Is it possible that the just completed Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix could be the last Formula 1 race held in the principality? The contract between Formula 1 and the Automobile Club d’Monaco has come to an end and there is no word on an extension or renewal. The fact that the subject has even become openly discussed on the circuit seems quite remarkable.
The most prestigious, glamorous and historical race on the Formula 1 circuit has also become a race heavily burdened by an inadequate narrow street track where passing is near impossible, and this year further hampered by a curfew following rain delays that led to an early ending. It’s easy to see that contemporary Formula 1 racing has outgrown the Monaco Grand Prix as it currently exists—particularly its track configuration, which hasn’t changed since the race was founded in 1929.
Where the race excels is as a marketing vehicle for luxury companies and few have contributed more or have capitalized greater from the exposure than Tag Heuer. Each year the Swiss luxury watch brand has its name plastered throughout the racecourse. It annually hosts a weekend on a yacht in Monaco for about 100 VIP guests and celebrities with several high-profile events. It serves to introduce new products with its ambassadors.
This year Tag Huer unveiled the newest version of its Monaco chronograph, which has gained legendary status thanks to its association with actor Steve McQueen and the iconic 1971 auto racing movie Le Mans. It also earned a place in high watchmaking as the first square-cased automatic chronograph when it was introduced in 1969. In addition, the original watch is unique for its round blue dial design within the square case and for having its winding and setting crown at the 9 o’clock position.
The latest version of the timepiece is a Special Edition for the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix. It is modeled after the Monaco “Dark Lord,” an all-black watch introduced in the 1970s.
The new watch features a two-toned black dial, with its round dial display in a black circular brush finish offset by a black grained finish. At 3 o’clock is the black minute chronograph counter, at 6 o’clock is a black second counter above the date window and at 9 o’clock is the black hour chronograph counter. The applied hour markers are finished in 18k 5N plated rose gold. The hours and minute hands are completed with 18K 5N plated rose gold and white Super-LumiNova.
The 39mm case is made of light and strong grade 2 titanium with black DLC sandblasted finish with a domed and beveled sapphire crystal cover. This black DLC titanium grade 2 coating is further used on the crown, chronograph pushers and caseback.
The watch is powered by the in-house Heuer 02 movement with an 80-hour power reserve that uses a traditional column wheel to activate the chronograph functions. The rose gold plated oscillating rotor can be seen through the sapphire caseback.
Completing the darkened color scheme is a black alligator strap with a black-coated titanium buckle.
2021 Formula 1 champion, Max Verstappen of the Red Bull team was given a personalized version of the timepiece during an event on the Tag Heuer yacht prior to the race. The custom piece has the number 1 on the dial and caseback, in recognition of his championship season, and an engraving of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit where he was victorious in 2021.
The weekend was also used to introduce Tag Heuer’s newest ambassador, Australian actor Jacob Elordi.