Parsons Students Develop New Concepts for Tag Heuer's Iconic Monaco Watch

Parsons Students Develop New Concepts for Tag Heuer's Iconic Monaco Watch

TAG Heuer and Parsons The New School for Design have announced the winning concepts of the "Art of Watchmaking," which tapped the creativity of Parsons product design students to reinterpret a legendary timepiece, the iconic Monaco watch.

The partnership and competition - a first for TAG Heuer - combined student collaboration in the design studio with mentorship from TAG Heuer master watchmakers, all culminating in the selection of three winning teams and the potential for TAG Heuer to produce the top design as a limited-edition piece.

First introduced in 1969, the Monaco shattered the conventional codes of watch design and engineering with the world's first self-winding automatic chronograph movement and waterproof square case. Steven McQueen wore the Monaco in the car-racing film classic Le Mans, and it quickly became an icon.

"The Monaco chronograph embodies the daring, forward-thinking, confident spirit that has propelled TAG Heuer for 150 years," said Ulrich Wohn, president and CEO of TAG Heuer North America. "This piece is the perfect marriage of vintage sex appeal and modern coolness, and is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago."

Under the guidance of faculty members Anna Rabinowicz and Peter Allen, students were charged with creating their own iteration of the Monaco. Many aspects of the timepiece were open to interpretation, including the material choice, color and design of the dial, subdials, hands, indexes and folding buckle. However, students could not alter the distinctive shape of the Monaco's case, whose clean, geometric lines marked a radical departure from the rounded watch dials of the '60s and '70s.

"We partner with industry leaders like TAG Heuer because they provide our students the kind of professional challenges they'll face when they graduate," said Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons. "These types of projects are integral to design education."

"This is a project that is ultimately about constraint. Our students were pushed to think innovatively about the design, while keeping in mind the parameters of the client's design brief and the technical requirements of the manufacturing process," added Rama Chorpash, Parsons director of Product Design.

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The teams each rendered 100 original concepts, then narrowed down these initial ideas into three final designs. Ideas ranged from a Monaco with a rotating case to designs inspired by the New York City transportation system. "The students' enthusiasm for this program was clearly evident in the quality of their designs," said Wohn. "They truly immersed themselves in the brand and presented ideas that embraced the avant-garde, daring spirit of TAG Heuer. We are inspired by the students' perspective on luxury timepieces and their unfettered creativity. It's nice to look at your brand through new eyes."

The final designs were reviewed by a panel of judges that included Narciso Rodriguez, CFDA award-winning womenswear designer and Parsons alumnus; Renaud Dutreil, Chairman of LVMH North America and New School trustee; Ulrich Wohn, president & CEO of LVMH Watch & Jewelry North America; Marion Fasel, contributing jewelry editor, InStyle magazine; Michael Thompson, editor, International Watch magazine; Rama Chorpash, director of product design, Parsons; and Andre Fortier, vice president of after-sales service, TAG Heuer.

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First-place honors went to the team of Yong Yi Lee, Yoav Menachem and Amit Ran, whose designs included a sleek, black model with a shield over the watch face and edition numbers to appeal to collectors; second-place honors went to the team of Enrique Diaz Rato de Zabala, Michelle Organ and You Jin Sung, whose designs included a black ceramic timepiece with neon accents; and third-place honors went to the team of Yusuke Sekiguchi, Christopher Beatty and Helen Kim, whose designs included a piece with naturally grown crystals in its dial.

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