TAG Heuer has just announced the release of a special edition for the 50th Anniversary of the Gulf Racing Stripes the Monaco Gulf Special Edition. First introduced in 1969, the Monaco was the first square waterproof automatic chronograph and quickly became a cult classic when Steve McQueen wore it inLe Mans(1971) as the racer Michael Delaney. In the film, Delaney is sponsored by Gulf Oil with their blue, white, and orange stripes visible on both his white racing suit and his Porsche 917. But the stripes themselves actually pre-date the movie, having first appeared in 1967.
This is not the first Gulf Oil special edition released by TAG Heuer. In fact, it’s the fourth. The first was the Monaco Vintage CW2118, which was released in 2005 in a limited series of 4,000 pieces. This piece might not be considered part of the Gulf Oil family as the dial features red and blue stripes (not orange and pale blue like the others). It also says Monaco on the dial, not Gulf Oil.
The second version is the Gulf II Monaco CW211A, which debuted in 2007 for the 40th anniversary, and the third in the series is the Gulf III CAW2113, released in 2009. The latter features an anthracite dial with orange and pale blue racing stripes. There is also the PCA Monaco that was released in 2010 for the Porsche Club of America.
The latest Monaco Gulf Special Edition has a 39mm stainless steel case in the signature square shape, with a left-hand crown and angled chronograph buttons on the right side. The watch is powered by the caliber 11 automatic movement, just like the standard Monaco that is currently part of the collection. The caliber 11 has a 40-hour power reserve and prominently displays the date at six o’clock. There are two prominent sub-registers, both borrowing the rounded square shape from the case.
The biggest point of difference for this special edition is the dial color, which bears those blue and orange Gulf Oil stripes on the right side of the dark navy dial. The watch is finished off with a blue calfskin racing strap with orange stitching, carrying those colors through yet again. Just above the date at six o’clock is a Gulf logo, which, while not the most discrete thing in the world, is far from obtrusive.
The TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition is only available in the U.S. and it can be pre-ordered exclusively online through September 15 for $5,900.