TAG Heuer’s Monaco collection has an illustrious past, not only because of the prosperous municipality that the collection is named for. The watch, introduced in 1969 and named for the Monaco Grand Prix, also bore one of the world’s first automatic chronograph calibers, the Caliber 11, and was the first waterproof square watch case ever produced, thanks to Erwin Piquerez’s novel solution for waterproofing. Jack Heuer secured exclusive rights to the design, and the Monaco was born.
Nevertheless, the Heuer Monaco was not an immediate hit, despite the many milestones it represented. Jo Siffert was the first racing star to wear the watch and it took Steve McQueen and the movie Le Mans to hit the right combination of celebrity and sportsmanship to turn the watch into a star.
How did that happen? Siffert, who was a Heuer ambassador, was McQueen’s coach on the set. The two forged a close friendship during filming, so in the movie, as McQueen was wearing Siffert’s overalls complete with the Heuer logo, it made perfect sense to have a Heuer watch on his wrist. Jack Heuer would send him the Monaco watch to use on set, and the rest is written history.
51 Years of Monaco
Last year was the jubilee of the Monaco, and TAG Heuer introduced five special editions, each one representing a decade of style and design. But since the brand is all about moving forward, the brand is choosing to direct the collection towards its future by re-honoring its partnership and commitment to the principality of Monaco, by partnering the Automobile Club de Monaco and the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique 2020.
The classic car race, which takes place biannually, is highly popular among the classic car community, with more than 200 cars from 50 different car makers taking part. There are strict guidelines on the participating cars, with drivers from across the world taking part. It would have started today, but has been unfortunately cancelled to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that has not deterred TAG Heuer from commemorating the event with a special edition.
The new partnership sees TAG Heuer as an official sponsor and timekeeper of the race, and TAG Heuer is introducing a 1,000-piece limited edition with the Monaco case, naturally. The dial is in silver and a bold crimson, with a brushed finish and the logo of the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique between 1 and 2 o’clock.
The two counters at 3 and 9 o’clock are chronograph totalizers, while the quadrant counter at 6 is for the small seconds, with a date window as well. The minute track bears red bead indicators on the minute track, and the case is in steel with a perforated calf leather racing strap, giving it a lively vintage feel. The watch is housed in a red watch box specially prepared for this project, decorated with a red chequered flag.
Self-winding Heuer 02 caliber; hours, minutes and small seconds; date; chronograph; 4Hz; 80-hour power reserve
39mm case in stainless steel; water resistant to 100m; limited to 1,000 watches worldwide; special watch box
Black calfskin leather perforated racing strap; stainless steel folding clasp
Price USD 6,850 / CHF 6,700