One of the new models launched during Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022 is a watch that is a true blend of emblematic features. Not only is it one of the most iconic models in the history of TAG Heuer, with a connection to motorsports and one of the most legendary cars ever, but its colour scheme will immediately talk to all petrolheads. Today, TAG Heuer brings back the Monaco in Gulf livery. And to make it even better, the watch that used to be powered by an outsourced movement has been replaced by an in-house-powered model. Here’s the fantastic new TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition Calibre Heuer 02… but with one minor complaint that I’ll mention later.
It might not be the place to review the entire story of the emblematic Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 and all its derivates here, but if you want to know more, you can watch this in-depth video that will explain everything. What’s more interesting is this: the link between Heuer (not yet TAG at that time) and Gulf, even though it was unofficial back then, dates back to 1971 with the launch of the movie Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen. He insisted on wearing a blue dial Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 Ref. 1133B throughout the filming of the movie when he drove the famous Porsche 917K. The car bore Gulf colours, meaning light blue with orange and dark blue stripes.
In the golden era of racing spanning the 1960s and 1970s, the main partner of Gulf was JW Automotive Engineering, a name that has left an indelible mark on the history of endurance racing. JW Automotive Engineering is perhaps most vividly remembered for its involvement in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with overall wins in 1968, 1969 and 1975. In addition, the team fielded entries in 1970 and 1971 with some of the most celebrated drivers of the era, including the famed Swiss pilot Jo Siffert, aboard the technical tour de force that was the Porsche 917. At this time, Siffert was a friend of Heuer, one of the first ambassadors as we know them today, and also the driving coach of Steve McQueen for the movie Le Mans. This is how the connection with Gulf, TAG Heuer and Porsche first came to life.
In 2007, in honour of this momentous association, TAG Heuer decided to create a Monaco edition using the Gulf colours. The concept returned in 2018 with the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition Calibre 11 reference CAW211R.FC6401. Based on the classic “Steve McQueen” edition of the watch, with the crown at 9 o’clock and a modular outsourced movement inside, it came with a striped dial and Gulf logo. Since then, many things have changed at TAG Heuer, including the fact that the brand launched the Monaco Calibre Heuer 02 with an in-house integrated chronograph movement. And based on this watch, the brand now brings back the Gulf Edition.
The new TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition is a slightly more refined, less blatant take on the Gulf colours than the previous version and is now powered by a modern engine. Basically, we’re talking about an evolution of the classic blue dial Monaco Heuer 02: a watch with a stainless steel case of 39mm x 39mm, with the emblematic and slightly odd square design, angular yet short lugs and a combination of finely brushed surfaces and polished accents. Facets are found everywhere, including the sapphire crystal with bevelled edges. The case is water-resistant to 100m and isn’t the thinnest, at about 15mm in height. But my main regret is to see the crown now located classically, at 3 o’clock. The quirky position at 9 o’clock, even if not really practical, was such an essential element in the design of the watch…
The main evolution of this 2022 TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition concerns the dial, which bears the three iconic colours of Gulf but this time in a more contemporary colour combination: the special dark blue, turquoise, and orange. The large stripes covering more than half of the dial in the previous model have been replaced by thin stripes on the right side, and the bright blue is replaced by turquoise. The watch features a large 60 applied at 12 o’clock (a nod to the racing number on the Porsche Gulf racing cars) and classic radially positioned applied markers on the periphery. The 12-hour counter is silver opaline, while the 30-minute counter features the partner’s three colours. Also, a premiere in the Monaco Gulf watch editions, the Gulf logo on the dial is totally white. Finally, the small seconds, at 6 o’clock, remains discreet and placed above the date, as with all Monaco Heuer 02 models.
Inside the case of the new Monaco Gulf Special Edition is the classic Calibre Heuer 02, a modern integrated chronograph movement with a column wheel and vertical clutch. Visible through a sapphire caseback, it beats at 4Hz and stores up to 80 hours of energy when fully wound. It’s personalized here with a blackened rotor, a column wheel and special engravings coloured to match the Gulf orange Pantone.
Availability & Price
The 2022 TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition is worn on a racing-inspired perforated blue calfskin strap with an orange lining, closed by a folding clasp. The watch is released as a special, not limited edition and will be available from May 2022 for CHF 6,900. For more details, please visit www.tagheuer.com.