History will show that Steve McQueen was known to most Porsche fans as much more than a Hollywood movie star. McQueen was a race car driver, motorsport enthusiast extraordinaire, and perhaps more importantly, the man behind the iconic and legendary film “Le Mans” that brought “Hollywood to motor racing”.
Some of the best know and most popular images of McQueen depict the actor wearing his Gulf racing suit and now famous Tag Heuer Monaco watch. That very watch is for sale at an auction being held by Antiquorum this 11th of June in NY. Here’s what the catalog has to say.
This Monaco wristwatch was previously owned by Steve McQueen and worn by him during the filming of the 1971 movie “Le Mans”.
The photograph of Steve McQueen wearing the Heuer Monaco during the movie “Le Mans” is one of the most iconic images of both actor and watch. He is not seen wearing the watch again in any candid photographs taken post filming, yet those who worked with him and recall his penchant for leaving the set with souvenir goodies will testify he would never have returned the watch to the property master at the close of filming. This has always led to the question what happened to the Monaco?
The Antiquorum catalog goes on to answer this question in great detail. In doing so, it unquestionably establishes its provenance as one of the four watches, documented in the Tag Heuer archives, as being given by Heuer for the filming of “Le Mans”. This is the first time one has ever appeared for sale at auction. As a watch personally worn by Steve McQueen, this auction is a rare and unique opportunity to own a “true icon of horological, automotive and cinematic history”.
Timing is Everything
Antiquorum’s catalog suggests a price range of $10,000 to $20,000 for McQueen’s Monaco. With the 77th running of the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans (a race forever connected to McQueen, Porsche and Tag Heuer) little more than a week away, combined with Heuer’s upcoming release of the 40th anniversary Monaco (you may remember I selected this watch a great father’s day gift for the Porsche lover), you have to wonder just how high the bidding on this watch will go. My thoughts are the watch will sell for much, much more than the predicted pre-bidding price range. After all, what better way is there for Tag Heuer to introduce a replica of this exact watch then with a strong price in a high-profile auction?
There are many other McQueen items for sale at this auction, including his Rolex Submariner and Explorer, a 1929 Scott Super Squirrel (motorcycle for the uninitiated) painted by Von Dutch and other interesting goodies. If you’re a McQueen fan, watch collector or both, don’t miss this auction. Even if you’re just curious, the web-site and virtual catalog are well done and provide a wealth of information on these items and many others.
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[Source: Antiquorum.com, TagHeuer.com, RoyalJewelers.com]