The vagaries of life is what gives it flavour. What better example of it than the Monaco, which shot to fame with its square shape and personality – rather unexpectedly too – in a world where round watches are the accepted and beloved norm?

The Heuer Monaco was first released in 1969 as part of a collection of three timepieces that were among the world’s first automatic chronographs. Next to the Carrera and the Autavia, the Monaco Chronomatic was clearly more eye-catching; while its siblings made use of the tried-and-tested round case, the Monaco sported an angular squarish design. Named after the Monaco Grand Prix, the Heuer Monaco saw the world of auto racing as its primary inspiration.

Jo Siffert was instrumental in creating the race car driver image that Steve McQueen adopted in Le Mans
Image credit: TAG Heuer

Popular actor Steve McQueen cemented this association in history when he wore the Monaco in his 1971 film Le Mans. With it, the Monaco transcended its avant-garde status and took on a newfound significance in pop culture. Over time, this coalesced into vintage appeal. These days, the original B Model Calibre 12 Monaco in blue can command an asking price as high as US$13,000.

In recognition of the Monaco’s 50th anniversary, TAG Heuer has unveiled five limited edition iterations of the Monaco, each representing a decade in time.

Monaco 1969-1979 Limited Edition
The '69-'79 LE Monaco features a green dial with Côtes de Genève finishing
Image credit: TAG Heuer

A green dial featuring Côtes de Genève finishing makes the ’69-’79 LE the most visually striking piece in the collection. Brown and yellow accents on the dial add a further layer of complexity to the design as well.

Monaco 1979-1989 Limited Edition
The '79-'89 LE Monaco relies on aggressive contrasts for its aesthetic appeal
Image credit: TAG Heuer

Rhodium-plated sub-dials set against the backdrop of a red dial finished in a sunray pattern make for a striking contrast typical of the 80s. A black calfskin racing strap further accentuates this aspect of the timepiece for a more technical, aggressive look – at least for its time.

Monaco 1989-1999 Limited Edition
The '89-'99 LE Monaco uses a sand-blasted grey dial to evoke a gritty texture
Image credit: TAG Heuer

This next Limited Edition model cools things down a little by introducing a sophisticated colour palette consisting of blue and grey. The dial is sand-blasted to create texture while blue counters with black and grey markings ensure at-a-glance legibility. Further accents in red lend a pop of colour while also emphasising the watch’s iconic square shape.

Monaco 1999-2009 Limited Edition
The '99-'09 LE Monaco sports a classic reverse-panda dial for superior legibility
Image credit: TAG Heuer

The fourth entry of the series utilises a reverse-panda dial for a sportier aesthetic. The black and white colour way is coupled with red and orange accents to provide unrivalled legibility. This classic combination of high and low key colours allows observation of even the most subtle details on the dial.

Monaco 2009-2019 Limited Edition
The '09-'19 LE Monaco is a stealthy variation of the racing chronograph
Image credit: TAG Heuer

A stealthy re-imagining of the Monaco completes the series in the form of the 2009-2019 Limited Edition. The charcoal dial has a sunray pattern that’s a familiar sight by now, and it comes punctuated with rhodium-plated counters in a similar finish. Black gold-plated indices and hands dresses the chronograph up while the sand-blasted steel case elevates its masculine appeal.

Powered by the same Calibre 11 that drove the original Monaco, these limited edition timepieces also sport modern features like scratch-resistant sapphire crystals, deployant clasps and water resistance to 100 metres. Each model of the Limited Edition series will also come with a matching presentation box and will be limited to 169 pieces.

written by.
Evigan Xiao
Evigan is an avid fan of bench-made boots, raw selvedge denim, single malt Scotch and fine watches. When he's not busy chuckling over image dumps on Imgur, he can be found lifting heavy objects in the gym or fussing over his two dogs, Velvet and Kenji. He dreams of one day owning a cottage in the English countryside and raising a small army of Canadian geese to terrorise the local populace.

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