On March 3, 1969, the watch company Heuer (the abbreviation TAG in the brand name will appear only in 1985) organized two press conferences simultaneously: in Geneva and New York. An unusual watch in a square case was presented to the public. However, the design was radical in all respects: a metal blue dial, red and blue hands, a crown located on the left side. “We wanted to create something avant-garde,” recalls Jack Hoyer, great-grandson of founder Edward Hoyer and then CEO and now Chairman Emeritus of TAG Heuer. - At the sight of the square case, I immediately realized that this is exactly what you need. Previously, such a case could only be seen in executive-class watches, since it was impossible to make them sealed."
1 of 8 1971 Monaco Watches worn by racer Steve McQueen in Le Mans © Press Office Set of five collectible Monaco Through Time models © Press Office Monaco Watches 1969–1979 Limited Edition © Press Office Monaco Watches 1979 –1989 Limited Edition © press service Monaco watches 1989–1999 Limited Edition © press service Monaco watches 1999–2009 Limited Edition © press service Monaco watches 2009–2019 Limited Edition © press service
The avant-garde design (the first square water-resistant watch) forced the watchmakers to create a special movement. Heuer engineers worked on the development together with Breitling, Hamilton, as well as the factories of mechanisms Buren and Dubois-Dépraz. The Caliber 11 Chronomatic was the first automatic chronograph caliber with a modular structure (a Dubois-Dépraz chronograph module was added to the basic Buren micro-rotor movement).
Jack Hoyer considered auto racing to be an ideal guide to the world of watches. He wanted his company's products, including dashboard timers, to be associated with the names and locations of major competitions. So the new square model was named Monaco in honor of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and in 1971 the sports watch was lucky to hit the big screen in the movie Le Mans on the wrist of the legendary racer Steve McQueen.
Steve McQueen © press service
TAG Heuer Monaco celebrated its 50th anniversary throughout the year and around the world with a limited edition of five models, each symbolizing a decade of iconic chronograph style. All retain the original's 39mm case, recognizable horizontal hour markers and the crown on the left, perforated leather strap and automatic Caliber 11 (the chronograph module is still made by Dubois-Dépraz).
The first celebrations were timed to coincide with the Monaco Grand Prix in May (the watch brand has been the official watch partner of this stage of the rally since 2011). The first collector's model Monaco 1969–1979 Limited Edition is inspired by the 70s: the khaki-colored dial is decorated with vertical grinding in the form of stripes. The second novelty from the anniversary series in a rich red tones reminds of the style of the 80s, its premiere took place in June at Le Mans, France. The Monaco Caliber 11 Limited Edition 1989-1999 with a silvery grained dial was presented in New York on the eve of the Formula E racing championship. A fourth model, inspired by the early 2000s, was first seen at the Horyuji Treasure Gallery in Tokyo. The last in a series of anniversary presentations was the Monaco Caliber 11 Limited Edition 2009–2019 chronograph shown in Shanghai,symbolizing the modern history of the legend of watchmaking. Each version of the jubilee five comes in a limited edition of 169 numbered pieces, reminiscent of the commemorative engraving on the steel case back.
1 of 3 Chronograph 1133B, 1969 © press service © press service © press service
The hero of the occasion did not stand aside either. The original 1969 chronograph with reference number 1133B (the letter denotes the blue color of the dial) was recovered from the TAG Heuer archives. The Heuer-branded specimen has been scrutinized by the Heritage Department, and the 11th gauge has been taken apart for the first time. The craftsmen replaced some parts, polished the functional surfaces and screw heads, and also hand-engraved in the style of the late 60s. Now through the transparent case back (it was deaf in the watch 50 years ago) you can see the engraved inscription “Cal. Eleven”on the chronograph bridge and“Monaco”engraving on the watch wheel bridge (both bridges were re-made). Four masters worked on the reconstruction of the historical chronograph for three months.Existing in a single copy watch Monaco Piece d'Art in a wooden lacquer box was put up for auction at the auction house Phillips and went under the hammer for $ 81.3 thousand with a declared estimate of $ 30-60 thousand.>