Legend Of Speed: The TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition
Some colour combinations over time just become locked into a brand or a time or place and for old-school racing fans, there is just no going past the pale blue and orange of Gulf Oil. Over the years, this livery has graced some of the most iconic race cars from the likes of Porsche, Ford, and McLaren. The instantly recognizable color scheme has become a beloved part of motorsports history. And fittingly the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition pays homage to this history which has also become a part of its own history.
Perhaps the most famous of Gulf Oil sponsorships is the Ford GT40 that took four consecutive victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1966 to 1969. This dominance helped to cement Gulf Oil’s status as a motorsports icon and the distinctive blue and orange livery became an instant classic.
Gulf Oil also sponsored Porsche during the early 1970s, most notably on the Porsche 917. This car was a true motorsports legend, winning Le Mans in both 1970 and 1971. The 917 of course was also famously driven by Steve McQueen in the film “Le Mans,” further cementing its place in racing lore.
TAG Heuer has been paying tribute to the Gulf Oil livery with its Monaco watches since 2007, and the new TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition is the most refined execution of this theme to date. The watch features a brushed and polished steel case measuring 39mm in diameter. The crown is also made of polished steel and bears the TAG Heuer logo, while the chronograph pushers are placed on either side of the crown and are colour-coordinated with the Gulf colours of blue and orange.
The dial of the Monaco Gulf Special Edition is where the true beauty of the watch comes to life. The opaline sunray brushed dial is adorned with Gulf accents in blue and orange, and for the first time in a Monaco Gulf edition, the three colours are present on the minute sub-counters at 3 o’clock. The Gulf logo on the dial is also totally white, adding to the clean and elegant design of the watch.
Powering the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition is the brand’s in-house movement, the Heuer 02. This automatic movement is comprised of 168 components and boasts a power reserve of up to 80 hours. It also features a column wheel and vertical clutch, which are hallmarks of high-end chronograph movements. The Heuer 02 movement is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback, where the oscillating mass and column wheel have been personalised and coloured to match the Gulf orange pantone.
The TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition is also notable for its strap, which is made of perforated blue calfskin leather with an orange lining. The strap has the typical perforation seen in Monaco Gulf editions, but with different hole sizes, reminiscent of the design originally fitted to Monaco models in the 1970s. The strap is fastened with a steel folding clasp with safety push buttons and features the TAG Heuer logo.
With its thoughtful design and robust in-house movement, the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition is a fitting tribute to Gulf Oil’s storied racing history.