The history of TAG Heuer Monaco In 1860, Edouard Heuer, who was only 20 years old, founded the company of the same name. It quickly became known as a high-quality manufacturer of reliable, rugged chronographs and timepieces. Inventions such as gears are still in use today, contributing to watchmaking innovation.
The connection with the world of sports and motorsport has contributed to Heuer’s growing success. Among the milestones, we can mention the first car plate chronograph created in 1911 or the patented “Mikrograph”, which was the world’s first stopwatch with an accuracy of 1/100 second in 1916. For the complete history of the brand, we recommend reading our feature article “The History of TAG Heuer“.
In 1933, Heuer developed the first racing board watch, and in the same year developed the legendary stopwatch Autavia. TAG Heuer’s pocket chronograph has been selected as the official stopwatch for many Olympics and other sporting events.
In 1969, by creating a watch destined to become an icon, Monaco further consolidated the brand’s sporting image.
Les considered the development background of this unusual chronograph featuring a unique square case design.
In the 1960s, the great-grandson of the company’s founder, Jack William Heuer, served as the managing director of the brand and was directly involved in the development of new models such as the successful Carrera.
At that time, automatic watches were all the rage, and TAG Heuer was busy creating the world’s first automatic chronograph movement for public use, which was launched at the Basel Fair in 1969.
To achieve this milestone, Jack Heuer has established partnerships with Buren, Dubois Depraz and Breitling. copy watches for men
Buren is an important manufacturer of thin automatic movements, Dubois Depraz is a leading expert in the development of chronograph modules and other complications, and Breitling is another famous chronograph manufacturer that can share the funds of this expensive project with Heuer -Codenamed Project 99-and the resulting output: The modular automatic chronograph is based on the Buren basic movement (including automatic winding and calendar mechanism), and the independent Dubois-Depraz chronograph module is passed three screws Connect to the watch movement. The movement vibrates 19,800 times per hour and provides a power reserve of approximately 42 hours.
TAG Heuer initially planned to use this movement in the Carrera model-called Chronomatic Calibre 11. This required modification of the shape of the Carrera case, because the original shape was too thin to accommodate a fairly thick movement. In order to maximize the return of the new revolutionary movement, Jack Heuer and his team decided to also use it in Autavia, a chronograph specifically for the automotive and aviation markets.
At the same time, they began to consider creating a less traditional timepiece around the new movement-in Jack Heuer’s words, an “out of the box” and “avant-garde” timepiece.
Erwin Piquerez is the owner of a large Swiss watch case manufacturing industry. He proposed a new square watch case to Jack Heuer. He has just applied for a patent to ensure water resistance. This is the first square watch case. This is achieved by the tension created by the four notches when they are clamped into the back of the hard case.
Jack Heuer was immediately attracted by the new design, and negotiated with Piquerez for the exclusive rights of this square case, and then registered it as a trademark.
The first version of Heuer Monaco was finally launched at the Basel Fair, becoming the world’s first waterproof automatic chronograph with a square case. The published retail price is $200. It has two versions: Reference 1133B and Reference 1133G, where B represents blue, G represents gray, and the first two digits represent the installed movement.
With its large square case (40mm x 38mm), metallic blue dial, domed plastic crystal and crown on the left, the crown does not require winding and is a disruptive product in the watchmaking industry.
The two white counters at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock respectively record the timed hours and minutes. This watch does not have a continuous second hand, only a large red chronograph second hand points to the white outer 1/5 second scale. The hour markers are flat silver bands with beveled edges.
The back of the watch is engraved with “Tool 033”, which is the specific tool needed to open the unusual rectangular case.
The first example of a watch has the words “Chronomatic” above the “Heuer” shield and “Monaco” above the date window at 6 o’clock. However, this graphic layout was quickly modified because Jack Heuer agreed to transfer the name “Chronomatic” to its partner Breitling, which is still in use today. The name “Monaco” was moved above “Heuer” and the more general description “Automatic Chronograph” was added at 6 o’clock.
But there is no legend without a hero. For the legendary Monaco chronograph, the hero is undoubtedly Steve McQueen, who gave it during the filming of the “Le Mans” film produced in 1970 and released in 1971. Extraordinary exposure.
At the time, Swiss Jo Siffert was the lead driver of the Porsche team participating in the World Sports Car Championship and was consulting on this film. As a friend of Jack Hoya, he is the brand’s ambassador on the track.
Steve McQueen got inspiration from Siffert to play the protagonist of the movie (and Siffert raced for the Porsche team), and decided to wear the same jumpsuit as the Swiss champion.
Just like Siffert, he has a big Heuer logo on his chest, and of course, he also has a Heuer chronograph on his wrist.
But unlike the Siffert wearing the round Heuer Autavia 1163 T, Steve McQueen chose the Monaco chronograph with a square blue dial, which has an unconventional design and unique appearance.
Monaco 1133B is very eye-catching in the film (Heuer products appeared for more than a quarter of an hour), worn on the wrists of famous Hollywood stars such as Steve McQueen, Monaco 1133B quickly became the most well-known sports watch of all time one.