Tag Heuer Monaco – Over 40 Years in the Making of a Legend

| January 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

Steve McQueen in legedary movie "Le Mans"

Tag Heuer Monaco is one of the most iconic chronograph watches on the market today. After more than 40 years of existence it is still probably the coolest watch money can buy. Introduced in 1969 honoring the famous Monaco Grand Prix, it was the first automatic and first square cased chronograph, but its rise in cool factor can be thanked to American actor Steve McQueen who used it in legendary 1971 movie Le Mans. Decades after, Monaco, McQueen and Le Mans became synonymous for each other. 

The story goes something like this. To better prepare himself for the role of the racing driver, McQueen sought out advice from his friend, real racing driver, Jo Siffert. At the time Siffert was spokesperson for Heuer and Gulf Oil. McQueen requested Siffert to lend him his racing suit which was in Gulf Oil orange and blue colors with embroidered “Cronograph Heuer” crest. To complete the look McQueen opted for the newly introduced Calibre 12 Monaco. The rest is the history.

Tag Heuer Monaco

Tag Heuer Monaco 40th anniversary model.

The watch was discontinued from the production in mid 70’s but it was reissued in 1998 due to McQueen’s increasing popularity even after his death in 1980.

Since only a handful of the original pieces are still existing demand exceeds supply, and if you are lucky enough to find original blue model you can expect to pay up to $10.000 for it.

To commemorate its 40th anniversary Tag Heuer reissued this iconic blue dial timepiece named Monaco Classic in a limited series of 1000 pieces. Another limited edition was issued that emphasizes the relationship with the Gulf Company and has the Gulf logo and orange and blue stripes on the dial. Today Monaco series is made in variety of styles, colors, with different strap materials, both chrono and non chrono versions and even a lady’s model.


Brief review of 2003 blue Monaco CW2113

Still the most wanted one model is the original blue colored Monaco. The blue dial with blue strap is the original Steve McQueen configuration, which adds no small amount of “cool” factor to the watch. The beautiful deep blue dial with a star burst finish also provides an excellent contrast against the white chronograph sub-dials, and the red chronograph second-hand.

With its size of 38 mm square it is perfect in today’s world of overly large timepieces. Although square watches seem bigger than the round watches of the same size, this one looks good and is perfectly fitting to go with any business suit, but don’t worry, this watch looks great with any clothes.

Tag Heuer Monaco model CW2113

Tag Heuer Monaco model CW2113

No matter if you wear t-shirt with jeans or suit the Monaco shines and crowns the outfit. The watch is not heavy and is easy and comfortable to wear. Blue strap is of crocodile leather and has folding buckle in polished steel with push buttons, adjustable very accurately to find the best fit on your wrist. The clasp is also designed to keep the Monaco on your wrist for when the buckle opens accidentally.

The steel case holds a Perspex crystal and chronograph functions offer elapsed and total time with 12 hour, 30 minute and 60 seconds register. The Monaco runs on Tag Heuer Calibre 17 automatic movement and is water-resistant up to 100 feet (30 m).

The shape of the case and the dial design are same to 2005 and 2010 models although later models are 1 mm bigger in diameter. The pushers are not identical as in original Monaco and are flat and square.

The Tag Heuer Monaco has been a huge success since its reintroduction in 1998, and is far more popular than the original ever was. Although, choosing between modern model and the vintage one is a tough call. The price of a new model is around $3000 and the original Monaco, if you are that lucky to find one, can be close to $10.000. It all depends on what person you are.

Do you prefer the charm of the original vintage items or do you go with the ease of servicing and looking after reliable modern equivalent. Which ever way you go, wearing Monaco will make you feel better.

Short history of Tag Heuer

Company Heuer was started by Edward Heuer in Switzerland in 1860. Edward Heuer had a strong passion for sports, and soon he started equipping sports competitions with the finest, most dependable precision timekeeping instruments he could produce. Heuer was very successful in producing a series of patents and technical innovations as well as some of the most famous and influential watch models ever created. Next big step was made by Eduard Heuers great-grandson Jack Heuer who created the legendary Carrera chronograph in 1964. TAG Heuer was formed in 1985 when TAG (Techniques d’Avant Garde) joined the Heuer group, which was already a renowned watchmaker specializing in racing chronographs. Today TAG Heuer is part of the LVMH group, and is still making great chronograph models, such as the Carrera and Monaco.

Filed in: Fine Things

Post a Comment