In this new episode of Watches & Cars, we’ll be looking once again at some of our favorite watches for race drivers.
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In 1971, a movie called Le Mans was released and it starred some fellow by the name of Steve McQueen. He sounds like a cool guy. The movie was criticized for being mostly racing scenes with little dialog, but that’s what us car nuts like.
It is, however, a very accurate depiction of motorsport of the era. Now, it has a cult following, not only for the racing sequences, but for the legendary Steve McQueen and his iconic Tag Heuer Monaco.
I’ve written about the Monaco here briefly before, but I thought you can never get too much of it. The Calibre 12 Monaco is a square-faced, automatic chronograph named after the legendary Monaco Gran Prix race. It comes in a few different flavors but the one to get is the Calibre 12 with the blue face, just like McQueen’s from the movie.
Watches and cars go together so well, but the problem with many racing inspired watches is that that tend to look gimmicky. Like the Chopard’s with the rubber strap that looks like tire tread, it looks cool for a minute, but ultimately seems like a gimmick to me. The Monaco doesn’t have that issue, however. It looks like a proper chronograph and a sophisticated watch. It looks respectable. Plus there aren’t many good looking square watches anymore, unfortunately.
The Tag Heuer Monaco also does really have racing pedigree. Not only in the film but in real life. Some of the racing drivers to wear a Monaco are Kimi Räikkönen, Lewis Hamilton, the incredible Niki Lauda and the immortal Ayrton Senna. So the Monaco is no rip-off racing watch to attract bored husbands in the jewelry section of Macy’s.
If you have an appreciation for cars, as I’m assuming you do or you wouldn’t be reading this, then you probably have an appreciation for fine watches. The Monaco is the perfect watch for gearheads like us because it’s classy enough to be respected on its own but it also has enough true racing pedigree to be respected by car nuts as well.