New Watch! • 04 Jun 2019

TAG Heuer Kicks Off Monaco Celebrations

by Nick Kenyon

TAG Heuer Celebrates 50 Years of Monaco

A 50th birthday is a significant occasion no matter how you look at it, especially in an industry that has had as many ups and downs as a Disneyland rollercoaster. For many brands over the years, the challenge of mere survival has seen individual watches come and go as brands look to meet market tastes. This makes any watch that has survived five decades a special thing indeed.

The Heuer Monaco is celebrating its half-century this year, and TAG Heuer has finally punctured the balloon of excitement around what they will release to commemorate this iconic chronograph. While some were expecting the release of a new Monaco at Baselworld 2019, the brand chose instead to shine the spotlight on their new Autavia line without the distraction of a big birthday party. Instead, and very appropriately, they chose to hold the party in the Bethlehem of the Heuer Monaco – the Monaco Grand Prix.
Kai Lenny watches the F1 Qualifying Sessions as part of the 50th Anniversary of the TAG Heuer Monaco in Monaco

McQueen’s Influence

While the TAG Heuer Monaco is well known and loved today, it first hit the big-time when it was seen on the wrist of Steve McQueen in the classic film Le Mans. One of the Monaco’s worn by McQueen on the set of Le Mans went on to be sold for almost $800,000 at auction in 2012. In a similar way to Paul Newman’s influence on watch culture, the importance of the Monaco is magnified thanks to its compass beyond the world of horology, and into the circles of both film and automotive enthusiasts.

The First of Five: A Decidedly 70s Offering

To respectfully pay tribute to the Monaco turning 50, TAG Heuer has announced they will be releasing five watches throughout 2019, each paying homage to a decade of the watch’s life. First up, amid the fanfare of one of the most popular F1 races of the year, the TAG Heuer Monaco 1969-1979 Limited Edition has been released in an edition of 169 pieces. While this seems like a horrifyingly small number, the same number of watches will be released for the other four editions (169×5=845 pieces), meaning more collectors will be able to get their hands on a piece of history.

The original TAG Heuer Monaco from 1969

The first impression of the Monaco 1969-1979 is that it is unlike any Monaco to date. Featuring a distinct colourway, and Geneva striping on the dial that nods to vintage Heuer Carrera and Cortina references, its inspiration could only have been from the 1970s. The green dial finds its warmth in the red and yellow highlights around the minute track, and the vertical Côtes de Genève finishing adds to the symmetry of the layout. While recollections of textured wallpaper and shag pile rugs might only bring positive memories for a select few, there is an undeniable 70s cool about this watch.

The use of Côtes de Genève on the dial side of the watch will be a shock for those used to only seeing this technique through a sapphire caseback. It is a technique has been widely used by brands to finish their mechanical movements more beautifully, Heuer broke the mold and used it dial side in the 1970s. They applied the Côtes de Genève vertically on the dial in three broad stripes on a number of Carrera references, as well as horizontally with narrower stripes on several Cortina references.

Under the dial of the Monaco 1969-1979 is the legendary Caliber 11 chronograph movement, which offers 40 hours of power reserve. This movement is an updated version of the same movement used in the original Monaco, which was also one of the first automatic chronographs ever. The new Monaco 1969-1979 comes on a distressed brown leather strap, with racing style perforations along its length – another neat reference to the history of this important watch.

Next to the Monaco Calibre 11 “Steve McQueen” ref. CAW211P

While production numbers are obviously extremely limited, the new TAG Heuer Monaco 1969-1979 Limited Edition is a suitable tribute to an enormously popular watch, and one that spans the worlds of horology, motorsport and film. Considering how attractive this edition is, the next few months are sure to be filled with anticipation as they release the remaining editions.

Motor Racing Pop-Up

Running from the 10th to the 23rd of June at VivoCity Main Atrium. Stop by to try on a range of TAG Heuer watches in the metal. While many of us get off at HarbourFront MRT station to reach Vivo, there’s always the option to drive down if you’re really getting into the Monaco 50th-anniversary swing of things.

And What Watches Will be Featured?

  • TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Automatic Chronograph
  • TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 GMT in steel bracelet
  • TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 Tourbillon
  • TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 Carbon Tourbillon Phantom

Tags: calibre 11 tag tag heuer tag heuer monaco

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