TAG Heuer Monaco is an iconic watch launched in 1969 that became popular when the Hollywood star Steve McQueen wore it in his 1971 film entitled “Le Mans“. Since then, the mention of the watch has become synonymous with McQueen. However, this automatic chronograph timepiece was actually launched in honor of the Monaco Grand Prix. During that time, it was the first automatic square-cased chronograph.
The production of TAG Heuer Monaco stopped around the mid-70s. However, it was later re-designed and re-introduced in 1998. In 2003, and in the years after, more versions of the TAG Heuer Monaco have been introduced to the watch market.
Despite the model variations, the original TAG Heuer Monaco’s iconic racing watch features are its metallic blue dial with the two subdials located at 3 and 9 o’clock, date function at 6 o’clock, the crown at 9 o’clock of the case, and push buttons at 2 and 4 o’clock. As mentioned, the case is square, and it is attached to a leather strap.
Before you impulsively buy your own Tag Heuer Monaco, well, we must give you a heads up that this brand, Tag Heuer, is actually a luxury watch brand. Yes, they may have a great reputation for premium quality and excellent styles but you must be prepared with your savings should you want one of its timepieces.
If you want a watch of this style but can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars, here are the best budget-friendly alternatives that we found.
Best Affordable Tag Heuer Monaco Alternatives
Jaragar Sport Design Clock
Among your cheapest options is the Jaragar Sport Design Clock from China. It comes with the iconic square shape and two subdials (although only 50% of the subdials are visible). The dial comes in either black or white with a light blue and red vertical stripes by the center. The case and bracelet are both made of stainless steel. It is powered by a Japanese automatic movement and is water-resistant to 30 meters.
The next budget-friendly choice is the Megir Chronograph, but it sure looks more than it costs! With its rectangular case housing a chronograph and a croc-textured leather strap, it is suitable for casual, business, and even sportswear. Even the dial is sleek and modern-looking. It has a micro-second, second, and minute subdials, and a calendar window positioned between 4 and 5 o’clock. The hour and minute hands are luminous and are driven by a quartz movement. The dial is then protected by a hardlex mirror. Also, this timepiece is rated 3ATM in terms of water resistance.
Gute GT003-P is another alternative that’s extremely affordable. Aside from the iconic square case, it is also loaded with the three chronograph subdials and a date function on its swirly white dial. More so, it has big Roman numeral hour markers and blue hands driven by a Japanese quartz movement. The strap is then made of premium leather and the whole timepiece is rated 3ATM for water resistance. You can see that Gute is pretty confident with this timepiece as it offers a 12-month money-back guarantee should you find it unsatisfactory.
Daniel Steiger Valiant
Daniel Steiger Valiant is more rectangular compared to Monaco’s square case. Yet, it is also stylish and comes with the chronograph and date functions.
The rectangular case and bezel are both made of stainless steel, and you’d see four screws on each side of the bezel. The strap is made of brown leather with white contrast stitch and is croc-textured. On the white dial are gold accents, markers, and luminous hands. It also has three chronograph subdials position at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. The date window, moreover, is positioned at 4 o’clock. This timepiece uses a quartz movement and the manufacturer offers an unlimited 5-year movement warranty.
Moving forward, the Tissot Quadrato is one of the alternatives recommended in this discussion. Although it’s no longer available on Amazon and in most watch shops, you can still find some models on eBay.
It is also iconically square-cased but it has three chronograph subdials similar to most of the other recommendations in this post. The date function can then be seen between the 4 and 5 o’clock position. It uses a Swiss-quartz movement and is water-resistant to 100 meters. There are various versions of this watch; some have white dials while others have black. Even the straps differ. There are white, black, and brown leather, stainless steel, and even durable rubber.
Raymond Weil Tango Chronograph
Another timepiece worthy to consider is the Raymond Weil Tango Chronograph. It comes with a stainless steel case, bezel, and bracelet. On its black rectangular dial, you’ll find three chronograph subdials and a date window at 12 o’clock. It is then covered by an anti-reflective scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It uses a quartz movement and is water-resistant to 50 meters.
Triumph Tiger 3055-22
The Triumph Tiger 3055-22 was also mentioned in this discussion, and it is indeed a good alternative to Monaco. Its case is square, it has two chronograph subdials positioned at 3 and 9 o’clock, and a date function at 6’clock. The dial is black with silver accents and luminous hands. The pushbuttons and the crown are all located on the right side of the case. The bracelet is made of stainless steel and has a double-locking foldover clasp. It uses a Japanese quartz movement.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Square Chronograph
Another recommendation from this discussion is the Hamilton Jazzmaster Square Chronograph. Similar to previously listed Tissot Quadrato, there are also various versions of the Hamilton Jazzmaster and among those versions, the Hamilton Jazzmaster Square Chronograph is the most similar to the iconic Tag Heuer Monaco. Although, it is also quite difficult to find even online you may still find some on eBay.
The Hamilton Jazzmaster Square Chronograph comes with, of course, a square case and dial. On the black dial, you’ll find two equally-sized chronograph subdials located at 3 and 9 o’clock. There’s also a smaller subdial located at 6 o’clock. The date function is then located between 4 and 5 o’clock. These functions are protected by a sapphire crystal glass. This timepiece works with an automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve. It also has a black leather strap and is water-resistant to 100 meters.
Boss HB-1005 Chrono
Last on this list is the Boss HB-1005 Chrono, an all-black square-cased timepiece. Along with its two chronograph subdials, date function at 6 o’clock, and black leather strap, it undeniably pays respect to the Tag Heuer Monaco. It is also sleek and stylish with its black and brushed stainless steel case and bezel. Its dial window is made of mineral crystal. This timepiece is also driven by a quartz movement.
Ferro & Company Distinct 3 GULF LE MANS
Candian watch brand Ferro & Company is known for retro-designed, mainly inspired by vintage cars and planes.
The brand’s 2020 crowdsourced watch design pays special tribute to the Le Mans 24 hour race. This watch is not the most obvious choice as there are lots of differences between the watch designs – most notably the case and dial are obviously not square nor does it have the subdials like the Monaco.
However, since it pays tribute to the same race, just as the film Steve McQueen wore it in and helped make the Monaco the iconic watch that it is today we also like the “Gulf” dial color scheme so we’ve included it as a creative alternative for a guy who appreciates the race theme and historical connection who also may prefer the round dial