This is an original vintage Heuer Monaco from the early 1970s, it’s powered by the Calibre 12 movement which had been introduced in 1971 as an upgrade to the original Calibre 11 movement which the Monaco had started out with.
The Heuer Monaco is one of the most famous wristwatches of its time and certainly one of the best-known motorsport watches in history – largely thanks to the fact that Steve McQueen prominently wore one during the 1971 film Le Mans.
Amazingly the Monaco is still best-known today for its link to McQueen, but it’s a historically significant watch for a number of reasons. For example, when it was released in 1969 it was the world’s first waterproof automatic chronograph with a square case design.
That square case made waterproofing tricky, but Swiss watchmaker Erwin Piquerez had recently patented a clever new square case design that allowed a watch to be waterproof.
He showed it to company boss Jack Heuer who bought the design and set to work designing a watch with a square case that used the company’s all-new Calibre 11 movement.
The Calibre 11 movement had been developed as a collaborative effort between watchmakers Buren, Dubois Depraz, Heuer, and Breitling. It marked a milestone in watchmaking as it was the world’s first automatic chronograph movement available to the general public.
The first Heuer Monaco of 1969 received the Calibre 11 movement, which was switched for the Calibre 12 in 1971.
The Calibre 12 was closely based on the 11, but it had a stronger main spring and micro-rotor, and the beating frequency increased from 2.75 Hz (19,800 vibrations per hour) to 3.0 Hz (21,600 vph).
The vintage Heuer Monaco you see here is due to be offered by Bonhams on the 13th of May, fittingly it’s being offered in Monaco at the Monaco Sale ‘Les Grandes Marques à Monaco.’
If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can see the listing here, it has a price guide of €10,000 – €12,000, or approximately $10,790 – $12,900 USD.
Above Video: This is the original trailer for the 1971 film “Le Mans” starring Steve McQueen and fellow racing drivers Jacky Ickx, Richard Attwood, Gérard Larrousse, Jürgen Barth, Masten Gregory, and Derek Bell.
Image courtesy of Bonhams
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