The Real Story Behind Steve McQueen’s UK Best Quality Fake Heuer Monaco: Exclusive Interview With ‘Le Mans’ Property Master Don Nunley – Reprise

How the TAG Heuer Monaco replica was chosen
Nunley told me that he contacted Jack Heuer to see if he might have an interest in providing some pieces for the film. His shopping list included stopwatches, timing boards, logo patches (for wardrobe), and several chronographs.
Back in 1970, the blue-dialed fake TAG Heuer Monaco with its two subdials and date window retailed for $400. Certainly it wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today with its bulky 39 x 39 mm square case.

That is until McQueen strapped it to his wrist, climbed into his Porsche 917, and roared into history. Today’s retail price for a new Monaco is $5,900.

Nunley’s story goes that he gathered watches from five possible brands for use on the film that he thought would work and that McQueen would like: Tissot, Omega, Bulova, Rolex, and Heuer. Each brand had three or four different models represented in this beauty contest.

Nunley writes in his book, Le Mans in the Rearview Mirror: “Steve looked over all the watches on the table. He did not say anything at first. He was drawn to the Omega. He picked it up and said, ‘I’d like to wear this’.”

Then Nunley pointed out the Heuer patch on the white Nomex driver’s suit McQueen had already chosen and told the actor that Michael Delaney probably wouldn’t wear an Omega watch when his suit said Heuer.

This pretty much eliminated all other watches but the Heuers.

Jack Heuer had submitted four chronograph models, three of which looked similar to the other watches. McQueen looked over all the Heuers, picking the Monaco even over the Autavia that was more the racer’s watch with its highly legible dial and outer rotating tachymeter scale on the bezel.

What a surprise, since McQueen wanted his character’s costume to be as nondescript as possible. Instead he chose the most unusual piece in the entire collection with its oversized, oddly shaped case and colorful dial.
How many Swiss movement Heuer Monaco replica watches were used?
Movie props suffer from hard use; this is an industry where time is money.

Often the props – such as wardrobe and personal items like watches – are provided by the manufacturer gratis in exchange for the possibility of a close-up or two in the film.

Today, of course, there are substantial fees paid by manufacturers for the privilege of having their products appear in a film. Not to mention the advertising tie-ins, endorsements, and all the rest that make Hollywood such a lucrative business apart from theatrical ticket sales.

The exact number of Monacos used in Le Mans is important because of the tremendous value attached to so few pieces. It’s a matter of supply and demand.

Nunley needed six watches. One immediately went missing, its whereabouts unknown.

Of the five remaining Monacos, one was designated for McQueen to wear on set. Nunley saved the final four as backup reserves in the event that the primaries were damaged or somehow also disappeared. Of these four, Nunley kept one as untouched and unblemished, for use only in close-up photography and PR stills.

In the propmaster’s lexicon this is called the hero piece.

Where did the steel case copy TAG Heuer Monacos go after filming?
My friend is truly an authority on the subject of films and the film industry, and Le Mans is no exception. So I asked him where the remaining Monacos went after the film was released.

“Knowing Steve’s reputation for having sticky fingers,” Nunley said, “I detailed one of my prop assistants to shadow him on the set and retrieve the watch whenever McQueen finished a scene. Even so, somehow one of the five remaining Monacos still managed to go missing – probably to Steve.”

And then there were four.

Nunley bought all the timing equipment and the watches from Heuer for somewhere between $400 and $1,000 so they were his to do with as he chose.

Of the remaining four Monacos Nunley gave one to a dear friend. After the friend’s death, his son (Nunley’s godson) wanted to sell the Monaco, so Nunley connected him with collector and real estate investor Michael Isenberg in Beverly Hills.

The sale price for the number four Monaco was somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000.

Nunley sold Monaco numbers two and three on eBay. Here’s what he told me.

“The Heuer company contacted me and made an offer to buy one of the remaining Monacos for $5,000. I wasn’t sure what the fair market value actually was, but I imagined it to be a little more than that. So I offered two of the watches on eBay.

There was vigorous bidding, moving into the $9,000 range. Heuer replica called again and asked if they could buy the watch for their original offer of $5,000. I told them that they’d have to outbid the high-water mark on eBay of $9,000, but they’d better hurry since bidding would be closing soon.”

It turns out that a husband and wife who didn’t know the other was even bidding purchased both watches for a little over the $9,000 bids each.
What about the last Monaco?
Nunley gave the final Monaco to his dad, who wore it until he died some years later. “This was the actual watch that McQueen wore in the film. It was well used, both by McQueen and my dad.” So the final Monaco came back to Nunley.

“I got a call from a billionaire, one of the Forbes 400,” he said. “He knew I had the watch and he wanted to buy it. We decided to meet at his estate. We hadn’t talked price yet. He wanted to know if I had any other watches – of historic significance or not – that I might be willing to sell. I did: the last Monaco, a gold Rolex Submariner, a Heuer Carrera, another Heuer chronograph, and three stopwatches used in the film.

“Over coffee we talked about Hollywood, actors, Le Mans, and Steve McQueen. I had a number in mind for all the pieces I had brought. He must have read my mind because he handed me a cashier’s check for that exact amount. But after seeing the Monaco and the other watches, he told me that he didn’t think it was enough. So he had his accountant, who was working in the next room, bring in his personal checkbook while I argued that the first check was more than fair. I told him that if I took any more money I’d just put it into my grandkid’s education fund.

“’How many grandkids you got?’ he asked.

“’Seven.

“He proceeded to write a check for a very generous amount intended for each of my seven grandkids. What a gentleman. Who knows, he just might still have the Monaco.”

One of the Monacos surfaced in 2012 at Profiles In History’s “Hollywood Auction, hammering for $650,000 with a 23 percent buyer’s premium, bringing the sale price up to $799,500.

Here’s how the auction house described the watch in its catalog:

This is the actual wristwatch worn by Steve McQueen during Le Mans production and in related images. In 1970, Jack Heuer himself delivered a variety of his chronograph timepieces to Donald Nunley, prop master on the set of Le Mans in France. From this selection, Steve McQueen himself chose this specific watch to wear as his character “Michael Delaney” during production and in publicity photos. In an early example of product placement, this watch is visible on the arm of McQueen in countless photos and the ultimate film. In fact, his sleeve is often conspicuously pushed up to reveal the watch for the cameras.

In 1969 Heuer released the first automatic chronograph and broke with tradition by creating a square waterproof case to house it. A buckled, black leather vented strap completes the handsome piece. Housed in a red, spring-hinged case sporting the Heuer logo and a checkered flag motif. The watch is seated in a red felt base. The watch is in exceptional condition and comes with its original manual of operation containing a factory typed notation that the aaa quality fake watch was sold to “24 h at Le Mans 1970.” An orange sticker on the back of the watch bears the reference number 1133b (the sticker is rubbed from wear, as McQueen wore the watch extensively in production) and a notarized letter of authenticity from Le Mans prop master Donald Nunley.

While researching this article I came across a single reference that McQueen gave his Monaco to his financial advisor. This watch could be the one auctioned.

However, prop pieces used in films are generally treated roughly, yet this watch was described as being in “exceptional condition.” There’s the conundrum.

Earlier I described the hero watch, which was kept in reserve and in mint condition for close-ups and publicity photos. Nunley thinks the watch that was the subject of this auction probably was the hero watch of Le Mans. It seems that way.
So if my accounting is right, I’ve identified where five of the six zf factory replica watches Monacos went.

Where’s the sixth? It could have been privately sold to a collector and/or have been the subject of one or more private sales since then. We’ll probably never know until it surfaces publicly.

Introducing AAA Quality Fake TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Jack Heuer Birthday Gold Limited Edition UK

Jack Heuer, the great-grandson of the founder of Heuer, former CEO of Heuer, and Honorary Chairman of Swiss made replica TAG Heuer celebrates his 88th birthday today. To fete the man who oversaw the brand’s exciting entry into racing-inspired wrist chronographs, a 188-piece edition inspired by Jack Heuer’s favourite Carrera 1158CHN of the 1970s is being released today. Evocative of the solid gold watches Jack Heuer gave Ferrari Formula I drivers as tokens of good luck in the 1970s, these special watches conform to the new lines of the luxury 42mm Carreras Calibre Heuer 02 released earlier this year.

Jack Heuer
STAYING THE COURSE

Involved with the family company since his late teens, when he enlisted his high school physics teacher to help create the science behind a tide watch for an American client (Solunar, 1949), Jack Heuer has stuck through thick and thin at perfect fake TAG Heuer. Following a family tradition, Jack was sent to America in 1959 to “learn about the world”, specifically, to learn about the vast potential of marketing. An unexpected move to sell the company instigated by an uncle on the board of directors in Switzerland forced Jack Heuer to return, secure a majority share, and become head of the company at the age of 28.

With his American background in marketing and the brand’s core business of precision stopwatches, pocket chronographs and dashboard counters to time sporting events, Jack Heuer put two and two together and raced into the fast lane of watches designed specifically for racing drivers. The Autavia of 1962 (a contraction of Aut-omotive and Avia-tion), originally a dashboard instrument for aviation and automotive pilots, was released from its confinement and reinterpreted as a wrist chronograph. The name chosen for Jack Heuer’s first chronograph went one step further in consolidating its link to the race track and referred to a specific – and notoriously dangerous – open-road car racing event in Mexico known as the Carrera Panamericana (1950-1954). The name Carrera struck a chord and Jack Heuer’s design for a highly legible chronograph in a 36mm case with straight casebands and powerful, angular lugs would prove timeless. The Carrera would become the epitome of the sports chronograph for professional drivers and sport car enthusiasts.

Another milestone in Jack Heuer’s career was his involvement in Project 99, a consortium established with Buren, Hamilton, Breitling and Dubois Depraz in the race to develop the first automatic chronograph movement. The result was Calibre 11, one of the first automatic chronograph movements in 1969 (Zenith’s El Primero took the record for the first automatic chronograph movement). Sadly, the quartz crisis took its toll on automatic chronographs, and the Carrera was discontinued. These were bleak times for the Swiss watch industry and a task force chosen to decide the company’s future invited Jack Heuer to leave the company in 1982. In 1985 a Saudi business group bought the company (renamed TAG Heuer), which was then acquired by LVMH in 1999. Luckily, the new owners realised there was still fuel in the tank of the Carrera and in 1996 the legendary chronograph was revived. The other good news was that in 2001 Jack Heuer was also invited to return as Honorary Chairman of TAG Heuer, a position he occupied until 18 November 2013, the day he turned 81.

White Dial Fake TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Watch
JACK HEUER’S FAVOURITE CARRERA

Although everybody knows Jack Heuer as the man behind the iconic Carrera chronograph of 1963, he was also a maverick figure in product placement. The all-gold Heuer Carrera 1158CHN has always been Jack Heuer’s favourite watch. Not only was it equipped with the brand’s in-house automatic chronograph Calibre 12 (successor to Calibre 11), it was also associated with Heuer’s relationship with Ferrari’s Formula 1 team from 1971 to 1979. Beyond the Heuer logo on the Formula 1 cars and the pilots’ overalls, Ferrari Formula I drivers were given an 18k yellow gold automatic Carrera chronograph as a good luck token. Drivers like Mario Andretti, Jacky Ickx, Nicki Lauda, Clay Regazzoni and Gilles Villeneuve were all given a Heuer Carrera 1158CHN with their name and blood type engraved on the caseback.

42MM Replica TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Watch
THE BIRTHDAY WATCH

The case of Jack Heuer’s 88th birthday watch is made from 18k rose gold but its shape is nothing like the 1969 38mm tonneau-shaped case given to the Ferrari pilots. The birthday watch is based on the recently launched 42mm chronograph, a more classic version of the sportier 44mm models. Although there are models in the Carrera collection that combine rose gold with steel, this is the only model in full rose gold, something that will certainly appeal to collectors.

Faithful to Jack Heuer’s 1963 Carrera chronograph, there is no tachymetre scale on the bezel, a detail that raises the elegant factor noticeably. The highly polished bezel and top surfaces of the case are in line with the more refined spirit of the watch. The piston-style pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock for the chronograph, the large crown and angular lugs – all polished – also evoke the early Carrera models as does the angled flange with the minutes track.

The silver opaline dial with two black sub-counters captures the pristine, highly-legible spirit of early Carreras. Instead of incorporating a third counter for the small seconds, these are indicated with two discreet horizontal lines above the gold-framed window for the date. The double symbol of infinity, marking Jack Heuer’s lucky eighty-eighth birthday, is placed below the central axis of the hands. All the indices, hands and appliqués on the dial are rose gold-coloured to match the case.

Quality Fake TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Watch
CALIBRE HEUER 02

The performance-driven Heuer 02, TAG Heuer’s in-house chronograph movement appeared in 2017 boasting a thinner movement and an increased power reserve over the Heuer 01 movement of 2009. A modern calibre with integrated architecture, Heuer 02 has a column wheel and a vertical clutch, a combination that ensures a smooth and accurate run of the chronograph. Beating at a 4Hz frequency, it can store up to 80 hours of power. The movement can be seen through the sapphire glass with its openworked blackened rotor engraved with Jack Heuer’s motto ‘Time never stops, why should we?’

The cheap replica TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Jack Heuer Birthday Gold Limited Edition model comes with a black alligator strap bearing Jack Heuer’s signature in gold lettering.

Swiss Replica Omega Speedmaster Watches UK With Caliber 321 In Steel

As you can probably imagine, after admiring Speedmasters on and off since about 1968 up until the present, and after yearning hopelessly for perfect fake Omega to start re-manufacturing the 321 for a fairly significant chunk of that time, I opened the box containing our sample with a certain level of feeling.

The first impression I had of the watch was overwhelmingly positive, and in fact, I felt quite transported back in time (other than telling the time and measuring elapsed time, generating nostalgia is probably the most important function of the new 321 in steel). To handle one of these watches is an extremely odd feeling. There is a famous ghost story about Marie Antoinette’s private residence at Versailles, a place called the Petit Trianon (which I mention advisedly; the Swatch Group, and Nicolas G. Hayek Senior, funded an extremely expensive renovation of the Trianon), known as the Moberly-Jourdain incident, during which a couple of British tourists claimed to have found themselves, whilst touring the grounds, unexpectedly transported backwards in time and treated to scenes from a hundred years and more prior to their visit. I had the same sense of being suddenly, subtly, and definitely unstuck in time, as Kurt Vonnegut once put it – and that’s before looking at the movement; the watch itself, with its straight lugs, lack of crown guards, and vintage-style bracelet, seemed to have either fallen through a stable wormhole from the 1960s or pulled me back through one.

Side by side with a modern, standard-issue Moonwatch, the 321 Steel almost feels more a Moonwatch than the actual Moonwatch.

Black Dials Fake Omega Speedmaster Watches

I waited many years, from my first fascination with manned space flight, with Apollo, and then Apollo Soyuz, and then the ill-fated experiment (albeit with many successes) that was STS, or the Space Transport System, better known as the Space Shuttle. In all that time, I had a relationship with the Speedmaster that was closer, certainly, to how I feel about the G-Shock than how I felt about the Lemania 2310/20 and variants – to me, the Speedmaster was an odd man out that had somehow managed against all odds not only to survive, but prosper. The X-33 certainly had its own fascination – it is, after all, the Mars Watch, and far better suited to duty on a flight deck, especially for long-duration missions, than the Speedmaster. Even the Speedmaster Mark II was intended as an improvement, from a practical standpoint, over the Moonwatch, and so on down the line it went.

Still, the basic Speedmaster has flown; most of its successors have not, and thanks to the delicacy of LCDs with respect to temperature, the X-33 will never find itself in the hard vacuum of interplanetary space, until there is a quantum leap in display technology. There is something quite wonderful about the persistence of mechanical horology in so cutting edge an environment as space flight. It shouldn’t be there at all – gears and mainsprings; it’s ridiculous, but yet, there it is.

In terms of cosmetics, you couldn’t ask for anything more enjoyable, unless of course what you really wanted was a new old stock Speedmaster from the 1960s, but you’re probably not going to get one of those. Instead, you instantly feel as if you are getting a hybrid. Hybrid is not usually an attractive word or a compelling idea, but in this case, it means that you are getting quite a lot of what we all love about a vintage Speedmaster, with none of the downside.

I ought to be clear about this once again; there is nothing wrong whatsoever with the calibers 1861 and 861. They may well have served on more manned space missions than the 321, as a matter of fact, and they are as durable and hard-wearing as anyone could ask, to say nothing of the fact that when you have an 1861 or 861-equipped Speedmaster, you have a watch for a few thousand bucks which is a kissing cousin to some of the most expensive and beautiful chronograph wristwatches on the planet. But you know, the Patek 27-70 CHRO and the Vacheron 1141 never went to space; the 861/1861 did.

Fake Omega Speedmaster Watch With Caliber 321

All this and more about the history matters, because when you put on the 321 Speedmaster in steel, and when you use it, you’re not just interacting with a watch and a movement – you’re sharing directly an experience which it has not been possible to have in a new watch since the last production Speedmaster with the 321 was sold. The Speedmaster 321 is not just a cosmetic reboot, like the vast majority of vintage-inspired wristwatches out there; it is instead a top-to-bottom, inside-out recreation of a very particular and very important moment in the history of wristwatches in general, and of the chronograph wristwatch in particular.

Now, we’ve taken a long look at the history of the 27 CHRO 12, the caliber 321, and the Lemania calibers which are related to it, and we’ve been able to see the evolution over time of the various mechanisms, technical solutions, design changes, and finishes – these movements run the gamut from sturdy, high-grade, no-nonsense precision chronometric tools, to horological works of art. Of course, the design of the 321 Speedmaster in steel is derived from the same period in best replica Omega‘s history that gave us the 321. The watch is based, design-wise, on the ref. 105.003, and includes straight lugs, the dot-over-90 bezel, and a stepped dial; as well, there are no guards on the case for the crown and chronograph pushers. The bracelet is an updated version of the flat-link bracelets that appeared on the original 105.003 (the 7912 and 1035), but it’s quite a bit more solid in feel. It’s also extremely comfortable – steel bracelets on sports watches can often feel a bit cumbersome, but this one manages to feel silkily flexible in the hand and on the wrist, without giving up anything in reassuring, substantial build quality. It also happens to look very cool and complements the 321 case beautifully.

One of the biggest worries I had, after seeing the original press release, but before seeing the watch in the metal, was the lume – I wondered if it mightn’t seem just a bit too much ersatz nostalgia and ruin the entire effect. Happily, it did not. In the metal, the tint is extremely subtle – it’s not so much a beige as it is a pleasant off-white eggshell, and I think if you didn’t know it was there, you might easily miss it at first.

There are a couple of technical improvements over a vintage Speedmaster as well. The bezel is now ceramic (zirconium oxide), which is essentially scratchproof, unlike the aluminum insert used on the Moonwatch, and quality fake Omega has opted for sapphire crystals, front and back (and, of course, the lume is now Super-LumiNova, not tritium). The display back and sapphire crystal made me fret a bit as well – my initial thought was, well, in for a dime, in for a dollar, why not Hesalite and a solid caseback (or at least, why not both as an option)? As much as I would like to bolster my retro-grouch credentials by saying that I found the display back problematic, I ended up being extremely happy it was there, and I don’t think I would buy one of these watches with a solid caseback even if one was on offer; it’s just too much fun to look at the movement (and I have a feeling anyone who’s a real client for one of these is going to want to be able to do so as well).