I was a collector for many years before joining LVMH, so I knew the watch world from this perspective, but I did not understand the industry from the inside. But, honestly, from the inside it is even more incredible. Until I visited the TAG Heuer factories I didn’t know, for example, that it takes 130 operations just to finish one dial, it’s amazing.
I also love cars and of course there is a big crossover between the watch world and the automotive world, especially when it comes to pieces like the Monaco. As a collector, this watch was my way into TAG Heuer as a brand, and of course I was particularly excited about this year when we have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of a watch that is so emblematic of TAG Heuer.
The car industry is a huge inspiration for us and we are inspired by drivers, by cars, by teams, by racetracks. Steve McQueen certainly made the Monaco famous, and he will forever be the ambassador for the watch. But it is also good to have new generations of collectors coming to the Monaco, perhaps even people who don’t know who Steve McQueen was.
It is great to have Patrick Dempsey as an ambassador, too, another Monaco lover who also races Porsches. That is great for us given the history we have with Porsche. We are very happy to have recently signed with the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team, and we have decided to put more of a focus on motor sports around the world, including our continued support of the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Formula One team and the Indy 500 in the US.
The Monaco doesn’t compare in terms of numbers of watches sold to the Carrera, the Aquaracer and the Formula 1. We could sell more but we limit the numbers we produce on purpose. We are not making Monaco to make money; we are making it so it stays an icon.
The watch we unveiled in London was the first time we have equipped the Monaco with the Calibre Heuer 02, our newest in-house movement boasting an 80-hour power reserve. We introduced it at the Chucs Café Serpentine, another celebration for the Monaco and an important part of a whole year of 50th anniversary tributes.
In addition to London, we had big events and new watches revealed in Le Mans, New York, Shanghai, and, of course, Monaco itself. That Formula 1 race is hugely important to us, and TAG Heuer has been the Official Watch of the Monaco Grand Prix since 2011.
The celebrations across the world have been humbling, and the response from the public and from collectors has been beyond anything we could have expected.