LOS ANGELES, Apr 20, 2009 / FW/ — The year was 1969; the movie – “Le Mans” a racing feature; the actor, Steve McQueen, Hollywood’s ‘King of Cool’ and the watch, TAG Heuer Monaco. Forty years had passed since then; Steve McQueen is gone, but his legacy lives on while TAG Heuer Monaco is being re-issued in June as a limited-edition timepiece.
As it is with legends, there is always a story behind it. The movie “Le Mans” recounts the story of two teams competing on the world’s most difficult endurance race course, found in Le Mans, France.
Striving for the utmost accuracy in portraying race car driver Michael Delaney, Steve McQueen consulted his friend, Grand Prix champion and TAG Heuer ambassador Jo Siffert. At McQueen’s request, Siffert lent the actor his white racing suit, which was adorned with a “Chronograph HEUER” crest over the right breast.
To complete the look, McQueen opted to wear in the film the brand’s new Monaco automatic Calibre 11. Since then, the model has been referred to as the “McQueen Monaco.”
But, it was not the movie that made TAG Heuer Monaco legendary. Its groundbreaking square case and clean geometric shape marked a radical departure from the rounded dials of the 1960s.
Prior to the Monaco’s debut, watchmakers had been unable to create perfect water-resistant square or barrel-type cases, forcing them to produce only circular dials. TAG Heuer’s patented water-proofing system allowed for a break from convention, and the creation of the Monaco’s emblematic design. The timepiece is water resistant to 50 meters.
The latest iteration of the Monaco is a limited quantity release of 1,000 pieces. The Monaco’s caseback is signed by TAG Heuer honorary chairman Jack Heuer, and engraved with “in tribute to Steve McQueen.”
The 40th anniversary chronograph is delivered in a special box and accompanied by both a dark blue alligator and punched calfskin strap, the latter of which resembles the original strap. It will retail for approximately $7,900.
Photo courtesy of TAG Heuer