Opposite to widespread perception, TAG Heuer didn’t invent the square-cased chronograph when it launched the Monaco in 1969. The mannequin may’ve been the primary water resistant, automated model ever made—a giant deal on the time and a giant deal at this time—but it surely’s just one in an extended line of square-cased watches that date again to the early 1900s—every distinctive in their very own proper. Whereas everybody from Rolex and Cartier to Timex and Hamilton has launched square-cased chronographs through the years, the Monaco—which was re-launched this week in a retro “Darkish Lord” particular version—is without doubt one of the few nonetheless in manufacturing in 2022. However it’s not the be-all and end-all of the style. And for anybody who doesn’t have roughly $7k within the financial institution, the Momentum Sq. 2—made by a small Canadian model that makes a speciality of basic, reasonably priced sports activities watches—carries the entire similar high-octane styling at a fraction of the value.
On this planet of motorsports, the Monaco Grand Prix is in a category of its personal. Winding by means of the infamously slim streets of the tiny Mediterranean tax haven, it’s a race that’s legendary as a lot for what occurs on the observe as what occurs in its orbit. (Celebrities partying alongside European royalty, sufficient champagne to fill Lake Como: it’s Coachella-meets-the-Superbowl for the worldwide glitterati.) Because the race’s most well-known namesake, TAG Heuer’s watch shares an identical pedigree: a timepiece with greater than half a century of racing heritage behind it that’s as well-known for its cultural clout as its trackside rep. Should you haven’t seen it worn in Le Mans, the ’70s Steve McQueen flick, you most likely clocked it in Breaking Unhealthy, or extra not too long ago on the wrists of Max Verstappen and Jacob Elordi finally weekend’s F1 race.
The Momentum Sq. 2 is impressed by the Monaco and different “rally” fashion watches of the ’60s, and what it lacks in inventive nomenclature it makes up for in spot-on seems and premium particulars. Evaluating a $295 quartz watch to a Swiss-made luxurious timepiece is a bit of like evaluating grocery retailer apples to these fancy ones they promote in Japanese department shops, but it surely holds up remarkably properly underneath scrutiny. Its case is constituted of high-quality 316L chrome steel, alternately brushed and polished for optimum visible influence, and rated water resistant to a really respectable 100 meters. Beneath its sapphire crystal are a pair of chronograph subdials and a date window, in addition to a staggered seconds observe (which makes it simpler to learn at a look) and a pop of orange on the tip of the seconds hand. Inside is a Japanese Miyota quartz motion, a easy, correct, and dependable workhorse utilized by numerous big-name manufacturers. With a alternative of three dials and 4 bracelets (perforated leather-based in the event you’re feeling basic, Milanese mesh for a extra up to date vibe) this hidden gem is like scoring VIP field seats to the Grand Prix for the value of a few nosebleeds.