Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer released a special edition of its Monaco model to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Gulf brand’s presence in car racing in 2017. The new model is inspired by the iconic timepiece worn by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film Le Mans.
Hollywood actors like James Dean and Marlon Brando represented the aesthetics of their time: youth, adventure, irreverence, success, and freedom, which turned them into box office favorites for decades. But few portrayed the rebellious spirit of the 70s with the glamour, masculinity, and adrenaline that characterized Steve McQueen.
Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer released a special edition of its Monaco model to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Gulf brand’s presence in car racing.
In McQueen’s case, his public persona was an extension of his personal life. One of the actor’s greatest thrills was racing cars and motorcycles. It is widely known that he insisted on doing his stunts during his intense chase scenes, and on more than one occasion he flirted with the idea of becoming a professional racer.
In 1969, Tag Heuer introduced the original Monaco model. It was notable at the time for its features, which included an automatic movement with mechanical functioning and cutting-edge design. But it was not until 1971 that this piece became a worldwide sensation, when Steve McQueen’s character wore it prominently in the movie Le Mans, along with a fire-resistant impeccable white racing suit displaying Gulf’s blue and orange stripes. The TAG Heuer model became an instant cult classic and has become one of today’s most coveted timepieces among watch aficionados who love car racing.
The new limited edition’s design is sleek and youthful and features the same blue dial as the original. Heuer advertised its watch at the time with the slogan “The blue-eyed actor and his blue watch”. The new model deviates from the original by adding Gulf’s distinctive stripes to the right and the brand’s logo at the 6 o’clock position, above the calendar.
The watch has a sub-dial with the seconds at the 3 o’clock position, the minute sub-dial at 9 o’clock, and an impressive sapphire glass cover with faceted corners. The hour control is to the left and the rectangular buttons on the right activate the watch’s functions.
Inside, we have a TAG Heuer Caliber 11 system that oscillates at 4Hz and has a 40-hour reserve. The mechanism is similar to the original version, but includes all the technical and structural advantages of modern mechanical watchmaking.
This special edition comes with a blue calf leather band with noticeable orange stitching, thus carrying the Gulf theme throughout the piece in celebration of the brand’s 50 years of involvement with the world of racing.
The TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition, with an exclusive retail price in the U.S.A. of$5,900, is a collector dream for those who fine watch lovers, racing aficionados, film enthusiasts, and, of course, for fans of the unforgettable Steve McQueen. ■