in "The Island" - remember Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor)

    The Monza Calibre 36 watch is one of the most technically sophisticated pieces from the line. The timepiece is powered by a self-winding chronograph movement. The mechanism is devised to be able to measure elapsed time intervals to within 1/10th of a second due to the high frequency balance wheel.

    The timepiece appeared to pay tribute to a notable event in the history of Formula 1 racing. During the 1971 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix in Monza, just 1/100th of a second separated Peter Gethin, the winner, from Ronnie Peterson, his closest rival. To commemorate the legendary Milanese track, and the closest F1 racing finish ever, TAG Heuer designed its Monza Calibre 36 chronograph watch.

    The mechanism of the Monza Calibre 36 automatic chronograph is based upon a pendulum oscillating at a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour, thus offering a great precision level. It is an officially-certified chronometer.

    How did I choose the Monza ? Where does it come from ?

    The Tag Heuer Monza is the only replica I decided to buy after I saw it in an A.D. Indeed I have never paid attention to it before, probably as we never see it in wristshots or reviews. Besides, the pictures I saw on our various dealers' websites did not really speak to me... I was wrong : this sexy little watch was calling me the second I saw and touched it for real.
    As a quartz replica, you can imagine that it is cheap : it was ! Bought from my favorite dealer on Ioffer, Mark. I paid much less than 100 dollars and actually 0 shipment, as I ordered it with an other watch (my Montblanc Sports Chrono).
    Got what I ordered, in perfect condition and within 1 week. Faultless.

    How is is as a watch ?

    That will be the core of my review. Let's start with some eye candies...

    The white series...

    The case
    I think the pictures show how nice it is in reality : an original cushion shape (or rounded square), mix of polished and brushed parts.
    This watch is "small". Actually 37,xx mm, but wears a bit bigger thanks to it's square shape. I would not recommend it for large wrists, especially for a sports watch. Here's how it looks on my wrist.

    The caseback is probably where I am a bit less enthusiastic. Although the mirror polished surface is always something nice, it will easily scratch, and the laser etching is not giving a very robust feeling, I prefer embossing or engraving... But OK, we're talking about a cheap replica.

    The strap
    It came with a standard (yet not really bad) croc pattern black strap. As I had a racing strap sitting in my watchbox with the correct size (20mm), I thought that was the best occasion to use it : I've always wanted a racing strap and the Monza is the exact style that can match with these perforated leather straps. For your information, these holes in the leather are supposed to remind you of the steering wheel of older racing cars...

    The Dial
    Surely the best thing in this watch. Its pattern gives the watch some "substance" and light will reflect nicely on that surface which reminds of "guilloche" dials in dressy watches. Everything looks very sharp, silver markers and logo are perfectly aligned and also give a fancy reflection of your environment : depending on where you stand, your dial looks more or less contrasted. I like that. Nothing special to say about the hands, they are typical "tag Heuer" shaped hands.

    The crystal
    I have not find the information about what it is, but it's definitely not sapphire. Actually I don't even think it's mineral glass : the very light sound while ticking on it and the total absence of reflection is not typical of mineral glass. I would rather say it is plexiglas. Time will tell (sic!). I'm not against plexiglas, being quite careful with my timekeepers, and knowing that it can somehow be polished. It definitely has the huge advantage of no reflection. And of course... I like that ! :mrgreen:

    The movement
    A quartz movement, obviously the standard layout of a Miyota OS 20 : reliable and inexpensive. That's one of the reason I have nothing against quartz in replicas : it makes them last longer. And as this model is anyway far from accurate in the replication (see later), it's definitely not the movement which will be THE tell.

    What else ? It's light ! 60 gr with the strap : the size, apparently plexi crystal and quartz movement make it a light watch.
    I had no opportunity nor mean to test the water resistance, and would not advise anyone to dive with it...
    Very important : the finish is very good, there are no croocked markers, badly polished/brushed parts, room between the lugs is very clean and the pushers and crown look good as well.

    How is is as a rep ?

    The first thing to say is that we should compare what's comparable. There have been two versions of the Monza. The main difference between these versions are
    - the movement used (2000 re-edition is equipped with the Calibre 36),
    - the pushers
    - the see-through caseback (2000 re-edition)
    - the logo (turned from Heuer to Tag Heuer Calibre 36
    - the hour markers
    - and the date position (@4.5 for the older Monza and @6 for the 2000 re-edition)

    Let's see how the gens look like.

    And here the old Logo

    As the watch I have here has digits as markers and states "Calibre 36" and finally has the [email protected], I would suggest that it tries to copy the 2000 Edition. I said "try", as you have seen that there are actually nothing but flaws.

    Crown, pushers (although the pushers look like the older version), closed caseback, datefont and datewindow shape, hands length and shape, subdials layout (quartz against automatic layout) etc... etc... :mrgreen:

    Needless to go into more details (there's no quartz Monza), this Monza is inspired by the original, looks pretty but should be seen as an hommage or a fantasy replica. Nothing else.

    Again, it will depend on each one's expectation : crap for purists, a nice little fantasy watch with no bad finishing issues for the others... Including me.

    Hope you enjoyed...
    Retired staffer. Sorry don't expect immediate answers to your messages.

    is Ioffer still around? Good review, is it lumed?
    The best thing about this signature is that by the time you realize it doesn't say anything, it's too late for you to stop reading.