The elements that determine the value of a watch are condition, rarity and complications, and perhaps the biggest one, provenance. A simple watch not worth a couple thousand bucks can bring stacks of cash if it belonged to the right person. Witness Elizabeth Taylor’s Cobra wristwatch.
Now imagine if the provenance included Steve McQueen. Anything related to McQueen is supercool practically by definition. He was able to straddle that line where women loved him and men wanted to be him. Nobody else can be McQueen, but what if you could own something that once belonged to him . . . or even better, the watch that so many associate with McQueen at his coolest, racing in the movie Le Mans? Well, you have the opportunity to capture some of that cool tomorrow when a Heuer Monaco that graced McQueen’s wrist during the shooting of Le Mans goes up for auction at a Profiles in History “Hollywood Auction.
According to vintage Heuer enthusiast Jeff Stein, there are likely four Monacos that rightfully stake the claim to having been “Worn by Steve at Le Mans”. The first one McQueen wore for the filming of Le Mans during the racing scenes; the second one, sold by Antiquorum in 2009 for $87K, McQueen gave to his business consultant Bill Maher; the third is a bit of a mystery, with lore suggesting that McQueen gave it to a Los Angeles “car guy”, who sold him a Porsche or arranged for him to buy one.
The fourth Monaco, this one here, was also used during the shooting of Le Mans. It was used for “beauty shots,” a term used in Hollywood to showcase a product or person to perfection. Although McQueen may have worn it only for close-ups and promotional purposes, I bet his sweat is in that band. How do we know this watch to be true and authentic? The difference between a $20K watch and one worth $300K? Because Don Nunley, the prop master on Le Mans, says so. He handled all the props, probably strapped it on McQueen himself, and has provided a letter regarding this Monaco’s authenticity.
This McQueen Monaco is absolutely mint, like it was left in a time capsule for 40 years. The provenance on it is impeccable, so if ever you wanted roll like McQueen did, here’s your chance.