Heuer launched the Monaco in 1969 (at that time, TAG was not part of the company’s name), and it became an instant sensation. 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. Indeed, a lot of people did not react favourably to it, to begin with. According to Jack Heuer, TAG Heuer Honorary Chairman, “We wanted to create an outstanding and innovative product, something avant-garde. 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.”

The Monaco’s unique design made it instantly recognisable, and the Swiss manufacture also presented advanced technology in it: the first water-resistant square case and the Calibre 11, the first automatic-winding chronograph movement. The Monaco got its name from the glamorous and well-known Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. TAG Heuer is the Official Watch of the Monaco Top Cars Collection museum and has close ties to the Automobile Club de Monaco.

In 1971, the Monaco shared the cinematic limelight with Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans. In the mid-1970s, the watch received a makeover. At that time, black was becoming a fashionable colour, TRACKING TIME THE BRAND and so the Monaco was cloaked in a black anodised case. Known as The Dark Lord, this fragile and rare model was enticing and it is today coveted by collectors.

In 1985, Heuer became TAG Heuer, and, in 1998, the Monaco’s story continued with a re-launch model inspired by the original. This time, it was received with much more acclaim. Over the past two decades, the Monaco has been closely linked to haute horlogerie, with other versions that feature new complications, designs and materials.

Now, 50 years later, TAG Heuer celebrates this iconic model with new versions of the legendary original, with events around the world and a dedicated book. A new Monaco limited-edition model will be launched at each event, and the book, titled Paradoxical Superstar, will document the historical and technical highlights of this unlikely icon. It is available in TAG Heuer boutiques and on the company website.