Vintage Heuer Monaco Issues

Vintage Heuer Monacos have various issues, often more so than most vintage watches. There are however some rather obvious ones that can come to light when you research and spend time holding them and comparing them.


1. The seal! All vintage Monaco variants suffer from the seal melt issue. Like above picture it can cause the movement and the dial to end up a sticky mess. On matt dials (1133b/73633b/74033n) it can sometimes be cleaned off but on metallic dials it often corrodes the paint and reveals the base dial metal. Often the crystal needs to be lifted to see but signs of shadows under the crystal edges normally means bad news. Remember dials are not easily replaced and if you do find one for sale we are talking £1000 upwards.


2. Dials. There are at least 13 variants, from the first Chronomatic to the last 74033N Pvd, all are pictured on this site. However there are some fake and re-dials around, look at the rogues gallery for clues but avoid redials as values are approx half a correct dial and spare original dials are virtually non existent. Look out for incorrect script with no seriph floursihes. Open 4's instead of closed and obvious tells like automatic chronograph being round the wrong way! 1533 re-dials do not have the same metallic finish and often have the wrong hands. Note that Pvd's do not have the same sub register layout as the rest of the Monaco range (strangely the fakes do). The middle 2 numbers on each Pvd subdial should be slightly raised from the level of the other 4 numbers.


3. Hands. Another important issue. Whilst it's ok for a Monaco to have Tag heuer service hands the look is not quite the same for a collector. However saying that on 1133 and 73633 variants it is quite common to have service hands and perhaps the importance is only at top level prices on mint condition watches, The original hands have a slightly thicker lume banding and often the lume will match the hour markers and be aged. Chronomatic and true transitional watches should have different hands to the standard 1133b models. Not the red striped specials but rather the steel squared off variants. Lastly the PVD should have hands as in the "In Focus" page, orange second and sub regsiter hands with with thick white hours and minutes. In general also look out for correct sub register hands on all the variants as they can be incorrectly coloured and the wrong thickness or length. Obviously the worst case scenario is a set of totally wrong hands, again although not to quite the same degree as the dials they are very scarce, you may pick up a set of service hands but orignals, unlikely these days...


4. Case. The case on the Heuer Monaco is a thing of beauty! Touch one and you will realise how unique/different and just plain ahead of  its time it was. A design classic indeed! A NOS example should have very crisp edges and no signs of polishing. Having held dozens in my hands and inspected, no two are identical. Probably due to the machining process they have subtle differences but the key issues are the starburst finish on the rear case on all 4 corners and the "Tool No 33"engraving on the back (many fake/re-dials/poor man Monacos) did not have this. This is contrasted with highly polished areas, also look out for numbers between the lugs...


5. Serial and model numbers. Stamped in between both sets of lugs will be serial numbers (6 digits) and at the bottom of the dial model number (1133, 73633, 740303 1533 etc). Note the colour (b g n) will not be stamped. The numbers can often be very lightly stamped and scratches where metal bracelets were fixed can sometimes make it difficult to see without a loupe (on PVD variants a powerful loupe is often needed). These numbers are now essential for re-sale, the watches are worth less without. Check the register on this site for a list which grows week on week. Note on 1533 variants it is not uncommon to see 1133 stamps, as the cases were identical and often were used by Heuer if stock of the more popular 1133 model was more plentiful.

1533B - seal melt Next page