At eRelyx, we are gearing up for the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans is this weekend – the drivers parade is today and the race starts tomorrow, finishes on Sunday. Celebrating 90 years this year as what is arguably the worlds most famous endurance race, Le Mans has certainly made its mark.
Ever wonder why the ignition for a Porsche is on the left hand side? Well, you can thank Le Mans. In the 1960s drivers ran to their cars, started them and then took off. By allowing the driver to start the ignition with his left hand and put the car into gear with his right, Porsche gained a few tenths of a second on the field. That’s the kind of attention to detail that leads to performance and luxury.
And speaking of luxury, there has been a longstanding history between auto-racing and luxury watches. Numerous Tag Heuer models have their roots in the sport of racing; the Carerra, Grand Carerra and Formula One all share performance racing as inspiration. Most notably, of course, is the Heuer Monaco made famous by Steve McQueen’s 1971 film “Le Mans” about (…wait for it…) this very race.
However this year’s Le Mans will NOT be sponsored by Tag Heuer, but by Rolex, the king of luxury watches. Porsche Design luxury watches are obviously rooted in racing, and both Breitling and Panerai have collaborated with several automakers on special edition watches, as well.
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)
Foreign languages are not my thing. I majored in English for a reason. I, like many Americans, am not good at mimicking the elegant fluidity the romance languages possess. But like any good actress (or, as in my case, general poseur) will tell you, its all about practice, practice, practice.
Luckily, for all of you out there who also count yourselves among the phonetically challenged, we have found a solution! Check out this neat little break-down of the most troublesome high-end jewelry/watch designer names, written up by the folks over at TheVivant.com. Commit these to memory and you’ll be speaking “fancy luxury brand expert” in no time!
Audemars Piguet: OH-duh-MAHR PEA-GAY
We’re in awe of the beautiful detailing and intricacy of the watches from this Swiss brand that boasts celebrity fans like Justin Timberlake and Usher.
There is nothing vulgar about the accessories from this Italian jewelry brand that was founded in 1884.
This Swiss watch brand is behind the most expensive watch in the world, worth $5 million.
Jaeger LeCoultre: Yay-GER leh-KOOLT
Jagermeister is German, but this watch manufacturer is Swiss. Nonetheless, we’re practically a “Koolt” as we worship this luxury brand’s classic and elegant designs.
Patek Philippe: pah-TEK fil-EEP
Pronounce the second word the same way you would say the well known Chinese restaurant chain by the same name. Luckily there is nothing greasy about this designer’s watches.
If you say Piaget too quickly it sounds like PJs. Seems proper considering the jewelry and watches from this designer are so fabulous they would dress up just about anything.
Tag Heuer: TAHG HOI-ur
We wonder how long it took the face of this brand’s campaign, Leonardo DiCaprio, to pronounce this name properly?
Ulysse Nardin: you-LEESE nahr-DAN
Here’s a shout out to all Greek mythology gurus or Brad Pitt fans—Ulysse was the Greek king that took over Troy. They were known for their many ships, which seems fitting as this watch brand stamps an anchor on all their watches.
Van Cleef & Arpels: Van Cleef and ahr-PELL
Cleef rhymes with leaf and this jewelry designer takes a lot of its inspiration from nature.
Vacheron Constantin: VASH-er-ahn kon-stan-TAN
Just as Constantine was a great Roman emperor, this brand is a longtime (since 1755) king of exceptional Swiss watches.
Just as a holiday treat for those of you reading at home, we’re giving you a special look at some of the best, and most candid, shots from our eRelyx photo shoot this past Monday with our gorgeous spokesmodel, Jen Welsh.
We have to thank the team at Alton Lane- a bespoke men’s clothier- who generously offered us the use of their awesome showroom, located on Boston’s famous Newbury Street (91 Newbury Street, to be exact). Keep them in mind if you’re in Boston area, or- if you’re anything like us and still working on that Christmas shopping- a custom fitting makes a great gift for any guy on your list! For more details, visit Alton Lane’s website here.
Also be sure to check out our favorite eRelyx watches from the shoot (below)- all of which would make a gift that someone special (or you!) is sure to love. Plus, you can still get that gift by Christmas when you order by 2pm (EST) Thursday 12/20!
Looking for a great gift for that special lady in your life? Or maybe you’re just looking to treat yourself to a little something special under the tree this year… (Hey, we’re not judging!)
No matter the reason, we’ve got 5 incredible luxury watches that are sure to fit just about any woman’s style, and wont break the bank. Giving a gift this good is sure to earn you a spot on the Nice List.
This eBay auction is worth following. Someone might walk away with a great deal on a Tag Heuer Grand Carrera Chronograph.
What’s not to love? It ships from Bulgaria and is being sold by a user with no feedback.
Okay, I’m joking. Who is bidding on this stuff?!?! What are the odds that they actually get the watch in the pictures?
Don’t risk it – you can pick up an UNWORN Tag Heuer Grand Carrera Chronograph from eRelyx for an amazing price – $4099!!! Click here for details.
Departures magazine recently published a slide show of the “12 Perfect Men’s Steel Watches.” Click here for the entire slideshow.
The brands on the list include:
Carl F Bucherer
What do you think about the list? I noticed two things as I scrolled through the list. First, no Omega, Breguet, Panerai, IWC? Wow. That surprised me a bit – and yes, I understand that there can only be 12. Second, I didn’t like many of the watches. Sure, I’d wear an $800K FP Journe because it’s a work of art, but it isn’t exactly gorgeous.