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Any replica watches brand of watches would love to claim a truly "iconic" chronograph in their lineup, but TAG Heuer probably has a pair, including the famous square Monaco. When (pre-TAG) Heuer launched the Monaco in 1969, it was the first Swiss-made automatic chronograph that was square and water resistant. Now, they've revealed the special edition of the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf that specifically recalls Steve McQueen's role in making Monaco famous.

The Heuer Monaco rose to fame after Steve McQueen wore it on his wrist during his appearance in the 1971 film, Le Mans. In the same film, McQueen's character is sponsored by Gulf Oil, and you'll see that his white livery also sports the blue and orange stripes, as in the famous photo above. So the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition is inspired not only by the original Heuer Monaco, but also by Steve McQueen and his character at Le Mans. TAG Heuer says it's also a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Gulf Racing Stripes and its role in motor racing.

In its essence, the special edition of the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf has remained faithful replica watches uk to the original. For example, the crown is still on the left of the watch case, there is a highly domed sapphire crystal, and the dial is blue with a sun-brushed finish. It is powered by the TAG Heuer Caliber 11 which is very similar to the movement found in the original Monaco with the benefit of modern manufacturing methods and tolerances. The Caliber 11 offers 40 hours of power reserve and 4Hz beats. It is a proven and reliable movement and, just like the caliber 1861 is for the Speedmaster, it is indelibly linked to the Heuer Monaco.

The stainless steel case is 39mm in diameter, but being square in shape means it wears a lot more than you might think. Both the case and case have an alternating brushed and polished finish to give the case some visual interest. Unlike the original Monaco, the Gulf Special's dealers are square, which I think very well suited to the aesthetics of the watch. As mentioned above, the watch has a highly domed and domed sapphire crystal. This was one of the hallmarks of the original 1969 Monaco and one of the features that made it water resistant. Speaking of water resistance, the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition is rated at 100m, even with its display caseback (which TAG Heuer hasn't provided a snapshot of the moment).

While the movement and case are similar to many Munich re-issues and special editions we've seen before, the dial is where this version stands out. The base of the dial is the original dark blue with a sunbeam brush, as might be found on the original Heuer Monaco. The gulf stripes are then rolex replica applied to the right half of the dial. While the decision to have the off-center stripes makes sense given that this is how the Gulf stripes are applied to cars and livery, I suspect this may prove to be a love-hating design element with collectors demanding symmetry.