TAG Heuer Monaco
The TAG Heuer Monaco (originally Heuer Monaco) is a series of automatic chronograph wristwatch originally introduced by Heuer in 1969 in honour of the Monaco Grand Prix. The Monaco was revolutionary for being the first automatic as well as the first square cased chronograph. The Hollywood film star Steve McQueen used the watch to accessorize his character in the 1971 film Le Mans. In the decades after his death the use of film stills has made the watch synonymous with McQueen. Although it was discontinued in the mid-1970s, the Monaco was reissued with a new design in 1998 and was reintroduced again with an entirely new mechanisms in 2003 in response to McQueen's increasing popularity.
40th Anniversary re-edition with Calibre 11 is the contemporary Monaco that most closely resembles the original from 1969.
The watch typically features a pair of pushbuttons at the 2 and 4 o’clock position. The dials for the minute and hour counters are at 9 and 3 o'clock respectively. There is a hand-applied date window at 6 o’clock. The watch also features chamfered square and oblong hours markers (dials with "waffle" type cross-hatched markers are later reproductions). In the original version, the crown is located at the 9 o'clock position on a square casing. The shape was revolutionary at the time for a chronograph watch.
Early versions came with two different colour schemes. The first (represented by the letter B at the end of the reference code) had a metallic blue dial with white registers. The other (represented by the letter G) had a metallic grey dial and registers. The G model is less popular with collectors.
Named in honour of the Formula One race, the original Jack Heuer designed Monaco was introduced simultaneously in Geneva and New York City in 1969. The watch used the mechanism of the Calibre 11 (also known as the Chronomatic) and was the first automatic micro-winding chronograph. The Monaco was the first square-cased and water resistant chronograph.
The original model came with a Chronomatic lettering at top of dial and Monaco at the bottom. In later models, the Monaco lettering can be seen on top with Automatic Chronograph at the bottom. The lettering appears on all Calibre variants. It was removed after the Valjoux movement was introduced in later production life.
Soon after the watch was in production, a version was released with an improved Calibre 12 mechanism. As rare as the original, it is believed that 800 were made before it was discontinued.
The Monaco 1133 became synonymous with Steve McQueen when he wore it in his 1971 film, Le Mans. His association with this model began when McQueen sought the advice of his friend Jo Siffert to increase the accuracy of his race car driver role. Siffert, in addition to being a racing driver, was also spokesperson for both Heuer and Gulf Oil. At McQueen’s request, Siffert lent him his racing suit which was adorned with Gulf Oil's colors and an embroidered "Chronograph HEUER" crest over the right breast. In order to complete the look, McQueen opted for the newly introduced B model Calibre 12 Monaco.
After McQueen arrived home following filming, he gave his watch to his financial advisor as a token of appreciation. The advisor was credited with returning McQueen and his company, Solar Productions Inc., into the black after they encountered financial problems during filming. Because of his association, the 1133 is commonly nicknamed "McQueen Monaco".
Even after his death in 1980, McQueen's name continued to be associated with the watch. TAG Heuer capitalized on his continuing popularity by using films stills of McQueen wearing his Monaco watch in advertising campaigns. In 1998, TAG Heuer reissued the model as a limited edition with a production run of 5,000 watches.
The McQueen Monaco has become one of the most sought after pieces in the international vintage markets. Demand exceeds supply. Original blue models can reach $13,000 with decent example for $10,000. The less desirable grey models sell for over $8,000.
An advert for the watch was also made in where McQueen races against McLaren Formula 1 racer Lewis Hamilton in "The Duel" which uses CGI and archive audio of the Race scene from Le Mans. Here McQueen loses against Hamilton at Le Mans and hands him his TAG Heuer watch as an award but Lewis tells him to keep it because he's living in the Future.
The Monaco 1533 was the last model to use the Calibre 15 movement. The watch came with a single 30-minute register, positioned on the right rather than the usual two.
1533s often sell for between $6,500 and $12,500, with the blue model typically fetching a premium.
In all, aside the blue models, the other two of the three variants, 73633G, came originally entirely in grey, later it was replaced by the black/dark grey subdials.
Blue models typically sell for $4,500 to $6,000.
The Monaco 74033 used a manual wind Valjoux 7740 mechanism. It came in two different colours, the mainstream model came in a Midnight Blue dial with white registers (74033N), its other and rarer variant, the all black PVD (Physical vapor deposition) variant, model 74033N; uses a special black coating where the name came from.
It was also one of the more controversial Heuer chronographs as until 2007, its authenticity had been long debated as some enthusiasts denied that they came from the Heuer factory, others stated that less than twenty were made. Stories about the watch vary between sources
In August 2007, Jack Heuer confirmed its production by Heuer which caused so much auction activity in July and August 2007. Being a rarer example of the Monacos, the best example cost more than $10,000. An excellent condition model sold for $7,500.
Monaco CS2110/1 "Heuer Re-Edition"Edit
This model is a reissued version of the original in 1998 produced in a limited edition of 5,000.
Despite the company being acquired by Techniques d'Avant Garde, meaning all subsequent models now bear the current "TAG Heuer" logo on its face, the CS2111 bears the old HEUER logo of its predecessors.
With a new updated casing design, it came in a "T" dial automatic movement with a black dial and leather strap, tan strap was the other choice. This model differ externally by its placement of the winding crown that is on the 3 o'clock position, rather that on the 9.
The Monaco was reintroduced in 2003, with an entirely new mechanism and a 7-row steel bracelet of square links.
This model runs on a Calibre 17 mechanism. As with all other models in production at the time, this version features the current logo, rather than the old "HEUER" logo of the previous re-edition.
The mechanism was inspired by the movement of an automobile engine. Designed by Jean-François Ruchonnet with the help of independent master watchmaker Philippe Dufour, the watch is powered by four barrels storing 375 g of energy each, that is visible through the back.
Monaco Sixty Nine CW9110Edit
Named after its introduction year, the Monaco Sixty Nine was introduced at the same time as the re-engineered version at the 2003 BaselWorld.
Monaco Calibre 360 LSEdit
The Monaco Calibre 360 LS (Linear Second) was unveiled at Baselworld 2006. It takes its inspiration from the aforementioned V4.
Unlike typical chronograph watches, there is no stopwatch dial. The watch features a 1/100th chronograph counter exterior to the chronograph engine, a 15 minute counter embedded in the chronograph engine, a similarly embedded 100 minute power reserve indicator and a linear second indicator at 3 o’clock using an exclusive hairspring technology, a first of its type.
Monaco Twenty FourEdit
In the 2009 BaselWorld, TAG Heuer introduced a concept watch called the Monaco 24. Named in honor of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race and bearing the distinctive striping of the Gulf Oil color livery, the watch takes its design cues from the Le Mans Prototypes that participate in the annual classic.
The Calibre 36 movement is cased within a steel-tube housing that can be seen through the dial face. The watch is constructed in industrial-grade tungsten.
According to an announcement by Jean-Christophe Babin, president of TAG Heuer, the watch is also named after the fact that it can withstand an impact of 24,000G, which is an equivalent to a 20 meter fall.
Monaco Calibre 6 WW211xEdit
The Monaco Calibre 6 does not feature a chronograph movement, is listed as Automatic Watch on the Tag website. Running on a Calibre 6 automatic movement which it takes its name from, the watch features a small seconds counter that is seen at the 6 o'clock position. This piece has an exhibition back with the mechanical movement visible. The Calibre 6 also featured an "All Black" limited edition, with limited production numbers this watch is surely one to watch as its limited availability will prompt price jumps in the future.
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the watch was re-issued as a Monaco Classic with a listed Calibre 11 movement on a limited edition basis of 1,000 in 2009. Despite using the casing of the recent editions, the pushbuttons are mounted in the same position as the originals and uses the old "HEUER" logo. Pictures of the Cal 11 from the Siffert Reissue, however indicate that this new Cal 11 differs from the original - it is not a microrotor, and it has a different jewel count (55 vs. the original 17.)
Monaco Grande DateEdit
Introduced in 2009 as a higher end luxury version of the Calibre 6 and marketed toward the fashion-forward and self-assured ladies, the Monaco Grande Date is smaller than typical Monaco models. The watch is only available with a white alligator leather strap with nacre dial that is adorned with 13 Top Wesselton diamonds and a case embellished with 26 Top Wesselton diamonds at the bezel.
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