There’s no need to remind you that this year marks the 50th anniversary of multiple milestones for the watch industry – including the Moon landing and the first automatic chronographs – but also the launch of one of the most iconic racing chronographs, the Heuer Monaco. Fifty years ago, this square-shaped watch, with one of the earliest self-winding chrono movements inside (Calibre 11) hit the market. To celebrate fifty years of Monaco, TAG Heuer has prepared several highly exclusive watches, and the second one we present today, the Monaco 1979-1989 Limited Edition, plays on a red-hot racing theme.
50 years of an icon
The Heuer Monaco was presented in 1969. Back then, it was one impressively modern watch, for two reasons. First, the square shape of its case was bold, unprecedented and was matched with an equally bold, brushed blue dial. Second, inside the case was Calibre 11; a movement known as the Chrono-Matic, which was the result of a joint-venture uniting Heuer, Breitling, Hamilton-Buren and chronograph specialist Dubois-Depraz to develop one of the earliest self-winding chronograph movements. Cutting-edge back then, the Heuer Monaco and subsequent TAG Heuer Monaco watches would become some of the most recognizable pieces.
Success wasn’t immediate, however – as we were reminded by TAG’s CEO in this video and Patrick Dempsey here. What pushed the Monaco to the forefront of the watchmaking scene was due to one movie and the man wearing this watch in front of the camera: Mister “King of Cool” Steve McQueen. At the height of his popularity, his performance as racer Michael Delaney in the 1971 movie Le Mans is, without doubt, one of his most cult roles and one of the main reasons behind the iconic status of the Heuer Monaco – and something that boosted sales of this watch…
Heuer has always been associated with motorsport and racing cars in general, as the official timekeeper of F1 and sponsor of various racing teams and pilots. Positioning the watches in the dynamic world of motorsports was a stroke of genius on behalf of Jack Heuer, which in turn led to lucrative product placement. Since then, the Monaco remains closely linked to the racing world and the latest 50th-anniversary watch, the TAG Heuer Monaco 1979-1989 Limited Edition, is no exception to the rule – and to push the concept even further, it will be officially launched this weekend at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The TAG Heuer Monaco 1979-1989 Limited Edition
To celebrate the 50th-anniversary of the Monaco, TAG Heuer has chosen a rather surprising strategy. One could have expected to see some faithful re-editions of past models, such as a 1-to-1 version of the inaugural reference 1133 or other vintage models. Instead, the brand has decided to create five original watches, inspired by the five decades of Monaco. The first model, the 1969-1979 version, was clearly playing on the 1970s trend, with a unique green dial with stripes. The second model, a tribute to the 1980s, is an ode to motorsport.
The new TAG Heuer Monaco 1979-1989 Limited Edition is another super exclusive watch. Like the four other editions, it will be limited to only 169 pieces (so you know what to do if you want one). Also, like the other editions, it is built around on a well-known technical base, the classic Monaco Calibre 11. For this reason, the steel case sticks to the iconic 39mm x 39mm proportions, with an angular shape, a combination of polished and brushed surfaces and, of course, the crown positioned at 9 o’clock – otherwise, let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be a true Monaco watch.
The main point of these Monaco 50th-anniversary editions is about animating the dials. As we mentioned, the first version features a funky striped green dial with yellow accents (the 1970s……), resulting in a very appealing piece. The second model is more faithful to the background behind this watch, and was inspired by the madness of F1 during the 1980s – the era of all the innovations, of the turbocharged engines, of the 1400+ bhp cars, of the ground-effect devices… cutting-edge design and racing victory!
This theme is the lifeblood of the TAG Heuer Monaco 1979-1989 Limited Edition, with its fiery, bold red dial. The colour isn’t the only difference compared to the classic blue Monaco (the Steve McQueen-inspired model ref. CAW211P). That red dial isn’t horizontally brushed or matte but adorned with a sunray brushed pattern, radiating from the centre of the dial. The result is a vivid and playful dial, which changes colour according to the ambient light – from a dark burgundy red to a bright “Ferrari” red. Also new are the sub-counters. Usually shaped as squares with rounded angles, TAG Heuer introduces here some new ones, with a more ovoid/cushion design. These are horizontally brushed and rhodium plated.
The rest of the dial of this Monaco 1979-1989 Limited Edition is the same as the other models, with the typical horizontal, polished, faceted applied indexes, and the “Monaco” hands filled with white Super-LumiNova. For the rest, the display is familiar, with a date at 6 o’clock framed by a white painted line, small seconds at 3 o’clock and a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock. The old “Heuer” logo has also been kept.
Powering the Monaco 1979-1989 Limited Edition is the Calibre 11 – well, not the 1969 version, but a modern movement modified to have the crown at 9 o’clock. This calibre is based on an automatic Sellita SW-300 with Dubois-Depraz chronograph module, ticking at 4Hz and with a 40-hour power reserve. It is hidden behind a closed steel caseback with “1979-1989 Special Edition” and “One of 169” engravings.
To give the final racing touch to this red-hot version of the Monaco, TAG Heuer went for an appropriate perforated leather strap in black with red leather lining. It is secured by a “Heuer-shaped” folding clasp.
Price and availability
TAG Heuer Monaco 1979-1989 Limited Edition reference CAW211W.FC6467 will be produced in 169 pieces only. This 1980s-inspired model is packaged in a dark blue box decorated with the Heuer logo and a horizontal chequer-pattern stripe. The watch is presented on a grey cushion and surrounded by a red interior. It will be priced at CHF 6,400 – EUR 5,950 – USD 6,550. The watch is due in the coming days (June 2019).
More details on this watch and the 50th-anniversary collection on TAG Heuer’s dedicated website.