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The Watch Hall of Fame: The Tag Heuer Monaco

It’s safe to say that the watch market has become extremely saturated, however amongst the sea of watches available there are a few icons which never fail to steal the spotlight. Starting today, we will be diving into the world of iconic watches in our new blog mini-series “The Watch Hall of Fame”. In today’s feature the spotlight is going to be shone on the Tag Heuer Monaco, but before we get into the nitty gritty let's discuss what actually makes a watch “iconic”.

What makes an iconic watch?

Many people would expect that the most iconic watches also need to be the most expensive, but this isn’t the case. If a watch makes waves, no matter the price, it deserves hold the same credit as its expensive peers. I believe there are 3 main criteria which need to be met to create an iconic watch: quality, personality, and legacy. Let me explain.

First of all, quality. Of course a watch labelled as iconic must be high quality. This could mean anything from the watch being highly durable, or having a new and innovative feature.

Next, personality. Iconic watches need to have a strong identity whether that be in terms of having a unique look, having a great story behind their creation, or being an important part of famous movies and events.

Last but not least, their legacy. By this I mainly mean their brand. Has the watch left a lasting impression in the world of watches, leading to its brand becoming highly appreciated and sought after? Or has the watch paved the way for many watches to come in the future?

Now, let’s get down to business and discuss why the Tag Heuer Monaco is the first watch being featured in our hall of fame.

Tag Heuer Monaco

The Monaco was released on the 3rd of March 1969 inspired by the Monaco Grand Prix. It’s safe to say that this watch was truly unique at the time of its release, featuring a bold and daring square-case with red, blue and white details on the dial, and an unusually placed left-sided crown. The square-case really wasn’t something which was often seen in the domain of racing watches. The Monaco wasn’t the first ever square watch, but it was the first ever square chronograph, as well as the first ever water-resistant square-cased watch.

Not only did the watch have an original look but it also housed the new and innovative Chronomatic Calibre 11 which was the worlds first automatic chronograph movement.

In 1971, Hollywood actor Steve McQueen wore the Monaco for the racing themed movie “Le Mans”. This affiliation definitely help sky-rocket the popularity of the already loved watch even further. It was an image of modern masculine fashion. When filming for the movie was finished McQueen gifted the watch to Haig Altounian, who was the chief mechanic on set. McQueen even got the watch engraved saying “To Haig Le Mans 1970”.

Whilst the Monaco became a sought after piece in the world of fashion following its Hollywood debut, it was also a watch which was in high demand for petrol heads. Tag Heuer was the first non-automotive sponsor of F1 racing and had a great relationship with the event for many years (and still does). Tag Heuer’s strong affiliation with motor racing meant racing enthusiasts became drawn to their watches, and the Monaco was no exception.


So hopefully now you can see why the Tag Heuer Monaco has earned its place in the hall of fame; the Monaco has made waves in the watch industry being the first highly durable and function, but still fashionable, square-cased watch! We hope you've enjoyed and keep your eyes peeled for the next feature of "The Watch Hall of Fame", or alternatively subscribe to our newsletter so you never miss a blog! Have a great day :)


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