We knew this watch was a very important historical piece. We knew it was in the starting blocks to break a record, as possibly the most expensive Heuer ever auctioned… And it did. The reason is simple. The present vintage Heuer Monaco 1133B is not any Monaco watch. It once was one of the Heuer Monaco 1133B worn by Steve McQueen while filming his iconic racing film, Le Mans. As such, it is one of the watches that gave this very watch its “Monaco Steve McQueen” nickname. And considering what happened with Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Daytona, the result of Phillip’s Racing Pulse auction was expected to be high. And at USD 2,208,000, it is not only high, but this 1133B Heuer Monaco Worn by Steve McQueen in ‘Le Mans’ sets a new record.
This watch is one of the most iconic chronographs on the market. Its fame owes much to its cameo role on the wrist of Steve McQueen in the 1971 movie Le Mans. McQueen’s performance as racer Michael Delaney is, without doubt, one of his most cult roles. Although the Monaco shot to fame on his wrist, the genesis of this unconventional square chronograph coincided with a genuine technological revolution and a frantic race to launch the world’s first automatic chronograph. It is one of the six Heuer Monaco watches used on the set of Le Mans and this specific example was later gifted to Haig Alltounian, who served as the Chief Mechanic for the film as well as Steve McQueen’s personal mechanic. It is engraved with the caption “TO HAIG LE MANS 1970” on the caseback.
For the record, the last time one of the six Heuer Monaco watches used on the set of Le Mans was offered at auction, it sold for about USD 800,000 (back in 2012). However, in 8 years, the vintage watch market has changed drastically and, without surprise, the watch offered today by Phillips, under the hammer of Aurel Bacs, just broke the previous price, by quite a margin. It indeed achieved an impressive USD 2,208,000, making this very watch the most expensive Heuer ever auctioned – and most certainly the most expensive Heuer ever sold.
More details at www.phillips.com.