Dropping on 25th September, the world’s most beloved square chronograph book-ended the high octane weekend that was the Singapore Grand Prix, recalling a shared allegory between Monaco chronograph and Singapore
On the eve of Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix, TAG Heuer kicked off 2019’s highly anticipated race with an electrifying party at the country’s iconic Silver Leaf at the Gardens by the Bay. Graced by Thor himself, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, and TAG Heuer Ambassador, and Dutch Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Formula 1 driver, Max Verstappen, around 200 guests including business partners, customers and members of the media attended TAG Heuer’s F1 party amidst a backdrop of the stunningly futuristic Flower Dome and Marina Bay skyline.
12 years on, the world’s first Formula 1 Night Race is emblematic of Singapore’s racing ambitions. A long drought followed the heady days of Singapore’s first Grand Prix at the Thomson Road circuit, held as part of a series of sporting events organised in support of the government-sponsored “Visit Singapore – The Orient Year” 1961 tourism campaign.
Singapore Grand Prix 2019 culminates with a TAG Heuer Monaco “Panda” chronograph
The 1960s were problematic with so many brands sourcing their dials and movements from the same suppliers, as a result, the industry had suffered creatively and Heuer (before TAG acquisition) pivoted to the complication they knew best – chronographs. Heuer began to dominate the 60s with a series of classic and modern chronographs, with design features that would feature on Heuer chronographs to its contemporary history – The Autavia and Carrera were doing well and the Camaro was introduced just in case there was a market for a tonneau shaped Heuer chronograph.
When the Heuer Monaco, the world’s first square chronograph, was introduced at simultaneous press conferences in New York and Geneva on 3 March 1969, journalists and watch aficionados around the world were amazed with its iconic design and never-before-seen water-resistant square case; but oddly, and much like the Singapore Grand Prix which was discontinued in 1974, the Heuer Monaco Chronograph was discontinued in 1975.
Time plus cultural appeal, divided by nostalgia, make for potent combination – eventually, the Monaco Chronograph, immortalised by Steve McQueen in 1971’s Le Mans, and with his untimely demise, his legend lived on in films stills of McQueen wearing his Monaco culminating in its triumphant return in 1998 as a limited edition re-issue (before historical re-issues became a thing) and then finally remained as a serial production model. Analogously, the return of the Singapore Grand Prix shares a similar “phoenix rising” moment, returning stronger and more glamorously than ever before.
Max Verstappen, Amelia Siliard and Chris Hermsworth
Indeed, TAG Heuer’s rich heritage with motorsports is the wellspring from which the La Chaux de Fonds manufacture can draw upon and Monaco, home to one of the most important and prestigious legs of the Formula 1 season, has as been called “an exceptional location of glamour and prestige”, much like Singapore is becoming after hosting the Night Race for over a decade.
The 4th of Five Limited Edition TAG Heuer Monaco chronographs
50 years on, we are celebrating the fourth of five limited edition TAG Heuer Monaco chronographs to mark the icon’s anniversary and racing legacy. Fittingly, launched on the 25th of September, a mere days after Singapore’s own climatic Night Race, the latest of limited edition Monaco chronographs captures the bold architecture and daring design codes of the decade from 1999 to 2009; most importantly, the first Monaco chronograph in an evocative “Racing colour scheme”.
The fourth wristwatch in the Monaco Through Time line-up is a special collector’s edition with a classic black and white appearance – in short – We finally get a Monaco “Panda” racing chronograph decades after its Autavia and Carrera chronograph cousins have had their Panda racing chronographs. The white opaline seconds sub-dial and chronograph minutes counter of the fourth of five limited edition TAG Heuer Monaco chronographs stand out from the pitch-black background. Striking red and orange touches serve as stylish hour markers and the hour and minute hands and facetted applied indexes are filled with Superluminova for improved legibility. Hope against hope, perhaps there will be a racing chronograph named for Singapore.