We’ve been lusting after a genuine vintage Tag Heuer Monaco Chronograph (or Heuer Monaco, if we’re being accurate) watch for many moons now. Not only is it an awesome-looking watch, the Heuer Monaco is also a hot collector’s item, and makes for a real conversational piece.
So this got us to thinking- what’s the story with this watch that makes it so desirable (and so darn hard to find)?!?
Back in 1969, the Heuer Monaco debuted as the first chronograph watch to feature an automatic movement. Additionally the Monaco was the first SQUARE chronograph watch available on the market.
Beyond its technical innovations, the Heuer Monaco (another fun fact- the TAG Heuer brand we know today did not exist prior to the 1985 TAG Group’s acquisition of the Heuer brand), has a culturally rich past. It was originally conceived in honor of the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix (hence the name), and came to notable fame when actor Steve McQueen wore the watch in the 1971 film Le Mans (a cult favorite among racing fans). The watch has since become synonymous with McQueen and in 2003 Tag Heuer reintroduced the watch in response to McQueen’s popularity.
If you are looking to purchase one of the original Heuer Monaco Chronographs, it is important to keep in mind that the original Monaco was discontinued in the mid-70s. Tag reissued the watch with a new design in 1998, and many of the “Steve McQueen” models you see out there are the reissued, modern version of the original Monaco.
With such a (comparatively) small window of production with the original Monaco watches, there is certainly a very limited pool of original vintage models out on the market today. So if you find one, or have one to sell, let us know! After writing this article, we’re itching for one of these legendary watches even more.
(photos c/o google image search: calibre11.com & watchanish)