Anatomy of an Invoice -- McQueen's Monacos

There are few associations between a hero and his watch that have the enduring strength of the connection between Steve McQueen and his Heuer Monaco, worn in the film Le Mans. Introduced in 1969 and worn by McQueen in 1970, the “McQueen Monaco” has been re-issued in numerous configurations over the last 20 years.  Pick up a magazine or visit a mall, and we see the images of the “King of Cool”, his Porsche 917, and his racing suit and racing watch.

mcqueenlemansa

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Spotted – Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn has Upgraded from a $170 Michael Kors Watch to a $7,500 Rolex Submariner

Last year, in the course of writing a posting covering the $95 Fossil watch worn by Alabama football coach Nick Saban, I identified and commented on the watches worn by some other prominent college football coaches – Steve Spurrier, Les Miles, Mark Richt and a few others.  These gentlemen are leaders of popular football programs and are highly visible on Saturdays during the season, with the cameras following their every move and gesture, as they pace up and down the sidelines.

Michael Kors for Gus Malzahn

One of the more surprising discoveries of last year’s research was that first-year Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn was wearing a Michael Kors chronograph.  It wasn’t so much the $170 “street” price of the watch that surprised me, but the fact that Michael Kors is a “fashion” brand, most often preferred by teenage girls.  (Or as one of my daughters once told me, “by the time you get out of college, you want something a little more sophisticated”.)  Malzahn’s Michael Kors chronograph looks a bit fussy, or even flimsy, not matching up well against Nick Saban’s more rugged looking $95 Fossil chronograph.

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Heuer Timepieces in the Film Le Mans

In the community of vintage Heuer enthusiasts, the story of how Steve McQueen came to wear a Monaco chronograph in the film Le Mans has been told many times.  Indeed,  Jean-Christophe Babin, ex-CEO of TAG Heuer (2001-2013) has proclaimed that “Jack [Heuer’s] greatest achievement is to have succeeded in placing a ‘Monaco’ chronograph on the wrist of Steve McQueen during the shooting of the film Le Mans in 1970”.  Jack Heuer’s narrative of this story, in his recently published autobiography, is the authoritative version of this story.

McQueen Le Mans Banner

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What’s It Worth? Heuer Autavia Sold on Pawn Stars

Pawn Stars is an American “reality” television show that presents events occurring at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Episodes typically feature customers coming into the shop with a rare or collectible item (or perhaps something entirely worthless), and negotiating with the shops owners / employees to sell or pawn the item.  Sometimes, a customer seeks to sell a valuable item, and is pleasantly surprised to discover its real value.  In other instances, the customer believes that he has an item of great value, and is disappointed when the owner suggests that the item is common or even a counterfeit.

Pawn Stars Autavia -- Header

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Spotted: Nick Saban Wears a $95 Fossil Chronograph

As a lifelong Alabama football fan and occasional celebrity watch-spotter, I knew that I would face the question, “What kind of watch does Nick Saban wear?”  A celebrity coach, in nationally-televised games, standing on the sidelines, often in a short-sleeve shirt, with his arms crossed across his chest, wearing a large watch.  Yes, I faced the question several times over the years, but had resisted the urge to find the answer.  Having spent five years tracking Barack Obama’s watch, a few weeks identifying John Glenn’s stopwatch, days studying photos of Mick Jagger’s vintage Heuers, and a few hours examining Bo Derek’s wrist, the last thing I wanted was another celebrity watch to follow — more hours checking photos on the Getty Images and Associated Press websites.

Nick Saban (Alabama) on the Sidelines

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Watch in the Wild: Bo Derek, Wearing Nothing But a Heuer (and a Smile)

There have been rumors that Bo Derek wore a Heuer dive watch, but now OnTheDash is happy to share the story and the photo.

Of course, we start with the photo, taken on a beach in 1979 and provided by Bo’s father to Jack Heuer, then CEO of Heuer Leonidas.

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Satisfaction -- Mick Jagger is a Heuer Guy!

Watch freaks are . . . well, come to think of it, “freaks” is a pretty good way to describe them.  And surely one of the most bizarre habits of the watch freaks is “watch spotting”.  Watch freaks watch (and re-watch) movies and TV shows, and put their 10X loupes on the weekly issue of People magazine, all in an effort to determine the watches that the actors, actresses, celebrities, athletes and politicians are wearing.

Jagger Autavia Header

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Spotted: Bill Clinton Wearing JLC Diving Alarm Navy SEALs

Bill Clinton addressed the Democratic Convention last night, and soon after he started speaking,  I started receiving e-mail messages asking “What’s that watch that Bill Clinton is wearing?”  Clinton has a nice collection of watches, and I am familiar with a few that he has worn over the years (AP, Panerai, etc.), but I had never seen him wearing this watch.

A bit of quick research this morning has confirmed that Clinton was wearing the  Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Alarm Navy SEALs watch.  [Here’s a link to a forum on which this was discussed.]

Photo: Harry E. Walker/MCT via Getty Images

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Heuer Monaco, Worn by McQueen -- Part Two

As described in our first posting covering the McQueen-worn Monacos, I am aware of four Heuer Monacos said to have been “worn by McQueen” during the production of the movie Le Mans, as follows:

  1. worn by McQueen during the filming of the movie, Le Mans; sold by the property master in the early 2000s; now in the TAG Heuer Museum, in Switzerland.
  2. worn by McQueen during the still photography / promotional shots for Le Mans; sold by the property master in the early 2000s; has been in the hands of four different collectors since then; to be auctioned July 31, 2012.
  3. worn by McQueen while at Le Mans and then given by McQueen to his management consultant, Bill Maher, as a gift; sold at an Antiqourum auction in June 2009, and now in private hands.
  4. worn by McQueen . . . further details not known, at least for the moment.

We started this series of postings with “Part Three” — the third Monaco listed above, the one given as a gift by Steve McQueen to his business consultant, and sold at auction in June 2009.  Today, we publish “Part Two” of the series — the second Monaco listed above, the one worn by McQueen during the still photography / promotional shots for the movie Le Mans.

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Heuer Monaco, Worn by McQueen -- Part Three

I am aware of four Heuer Monacos said to have been “worn by McQueen”, as follows:

  1. worn by McQueen during the filming of the movie, Le Mans; sold by the property master in the early 2000s; now in the TAG Heuer Museum, in Switzerland.
  2. worn by McQueen during the still photography / promotional shots for Le Mans; sold by the property master in the early 2000s; has been in the hands of four different collectors since then; to be auctioned July 31, 2012.
  3. worn by McQueen while at Le Mans and then given by McQueen to his management consultant, Bill Maher, as a gift; sold at an Antiqourum auction in June 2009, and now in private hands.
  4. worn by McQueen . . . further details not known, at least for the moment.

The story of the “worn-by-McQueen” Monacos is mysterious, with conflicting versions of the facts and as many twists and turns as the Le Mans circuit.  Thus it is fitting that we start this series of postings with “Part Three” — the third Monaco listed above, the one given as a gift by Steve McQueen to his business consultant, and sold at auction in June 2009.

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What's OnTheDash of the World's Fastest Supercar (1975)? Heuers, Of Course!

Folklore has it that during a pre-delivery test run on the autostrada in January 1975, this 1974 Lamborghini Countach LP400 ‘Periscopa Speciale’ (chassis number 1120056) achieved a speed of 202 miles per hour (326 kph), making it the first production road car to break the 200 MPH mark.  While today’s consensus dismisses the 200 MPH claim, this Countach can stake a legitimate claim of being the fastest road car in the world, at that time.

The car had been specially ordered by Albert Silvera, a wealthy car collector living in Haiti who was a VIP customer of both Lamborghini and Ferrari.  One of the items that Silvera specified for his Countach was a pair of Heuer Rally Master dash-mounted timepieces, consisting of a matching 8-day Master Time clock and a 12-hour Monte Carlo stopwatch.

This is a brief overview of the Silvera Countach, with a focus on the Heuer timepieces that were factory-installed, upon Mr/ Silvera’s request.

Lamborghini Countach LP400 Silvera -- Profile

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Two Recent Sales of Steve McQueen’s Le Mans Racing Suit -- $829,000 Left on the Table

If you have ever been mad at yourself for selling a watch at a price that turned out to be a shade too low, consider the case of Morry Barmak, owner of “Collector Studio”, a gallery of motorsports art and memorabilia located in Toronto, Canada.  Morry recently had the good fortune of selling Steve McQueen’s Le Mans racing suit for $155,000, and then watching his buyer “flip” it for $984,000, three and one-half months later.

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Brad Pitt's Watch in Moneyball -- TAG Heuer Kirium

Watch collectors are different.  While most people watch movies for entertainment, for escape, or even for information, a “watch guy” may watch an entire movie for the sake of identifying the various watches worn by members of the cast.  Of course there are the famous ones, the watches worn by James Bond, Sylvester Stallone and the high-profile Hollywood ambassadors, but the “sightings” are also fun . . . spotting Lady Gaga in her Casio Baby-G or Jerry Seinfeld in a vintage Heuer Autavia (in place of his usual Breitling).

And so, with the release of the movie Moneyball on Friday, September 23rd, the “watch watchers” — and Brad Pitt watchers — will soon ask the question, “What watch is Brad Pitt wearing in Moneyball?”.

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