Le Mans, France: The setting for the exclusive reveal of the new Monaco this past weekend couldn’t have been more fitting. It was here in 1971 that the “King of Cool”, Steve McQueen, first wore the watch, securing its place in horological history.
Steve McQueen in Le Mans, 1971
As a tribute to Monaco’s cinematic debut, guests – including Steve McQueen’s son, Chad McQueen – enjoyed a special screening of the famous film in the place where it all began.
Not only was the TAG Heuer Monaco the first ever water-resistant square watch, but it was also the first to feature an automatic-winding chronograph movement. In honor of the Monaco’s 50th anniversary, five limited editions will be successively revealed throughout the year.
These new models are inspired by different decades from 1969 to 2019. The special collector’s editions unveiled in 2019 pay tribute to the Monaco’s timeless design and TAG Heuer’s never-ending innovation. After the unveiling of the first model at the Monaco Grand Prix in May, TAG Heuer was proud to reveal the next limited-edition model celebrating the period from 1979 to 1989 in Le Mans, France. The first model took inspiration from the years 1969 to 1979 – the first decade of the Monaco’s history.
TAG Heuer Monaco 2019
When the Heuer Monaco (TAG was not part of the company name at the time) was introduced at simultaneous press conferences in New York and Geneva on 3 March 1969, journalists and watch aficionados around the world were amazed.
With its never-before-seen water-resistant square case, the Monaco’s daring and iconic design made it instantly recognizable. Developed by Heuer, the Calibre 11 was the world’s first automatic-winding chronograph movement.
Jack Heuer, CEO at the time, believed this groundbreaking innovation required a design that would demand attention. The Monaco did exactly that. In 1971, the Monaco was worn by Steve McQueen, the “King of Cool”, in the movie Le Mans.
As it evolves, the Monaco still has the revolutionary spirit that made it both infamous and famous. The complete story behind this icon is told in the new book Paradoxical Superstar, which includes archive excerpts and sketches of the designs and movements.
British journalist Nicholas Foulkes, watch expert Gisbert Brunner and American writer Michael Clerizo all contributed chapters that capture the heritage and innovation that defines the Monaco. Underscoring the timepiece’s bond with its namesake city, H. S. H. Prince Albert II of Monaco wrote the book’s foreword.
MOVEMENT TAG Heuer Automatic Calibre 11, diameter 30 mm, 59 jewels, balance oscillating at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz), 40-hour power reserve
FUNCTIONS Chronograph with seconds and minutes; date, hours, minutes and small seconds at 3 o’clock CASE Diameter 39 mm, case in stainless steel, fixed bezel in stainless steel, sapphire crystal, polished steel crown at 9 o’clock and push buttons at 2 and 4 o’clock, water resistant to 100 meters, steel caseback with “1979- 1989 Special Edition” and “One of 169” engravings
DIAL Red dial with sunray finishing, fine brushed rhodium-plated counters, polished, faceted indexes, black and white touches on hands and indexes
STRAP Black calfskin leather strap, polished folding clasp in stainless steel Limited to 169 watches