Beaverbrooks, Sheffield / 7th April 2018
I must admit to being more than a little surprised seeing this in the window today, and pleasantly surprised at that. It must be said that I'm not the biggest fan of the 'classic' Monaco, I've tried on several and I've liked them, right up until I got them on my wrist... but this one I actually liked even on the wrist. I don't know if it's the classic Gulf dial or what, but somehow this one just 'works' in a way that so many others just haven't, at least for me...
The first thing I noticed about this one was that the background is actually a very dark blue, whereas I had kind of assumed it was going to be black. Not only that but it's kind of metallic too so it gives off a cool sunburst effect when the light hits it at the right angle. The second thing I noticed was that the sub-dials aren't white, in fact they look like silver to me - though I'm not 100% sure about that. They look fine anyway, and indeed, despite much debate about the colour scheme in general (and the red accents in particular) I have to say it looks great when you actually see it close up.
Flip the watch over and you've got your regular display back, although because this one was covered in cling film and labels I couldn't see very much at all, which was a shame, but I don't think there's anything under there that I haven't seen before to be honest.
The strap is actually a lot darker than I expected as well, so at first glance you might even think it was black, and the orange stitching definitely gives it a certain something too, though I wasn't overly sold on the clasp with it's huge Heuer branding. The watch sat very nicely on my 7.3/4" wrist, looking just about right for a retro piece, and not at all feminine (unlike that overly-shiny, dainty looking quartz model I tried on in Sheffield last time!) and money no object if I was going to choose a (non 24 series) Monaco, this would probably be the one.
I did notice though that as people on the Calibre 11 forum have pointed out, the strap is maybe a little on the short side. The watch fitted me pretty much straight off, but I did observe that there wasn't much strap leftover, so if you've got an 8" wrist you might have a problem and need a longer strap for this one.
I must admit I'm slightly mystified as to why this is exactly the same price as the plain blue version, or at least it was in Beaverbrooks today. I guess some people would still choose the plain blue dial, but to me it's a no-brainer that this would be the one to pick up. That said, the price in question is a not inconsiderable £4750, and for not much more than that one could pick up a Calibre 36 Monaco 24 from the outlet, which to me seems like a much better deal (particularly as they sell on the pre-owned market for £6500). Even so, I'm sure there will be plenty of punters lining up for this new incarnation of the classic Gulf striped Monaco, and rightly so.