In 2005, 25 years after the death of Steve Mc Queen, TAG Heuer decided to pay homage to this legendary actor by commemorating the 75th anniversary of his birth. The story that links TAG Heuer and Steve Mc Queen began in 1970 during the filming of “Le Mans”. “Le Mans,” a cult film for several generations of sports car enthusiasts, has held high the Heuer colours for 35 years, with Steve Mc Queen making a major contribution to the worldwide fame of the “Monaco” chronograph.

Test Bench

In 2005, 25 years after the death of Steve Mc Queen, TAG Heuer decided to pay homage to this legendary actor by commemorating the 75th anniversary of his birth. The story that links TAG Heuer and Steve Mc Queen began in 1970 during the filming of “Le Mans”. “Le Mans,” a cult film for several generations of sports car enthusiasts, has held high the Heuer colours for 35 years, with Steve Mc Queen making a major contribution to the worldwide fame of the “Monaco” chronograph.

“Monaco Vintage”

Homage to Steve Mc Queen

The Watch Quote™ - March 6th, 2006



Now on sale in a in limited edition, the “ Vintage”, a collector’s edition of 4,000 examples including 300 reserved for the French market, has just reached the stores of best dealers of the brand. This model obviously aroused the interest of our journalists, who rushed to get hold of one of the watches, to share with you our enthusiasm.

Tag Heuer “Monaco Vintage” watch under the magnifying glass


Monaco, story of a star




Launched in 1966 with a mechanical movement and manual rewind, the first edition of the Monaco chronograph did not enjoy the success that was expected. Square, and outsized at 40 X 40mm, watch-lovers of the time found the original model disconcerting, and it only found favour among a rather marginal clientele. At that time, the Monaco chronograph was sold in small editions with a plain blue back and with one, two or three white counter zones, depending on the version.

Distinguishing features: mechanical movement with manual rewind, buttons and winding crown arranged together on the right-hand side of the case like other models of the time.

NB: collectors should beware of the many copies of these versions now in circulation.

It wasn’t until 1969 that the close collaboration between Heuer, Breitling and Hamilton brought about the birth of the first chronograph movement in the world fitted with an automatic rewind micro-rotor: the revolutionary “Chronomatic caliber 11,” easily recognisable for its inverted winding crown placed on the left-hand side of the case, but with the chronograph buttons remaining on the right. Breitling equipped several versions of the Navitimer with this arrangement, as did Hamilton with the Fontainebleau model, and Heuer its famous Monaco chronograph. From 1969 onwards, various versions of the Monaco automatic chronographs with plain blue dial or with one or two white zones, silver or anthracite grey dials on leather or stainless steel bracelets. Some rare models were also brought out in black PVD.

Steve Mc Queen and Joe Siffert
But 1970 (or more precisely 1971, date of general release of “ Le Mans ”) would really be the key year for the future of the Monaco chronograph.

Joe Siffert
During the filming of “Le Mans” in 1970, for his scenes at the wheel of his Porsche 917 Gulf, Steve McQueen, having put aside his legendary Rolexes (he was previously known for wearing the Submariner model every day) asked the props and wardrobe departments to kit him out with the complete outfit worn by the pilot Joe Siffert, including the Heuer Monaco chronograph.

The famous Swiss pilot, hero of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Joe Siffert, proudly wearing their logo and watches, was one of the first sponsored ambassadors of the Heuer brand.

Re-launched in 1998 in a limited edition of 5,000 examples (with back in plain black and a black zone) mostly on sale in Italy, the Monaco chronograph was reborn in the form much inspired by the original 1970s Heuer models, with the historic Heuer logo and tongued buckles on a black calfskin bracelet.

In 1999, in the wake of the success of this limited edition, TAG Heuer decided to re-launch regular production of Monaco chronographs (black back, three black zones, historic Heuer logo and tongued buckles on a black calfskin bracelet). This series immediately became one of the brand’s bestsellers, initiating the new “Classic” range in the TAG Heuer catalogue.





Monaco Vintage

Close examination


As usual and because fine photos speak far louder than words, our photographer took a close look at this beauty for you…



A piece inspired by the legend and spirit of motor racing. Its three-coloured dial, the Monaco” and blue alligator bracelet bring together classicism and modernity

Folding clasp with push buttons

Case back engraved with series number on 4,000 examples

Detail of button

Technical details

Tag Heuer Monaco Vintage




Movement:Automatic TAG Heuer Caliber 17 (ETA 2894/2)
Functions:Hour, minutes, seconds, date, simple and additional chronometers. 12-hour, 30-minute and 60-second counters
Case:In stainless steel with alternating satin and polished finishes.
Winding crown:grooved for easy adjustment
Rectangular buttons
Dial: Appliqués added by hand.
Monochrome Logo TAG Heuer, the Monaco name in white varnish.
Hands:Polished nickel-plated hour and minute hands.
Crystal:Plexiglass
Base:Stainless steel
Water-resistance:30 metres
Bracelet:Blue alligator with folding clasp.
Retail price, tax included:2,990 euros




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Opinion of The Watch Quote


In 2001, the famous Côte d’Azur jeweller Ferret obtained from TAG Heuer a very limited series of Monaco chronographs marked 2001 in red on the grey dial, which was sold by reservation only. It was also in 2001 that the historic Heuer logo became TAG Heuer on dials, winding crowns and the bracelet clasps, which were now of the folding type. A model with grey dial and also a version with blue dial with two white zones known as “Steve Mc Queen” also appeared in the brand catalogue. Since then, several versions of the mythical Monaco have come out, on alligator strap or with magnificent stainless steel bracelet inspired by the 70s models. Both sportive and feminine, with or without chronometer, the Monaco Classic, Python, Absolute White, Coral, Purple, all-gold and even recently the Sixty-nine or the long-awaited Monaco Concept V4 presented at Baselworld 2004, the Monaco is still TAG Heuer’s commercial success… Long live the Monaco!

Strong points

  • Collector’s item (Vintage model)
  • Personality, character
  • Reliability
  • Price

    Weak points

  • Rarity (Vintage model)



    Our rating: ****

  • We would like to thank the jewellers Heurgon in Paris for their invaluable assistance in enabling us to share our passion with you.

    Thierry Castagna / The Watch Quote™
    Photos Luc Virginius

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