Launched in the early 1970s, the Tudor Monte Carlo has developed as one of Tudor's most recognizable models thanks to its unique aesthetic and similarities to its sibling, the Rolex Daytona. With Tudor becoming an increasingly independent brand, these vintage models have experienced a surge in popularity over the last few years as collectors begin to appreciate them for what they are as unique timepieces that deserve to be enjoyed without comparison to their big brother brand.
Built from Rolex parts, it is no surprise that the Monte Carlo ref. 7159 is an incredibly robust timepiece, even considering its age. With a trip-lock Rolex crown, substantial crown guards, screw-down pushers, and stainless steel bezel, the Monte Carlo can withstand daily wear and tear much unlike the fragile chronographs from its period. Featuring a 40mm stainless steel case, it carries the wrist presence and substance that fits modern tastes perfectly, but with a vintage charm that is often searched for by brands in the countless re-editions, we have seen as of late.
With value at the heart of Tudor's mission, the Monte Carlo ref. 7159, much like every other Tudor, features a third-party movement, the manual-wind Valjoux cal. 234. A column-wheel chronograph with a running seconds subdial at 9 o'clock and a 45-minute subdial at 3 o'clock, this robust movement provided utility and a visual break from the Daytona's triple register design. Furthermore, with a date aperture at 6 o'clock and accompanying cyclops lens, the Monte Carlo forges its own identity on the wrist rather confidently.
Perhaps the Monte Carlo's most unique aspect is its dial, with its "Monte Carlo" nickname inspired by it. Sharing visual similarities to a roulette wheel, the Monte Carlo's dial injects personality and color into the timepiece with precision and accuracy. A calculated aesthetic, the Monte Carlo's dial uses color in a useful fashion while also providing a unique character to the timepiece overall. Offered on a leather strap and a grey dial that lends a somewhat toned-down aesthetic, the example I have here is understated while also capable of projecting confident belief in itself, a balance that so many modern timepieces fail to strike.