TAG Heuer and Gulf Oil International just announced their new partnership – one that would be approved by the King of Cool. The two iconic brands in the automotive world make their union official with presenting the TAG Heuer special Gulf edition of the Monaco, in the famous racing colours and the logo of the oil company that sponsored Steve McQueen in the film “Le Mans”. And don’t we love it!
With the immediately recognisable famous blue and orange stripes, Gulf has been a well-known player in the automotive industry for over 115 years. Quality, endurance and passion are the company’s watchwords; proven by their history of innovation, invention and continuing development. In 1913, it became the first company in the world to open a petrol station. And it shares values with the Swiss watchmaking brand that has automotive sports in its DNA. TAG Heuer and Gulf have crossed paths several times, but the most notable was in 1971, in the film “Le Mans”, when Steve McQueen wore a now very iconic Heuer Monaco on his wrist while driving a Porsche 917 that featured the Gulf logo.
Launched in 1969, the Heuer Monaco was the first square and water-resistant automatic chronograph in the history of Swiss watchmaking. The watch was a break with the aesthetic codes of traditional watchmaking. The large square case with straight angles, the metallic blue dial, the domed plexiglas crystal and especially the crown position on the left, signifying that the watch was wound automatically. Just as innovative at the time, its technology offered perfect water resistance – a first for a square watch.
However, the origins of the revolution lay inside the watch: The famous Calibre 11 that was the first automatic chronograph movement to be commercialised in the history of watchmaking. Immediately recognisable and often copied, the “McQueen Monaco” has become famous, even outside the “watch world”.
The colours of the Gulf-Porsche 917K, Steve McQueen drove in the movie “Le Mans”, are referenced in the design of the Monaco Calibre 11 Gulf special edition. The 39 mm size, the crown on the left, the legendary petroleum blue dial with two white counters, the date window at 6 o’clock, the diamond-polished horizontal hour indices, the inscribed vintage Heuer logo, the calibre 11 automatic chronograph with date and water-resistance to 100 metres – all the attributes of the Monaco. As a reminder of its origins and sporting pedigree, a light blue and an orange stripe of Gulf’s renowned racing colours have been added to the dial. The Gulf logo also appears at 6 o’clock.
Note the steel case in three parts (since 1998), which is secured with four screws, the rectangular shape of the two push-buttons at 2 and 4 o’clock, the slightly slimmer lugs, the sapphire crystal (since 2009) and the open case-back, through which the calibre’s gears can be seen. The piece is completed by an exquisite petroleum blue leather strap with orange topstitching, for an elegant look and another nod to the Gulf logo.
Heuer Monaco Gulf 2018 Special Edition is a beautiful interpretation that respects the iconic automotive heritage of the Manufacture. We’re sure it will feature in the dreams of all automotive racing purists – just like the original.