About TAG Heuer Monaco Watches
The Tag Heuer: Monaco was launched in 1969, both in Geneva and New York on March 3rd. The Monaco is revolutionary in that it was the very first water-resistant, square automatic chronograph in Swiss watchmaking. Its aesthetics are highly unique, with a metallic blue or grey dial, a minute hand that was bright red, and a distinctive crown that did not need winding. The Tag Heuer: Monaco was named for the Monaco Grand Prix, which is one of the most prestigious and well-known automobile races in the world.
In addition to its striking design, the technology within the watch was equally impressive: this was the first square watch to be water resistant, and it featured the Chronomatic Calibre 11 (the first for sale automatic chronograph movement). The watch is 39mm in size and features a date window at 6 o’clock. The horizontal indices are diamond-polished, and the timepiece is water resistant to 100 meters.
In 1971, Steve McQueen wore the watch in the 1971 film Le Mans to enhance his accuracy as a race car driver. As a result, the watch has since been associated with the star and was nicknamed the “McQueen Monaco.” The TAG Heuer brand continued to use his name and image (from still films) in advertising even after his death. This model became one of the most popular within vintage markets. As a result, in 1998, the brand created 5,000 reissued “McQueen Monacos.” One of the original Monaco watches worn during the film by McQueen was sold at an auction for $650,000 in 2012.
In 2004, TAG Heuer introduced the Monaco V4 prototype to the world as the first watch with linear mass and ball bearings in place of the traditional wheels and pinions, as well as the first watch with belt drives. This model, more based in luxury than previous models, was inspired by the engine in an automobile. Although it went through many changes, it was ready for release five years after the introduction of the prototype.
The Monaco classic was issued in 2009 to celebrate the watch’s 40th anniversary. It differed from the original in that the Calibre 11 chronograph had a different jewel count and was not a micromotor. The Monaco Grande Date was also created in 2009 as a more high-end model of the Calibre 6. This piece was marketed towards women with an eye for luxury and is only available with an alligator leather strap, a dial adorned with Wesselton diamonds, and an embellished case featuring 26 additional Wesselton diamonds along the bezel.
This year in May was a big year for the brand, because it was the 50th anniversary of the TAG Heuer Monaco. Before the start of the Monaco Grand Prix, they unveiled the first of five limited edition anniversary watches all modeled after those released between 1969 and 1979. They will reveal each of the five throughout the year.
This avant-garde and non-traditional timepiece is forever associated with the world of racecar driving. The Monaco is one of the most well-known and highly regarded TAG Heuer timepieces. It is instantly recognizable, and despite its long history, it has remained steady in its unique appearance and capabilities.