Recently, TAG Heuer announced the signature of a global partnership with GULF, one of the most iconic sponsors of the motorsports world – most of us can easily recall the light blue and orange racing liveries. This resulted in the creation of a special edition Monaco Calibre 11 (ref. CAW211R), which was reviewed here – with the iconic GULF colours printed on its dial. As if that was not enough, there is another one coming soon in stores, the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Gulf 50th Anniversary CAW211T. And if it looks 90% identical to the other model, you’ll have to be fast as we’re talking about a very, very limited edition here.
Another Monaco/GULF watch in addition to the already existing CAW211R (special but non-limited edition) that is found in the current collection? What for…? Certainly, the watch that we’re presenting today is nothing extraordinary in terms of product itself and remains close to what TAG can already offer to watch enthusiasts. Yet, with the CAW211T, we’re in front of a true collector’s watch, a watch that has a solid collectable interest, as we’re talking about truly limited production. The watch will be officially launched during the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018 (16-17 June 2018) and is meant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first victory of a GULF-sponsored car at Le Mans – the 1968 edition was won by team “John Wyer Automotive Engineering” and its pilots Pedro Rodríguez and Lucien Bianchi on a GULF-coloured Ford GT40 Mk.1 (with the iconic light blue body and orange stripe).
So what is this TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Gulf 50th Anniversary CAW211T all about? Just like the previous non-limited GULF special edition, it is a true Monaco, meaning a left-handed watch with the crown at 9 o’clock and the chronograph pushers on the right side of the case. This model is based on the on the 2015 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 “Steve McQueen” ref. CAW211P, which we reviewed here. This means a 39mm x 39mm steel case with polished and brushed surfaces, a squarish design with sharp facets and the straight, integrated lugs. A sort of back-to-basics model which is inspired by the iconic 1969 Monaco Calibre 11 worn by Steve McQueen in the “Le Mans” movie.
As for the dial, this TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Gulf 50th Anniversary CAW211T also takes the “McQueen” version as its base, with the two silver opaline squared sub-counters and the historically relevant horizontal applied and faceted indices. A round minutes/seconds track still circles the dial and the time is indicated by large, facetted polished hands with red accents. Finally, the GULF colours are easily visible with light blue and orange stripes, as well as a GULF logo positioned at 6 o’clock, above the date window.
Powering this new reference CAW211T is the ubiquitous calibre 11, meaning an inverted automatic ETA base movement (3-hand) with a Dubois-Depraz module on top – in order to have the crown positioned at 9 o’clock. This movement, visible through the case back, offers 42 hours of power reserve and beats at a modern 4Hz frequency.
With all of that in mind, there are clearly many resemblances between the CAW211R and this new CAW211T. What are the differences?
- The perforated leather strap is now black (not blue) with orange lining and orange stitchings
- The blue stripe on the dial is lighter and closer to the original GULF colour found on the liveries of vintage racecars (the blue stripe is darker on the CAW211R)
- The case back has a specific GULF printed decal – 50th Anniversary of the first GULF victory
Clearly, these are minor differences. What could then justify the existence (and the acquisition) of such a watch? Answer: its ultra-limited production. TAG Heuer is a large company that produces around 650,000 to 700,000 watches a year (according to several sources). Limited editions are usually produced in 500 or 1,000 pieces (if not more). However, this TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Gulf 50th Anniversary CAW211T will be produced in 50 pieces (yes, five-zero) only, making it one of the most collectable modern TAG Heuer timepieces. Which means that you’ll have to be fast to get your hands on one of the few examples available.
The 50 examples of this TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Gulf 50th Anniversary CAW211T will be individually numbered on the caseback (XX/50) and priced at CHF 6,200. More details on www.tagheuer.com.