Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen’s Heuer Monaco reaches $2,208,000 at Phillips

Yesterday, the last-known Heuer Monaco worn by Steve McQueen in Le Mans was sold for $2,208,000 at the Phillips Racing Pulse auction in New York. It is the highest price for a Heuer wrist watch ever paid.

It took seven minutes to go from the opening bid of $200,000 to reach the record-breaking final price. You might wonder how was this possible. Well, this watch in particular is one of the two last known Monaco wristwatches kept and gifted by Steve McQueen. The watch was gifted to the film’s Chief Mechanic and McQueen’s personal mechanic, Haig Alltounian, by McQueen at the end of filming. Consigned directly by Alltounian, the watch’s case back features the engraving “TO HAIG Le MANS 1970”, as a thank you for keeping everyone safe during the filming of Le Mans.

McQueen had this watch on his wrist while driving a Porsche 917 at over 200 mph, which is quite a power reserve of adrenaline and guts. The watch was preserved in superb condition and the engraving on the back is perfectly crisp. In addition to the Monaco, McQueen also gave Haig a Norton Commando motorcycle used during the filming following Le Mans – another illustration of McQueen’s generosity – which he still owns today.

Introduced in 1969, Heuer’s Monaco was a game-changer. It was one of the world’s first self-winding chronograph wristwatches, featuring the Calibre 11, housed inside the world’s first waterproof square-shaped case. Today, the Monaco reference 1133 is an icon amongst chronograph aficionados. Designed by Jack Heuer, the watch was named for the famed Formula One racetrack and was chosen by Steve McQueen as the chronograph of choice when filming began on Le Mans in 1970.

KKNBBE Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in Gulf Team Porsche 917. Gulf Promotional poster tie-in with the film ‘Le Mans’ (1971) directed by Lee H. Katzin and starring Steve McQueen, Siegfried Rauch and Elga Andersen.

As a graphic designer, I'm fascinated by the crossroads between technology and aesthetics. Horology is one of these crafts, where art and engineering come together to produce mechanical wonders that grace the eye. WatchPaper was born from the desire to create an online tool where I can share my passion for watches.