The 1990s are not remembered as much of a golden age for the Swiss watch industry. Following the wrecking ball Eighties, when dozens of watch companies went out of business at the hands of cheap quartz-based watches (ushered in by Seiko in 1969, although the original Astron was anything but cheap), it was a period of rebirth. Switzerland's big names were dusting themselves off and reinventing themselves as luxury brands.
There was a lot of interesting stuff going on, from the technical advances at the likes of IWC and Ulysse Nardin to the effects of Germany's reunification on Glashutte's watch industry. Brands like Zenith, Breitling and Blancpain were starting again almost from scratch, and while there were brave new designs - notably Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak Offshore - it is an era for which we are yet to become nostalgic.
TAG Heuer didn't produce the Monaco for the majority of the Nineties, bringing it back into the range in 1997, when it kicked off the now familiar cycle of commemorative issues. As it marks 50 years of the watch that housed its first automatic chronograph movement, it is producing five limited edition versions of the Monaco, one pegged to each decade of its history. We've already written about the Seventies and Eighties models; green-grey and bright red interpretations respectively - now we've got the Nineties version.
And what can we say? If only all watches from the Nineties actually looked this good, we'd be reaching for our Gap shirts and Tamagotchis and committing to a full-on revival. TAG Heuer's creative director Guy Bové has referenced industrial and street-style trends in the design of this watch, which mixes grained, sandblasted and polished textures with a red, blue and silver colour scheme.
We particularly like the grained rhodium-plated dial and the red stencil box connecting the navy blue subdials, subtle blue logo and dial text. As with the previous two models - and of course the original - it has the chronograph pushers on the right and crown on the left. The calibre is the 4Hz Calibre 11 with a 40 hour power reserve, and the watch is water resistant to 100m.
The TAG Heuer Monaco 1989-1999 Limited Edition is limited to 169 pieces and priced at £5,350.
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