The classic square-faced Heuer Monaco, recently revived for its 40th anniversary, was of course elevated to iconic status when the great Steve McQueen sported one during filming on his famed 1971 racing flick Le Mans – the perfect match of the king of cool and a damned cool chronograph, and a powerful package that TAG Heuer has been using to sell watches ever since. However, it seems McQueen wasn’t the only cool dude to sport the Monaco; he may not even have been the first.
On June 10 during Antiquorum’s Important Collectors’ Wristwatches, Pocket Watches & Clocks sale in New York the auction house is offering a Heuer Monaco that belonged to Rat Pack icon Sammy Davis Jr. Photographic evidence shows him wearing it on a trip to Vietnam to entertain the troops, which could well pre-date McQueen’s adoption of the model. Last year McQueen’s own Monaco sold at auction for a world record $87,600. Davis’ watch, made in 1969, carries a lowball estimate of only $4,000 – $6,000 – but don’t count on winning it at that price.