Steve McQueen gave the SWISS watch to Haig Alltounian, the chief mechanic of Le Mans. As Alltounian said in the 2015 documentary “Steve McQueen: Man and Le Mans,” when McQueen handed the watch to Haig, he said, “Thank you for letting me live for these months.” Although Haig refused to accept it and suggested that McQueen give it to his wife or son, McQueen told him that he could not, because Haig’s name was already on it, and he quoted the inscription on the back of the case, “To Haig Le Mans 1970”. In 1971, an updated version of the 1133 model released an improved movement-Calibre 12-designed to increase the limited efficiency of the micro-rotor and increase the strength of the mainspring of Calibre 11. The beating frequency increased from 2.75 Hz (19,800 vibrations per hour) to 3.0 Hz (21,600 vph). One obvious difference between Calibre 11 and Calibre 12 is the color of the motherboard, which changes from silver to gold.
A year later, fierce competition in the watch market and the appreciation of the Swiss franc against the US dollar have almost doubled the retail price of Swiss watches. It is recommended that TAG Heuer develop a cheaper self-winding chronograph movement-Calibre 15-to be integrated in Monaco 1533B (blue dial) and 1533G (grey dial), as well as some Carrera an Autavia models, to reduce retail prices. In these models, the 12-hour chronograph is replaced by a continuous seconds display that is strangely located at 10 o’clock. Compared to reference 1133, reference 1533 also uses a more traditional radial hour marker.
In 1972, TAG Heuer also introduced the Monaco 73633 powered by the manual winding movement Valjoux 7736. The use of this movement brought several changes to the watch, the most obvious being that the crown moved back to the right. The date at 6 o’clock is removed to make room for consecutive seconds for the third subdial. And, of course, there is no description of “automatic chronograph”.
There are two versions to choose from: blue dial with white registers (73633B) and gray with gray or black registers (73633G).
With the release of Monaco 74033 in 1974, Heuer returned to the original dial layout. Equipped with Valjoux 7740 manual movement, 74033 has a thinner case than the reference 1133 and has a right-hand crown.
Together with the typical blue and gray dial version, TAG Heuer also created a small part of the black PVD coated Monaco reference 74033N (where N stands for black, black in French), but it was never included in the catalog. This model is called “The Dark Lord” by collectors and is extremely rare. According to Jack Hoya, a total of 100-200 units were produced.
Due to its radical design and unusual square case, Monaco’s success was limited. After the last attempt of the black 74033N, TAG Heuer decided to stop production.
Most experts agree that the production of various Monaco references during 1969-1975 was about 4,000-4,500 units.
But this is only the first part of the model’s history. In fact, at the end of the 1990s, Monaco re-emerged, this time with great success.
Prior to this, it is worth mentioning that in 1985, TAG Group (Techniques d’Avant-Garde) acquired a majority stake in Heuer and formed TAG Heuer.
The newly renamed cheap TAG Heuer modernized its product line and significantly increased its global sales (from 66 million Swiss francs in 1988 to 420 million Swiss francs in 1996). The financial success enabled the company to Listed on the Swiss and New York stock exchanges in September 1996.
In 1998, TAG Heuer realized the value of its heritage and decided to launch the “Re-Edition” series, a series of Carrera and Monaco timepieces inspired by the classic Heuer chronographs of the 1960s.
To promote Monaco, TAG Heuer contacted Steve McQueen’s son Chad McQueen to negotiate the right to use his father’s photo that died in 1980.
The first version of Monaco is a reference CS2110, with a black flat dial and old Heuer shield, a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, a second hand at 3 o’clock, and a date at 6 o’clock. The Monaco CS2110 is limited to 5,000 pieces and has a redesigned case with a winding crown and new buttons at 3 o’clock. Inside is an ETA 2894 automatic movement.
This remake has achieved huge sales and great success, so TAG Heuer quickly added new variants, such as the reference CS2111, which also produced 5,000 units, featuring an engraved black dial and three counters.
In 1999, luxury goods giant LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) S.A. made a takeover offer, which was accepted and led to LVMH owning nearly 100% of the Swiss company’s shares.
In 2003, the first Monaco model released under the LVMH banner was the reference CW2113, which featured the current TAG Heuer logo instead of the historic Heuer logo used in the “Re-Edition” series (CS210 and CS2111).
Reference CW2113 is also the first Monaco model with a real square case. In fact, although all previous versions were slightly rectangular (40 mm x 38 mm), this model is 38 mm x 38 mm. This model is powered by an automatic Calibre 17 based on the ETA 2894-2 movement.
During this period, following the acquisition of LVMH, TAG Heuer began to enter the more high-end watch category, as evidenced by the Monaco V4 concept watch. The prototype was launched at the Baselworld trade show in 2004 and caused a sensation in the industry as the world’s first watch that uses belt transmission, linear mass and ball bearings instead of traditional wheels and pinions.
This movement was inspired by car engines and was designed by Jean-François Ruchonnet with the help of master watchmaker Philippe Dufour. The goal of this model is to reconfirm that TAG Heuer is a manufacturer of its own movements. Built around a revolutionary movement, the square case has been slightly redesigned with soft edges.
The project has undergone various changes and improvements. After five years of testing, Monaco V4 is finally ready to be put into production. In 2009, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the brand, 150 limited-edition platinum pieces were launched.
In 2009, TAG Heuer also launched Monaco Calibre 12, equipped with ETA or Sellita ebauche-based self-winding Calibre 12, with Dubois-Depraz timing module.
The natural evolution of the previous version, this model is easy to pass the winding crown on the right, the three main color combinations (blue with white chronograph, black with white chronograph, black with black chronograph) radial scale dial and modern TAG TAG Heuer logo.
In 2015, Monaco Calibre 11 (model CAW211P.FC6356) was launched, which is a faithful reproduction of the original Heuer Monaco 1133B. The crown is located on the left side and the metallic blue dial is equipped with diamond-polished horizontal hour markers and vintage Heuer logo. Lugs The main difference with the shape of the button and the movement.
Compared with Calibre 12, the automatic Calibre 11 rotates the base movement by 180 degrees, so the crown can be located on the left side of the dial, while the chronograph button is located on the right. Unlike the original version, this movement vibrates 28,800 times per hour instead of 19,800 vph like the original Chronomatic Calibre 11 launched in 1969.
In 2019, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of the watch, TAG Heuer launched the Monaco Heuer 02, the first Monaco timepiece to use the brand’s Calibre Heuer 02 in-house movement.
In this way, in its half-century history, Monaco adopted its own-made movement for the first time, namely the innovative Calibre Heuer 02 launched by TAG Heuer in 2017. Due to Monaco’s unique square shape, TAG Heuer’s watchmakers redesigned the inside of the case to accommodate the manufacturing movement.
Today, Monaco is one of the pillars of TAG Heuer. There are a variety of styles to choose from, including three-pin versions and small-sized ladies’ models, keeping its unique appeal unchanged.