Celebrating 50 years of the TAG Heuer Monaco

Celebrating 50 years of the TAG Heuer Monaco

In 1969, Heuer launched the Monaco – an eye-catching timepiece that became famous for its unique design and groundbreaking technology. Fifty years later, TAG Heuer celebrates this iconic model with new versions of the legendary original, events around the world and a dedicated book.

An unconventional timepiece that introduced two cutting-edge world firsts, the Monaco was a product of Heuer’s vision and pioneering spirit. Half a century later, this iconic model is being honoured with events in Europe, the US and Asia throughout 2019 – and a new Monaco limited-edition model will be launched at each event to celebrate the timepiece that first caught the world’s attention 50 years ago. A new book titled Paradoxical Superstar documents the historical and technical highlights of this unlikely icon and will be available in TAG Heuer boutiques and on the website from May 2019.

Original TAG Heuer Monaco 1969
TAG Heuer Monaco 1971
TAG Heuer Monaco Dark Lord 1979
TAG Heuer Monaco Relaunch 1998
TAG Heuer Monaco Haute Horlogerie 2011
TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11, 2015

Looking back on 50 years of the TAG Heuer Monaco

As is the case with many iconic design classics, the Heuer Monaco (TAG was not part of the company name at the time) divided opinion. When it was introduced at simultaneous press conferences in New York and Geneva on 3 March 1969, most people’s reactions were less than enthusiastic.

Every aspect of the watch’s design was radical: the metallic blue dial, the red and light blue hands, the square case and the placement of the crown on the left-hand side.

“We wanted to create an outstanding and innovative product, something avant-garde,” said TAG Heuer Honorary Chairman Jack Heuer. “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.”

The Monaco’s daring design made it instantly recognisable, and it was the perfect complement to the advanced technology the Swiss watchmaker presented at the same time: the first water-resistant square case and the Calibre 11, the first automatic-winding chronograph movement. The Calibre 11 was the result of three years of close collaboration between watch brands Heuer, Breitling and Hamilton, and became the first automatic chronograph. The then CEO of Heuer, Jack Heuer, was not really a fan of the watch’s design either, but he believed the groundbreaking innovations needed a design that would demand attention. The Monaco did exactly that. The disruptive design was difficult to produce, and its popularity among watch aficionados and collectors was not immediate, but it remained in the collection.

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