A Monaco wristwatch worn by Steve McQueen on the set of 1971 racing film, Le Mans, has set a new world record of $2,208,000 for a Swiss fake Heuer timepiece.
The hammer price was set at the Phillips Racing Pulse auction in New York.
It was sold without a publicly-stated pre-sale estimate, but bidding began at $200,000 and ended seven minutes later with an online bid of $1.8 billion (before buyer’s premium).
Enthusiasm for the Monaco surged last year, the 50th anniversary of the launch of the best quality TAG Heuer Monaco replica with its revolutionary automatic chronograph movement.
But the connection to Steve McQueen and his performance in Le Mans, was the catalyst for the highest price ever paid for a Heuer watch.
The watch was gifted by Mr McQueen to his personal and film set mechanic, Haig Alltounian, who directly put it up for sale with Phillips. It has a case back engraved “TO HAIG Le MANS 1970” by Mr McQueen.
“Steve McQueen and his Heuer Monaco not only became one of the most recognised and celebrated timepieces of the last century, but it forever shaped the culture of cheap copy TAG Heuer. We have been humbled by the excitement within the watch community leading up to the auction, and this record result is a testament to the historic importance and continued legacy of this Heuer timepiece,” says Frédéric Arnault, CEO of TAG Heuer.
Paul Boutros, head of Americas for Phillips Watches, and senior vice president, adds: “This luxury fake historic watch will always be associated with the glamour and thrill of auto racing, and it can certainly be considered one of the most important Heuer wristwatches of all time.”