TAG Heuer Unveils Its Second 50th Anniversary Monaco Release At Le Mans
Last month, TAG Heuer marked the golden jubilee of its iconic Monaco chronograph at the F1 race that inspired its name.
Hardened motorsport fans (and attentive horophiles) will, however, recognise another meeting for which the Monaco is possibly even more famous: the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the punishing road race at which the world's first water resistant square-cased chronograph came of age – two years after launch – when it was cast as the timing sidearm of the star of 1971's Le Mans, Steve McQueen.
According to legend, although it featured one of the first automatic chronograph movements – and of course that out-of-the-box case shape – the Monaco was something of a dud at launch. However, following McQueen's spotting of a Heuer logo on the race overalls of Swiss F1 driver Jo Siffert, he chose a Monaco to wear throughout filming. The movie was an expensive failure (McQueen was eventually removed from direction duties after its producers caught sight of the escalating budget and sprawling shoot), but the watch went on to help define TAG Heuer's reputation for precision watchmaking with an avant garde edge.
To mark this weekend's race at the sinuous, 8.5-mile circuit southwest of Paris at Sarthe, the brand has released the second in its series of five anniversary models, each of which celebrates a decade in the watch's undoubtedly eventful life.
TAG Heuer Monaco 1979–1989 Limited Edition, $6,738 at TAG Heuer
Offered on a black calfskin 'automotive' strap (punctured with holes lined in red), the iconic stainless-steel square case features a red sunray dial with two rhodium-plated subdials with curved edges. Black and white accents on the dial complement the black-tipped hour and minute hands, and the hands and indexes are coated with Super-LumiNova® for improved legibility.
An unconventional feature that has distinguished the Monaco over the past 50 years are the chronograph's pushers, which are situated on the right of the case (the crown sits on the left). Needless to say, this 80s-inspired edition model continues the tradition.
Engraved on its case back is the “Monaco Heuer” logo as well as “1979-1989 Special Edition” and “One of 169” (indicating the relatively demure size of this limited series).