As we continue our series focussing on the collector’s items which every man should own, it’s becoming clear that Hollywood icon Steve McQueen had excellent taste; not only did he wear Persol sunglasses, but he also made his TAG Heuer Monaco watch into a piece of covetable design. The Monaco was named after the Monaco Grand Prix in 1969 and McQueen wore the revolutionary square cased chronographic watch in the 1971 film, Le Mans, in which he played a racing driver. McQueen based his character on his Swiss racing driver friend Jo Siffert, who was sponsored by Heuer, and he wore the TAG Monaco to make his role as authentic as possible, as well as Siffert’s own racing suit.
The TAG Monaco was revolutionary both for its technical capabilities – it had the first completely waterproof square casing and the self-winding and astonishingly precise Chronomatic ‘Calibre 11’ movement – and for its distinctive geometric shape. That unbeatable combination of performance and style made it an instant hit with sportsmen and the style set.
The model was discontinued in the mid ‘70s, but has been reissued several times since, most recently in 2009 – in part thanks to McQueen’s enduring popularity as a style icon. Only a few of the original are still in circulation, and when a vintage McQueen Monaco (Model 1133B) comes onto the open market it can reach up to $9,000. Recent incarnations retain the original style that impressed McQueen, but also feature the latest cutting-edge technology, keeping the Monaco at the forefront of watch design and a timeless piece, whichever model you choose.