By Teresa Greco
The third of five limited-edition models of the Tag Heuer Monaco pays tribute to the themes, styles, and trends of the 1990s. In celebration of the popular model’s 50th anniversary, the Swiss watchmaker released five special-edition tributes to the Monaco. Each of the five Monaco watches is inspired by the different decades from 1969 to 2019. When the Tag Heuer Monaco was first introduced on March 3, 1969, watch aficionados around the world had witnessed the very first square and waterproof chronograph in the world, thus changing the face of luxury Swiss watchmaking forever.
The 1989-1999 Special Edition Monaco features a steely industrial appearance, characteristic of the straightforward street style of this decade. The blue and silvery appearance also has some touches of red, while the stainless-steel square chronograph has a grained rhodium-plated dial with sandblasted subdials featuring blue counters. The blue of the ‘Monaco Heuer’ logo (historically accurate rather than the modern TAG Heuer logo) at 12 o’clock, and the minute and second scales counters provide a contrast to the red touches on the hands and indexes and the red motif on the dial. The blue perforated calfskin strap with red stitching and a polished folding clasp in stainless steel continues this colour scheme.
Also present in this special edition is the four-sided 39-mm vintage-look steel case, the date window at 6 o’clock, and the unconventional placement that has distinguished the Monaco over the past 50 years — the pushers on the right of the case while the crown is on the left. The case houses the Calibre 11, a modern version of the automatic-winding chronograph movement that made its debut inside the original Monaco in 1969. The caseback of this wristwatch is engraved with the “Monaco Heuer” logo as well as “1989-1999 Special Edition” and “One of 169.”
The Monaco watch was introduced by Heuer in 1969 for the Monaco Grand Prix. A watch ahead of its time, the Heuer Monaco was a square watch in an ocean of round timepieces. “We wanted to create an outstanding and innovative product, something avant-garde. When I saw the square case, I immediately knew it was something special. Until then, square cases were only used for dress watches because it was not possible to make them water-resistant. We went forward with this unconventional design and negotiated the exclusive use of this revolutionary case for the Monaco wrist chronograph.” – TAG Heuer Honorary Chairman Jack Heuer.
The brand, well recognised in the world of motorsport, entered the sphere of popular culture when Steve McQueen wore the watch in the 1971 feature film, Le Mans. When Steve McQueen was asked to choose a watch to wear in his role as a motor racing driver in the movie, he picked Heuer’s Monaco 113 watch with the square case and a blue dial; and sales of the Monaco soared with new versions introduced throughout the early seventies.
Each of the 50th Anniversary Special Edition Monaco watches is limited to 169 pieces and retails for $6,550 US.