SERVICE & REPAIR: Vintage Heuer Monaco Chronograph

On the bench for this post is the Heuer Monaco Chronograph powered by the calibre 11 movement. Introduced in 1969 by Heuer (now known as TAG Heuer), the Monaco quickly gained attention for its distinctive square-shaped case and innovative automatic chronograph movement with a date calendar complication.

Case design

The aesthetic design of the Heuer Monaco was an innovative aspect of this timepiece. Its distinctive square case, with sharp angles and bold lines, was a departure from the conventional round cases of the era. The watch also featured a vibrant blue dial with contrasting white sub-dials, which further contributed to its unique and eye-catching appearance. The large square-shaped case allowed for better visibility of the chronograph functions and made the Monaco an instant style statement.

The Heuer Monaco gained global recognition when it appeared on the wrist of actor Steve McQueen in the 1971 film “Le Mans.” Today, the model is often referred to as the “Steve McQueen Monaco” due to its association with the legendary actor.

Movement Engineering

In collaboration with movement specialists Dubois-Dépraz, Heuer developed the calibre 11 movement. This movement was notable for being one of the first automatic chronograph movements ever created. It also utilized a micro-rotor style automatic. The calibre 11 movement had a power reserve of around 40 hours and offered accurate timekeeping along with the added functionality of a chronograph and date calendar. This movement is also used in other makes such as the Breitling Navitimer.


Over the years, the Heuer Monaco Chronograph has undergone several updates and iterations. The original model was produced until the mid-1970s before being discontinued. However, due to its enduring popularity and cult status, TAG Heuer reintroduced the Monaco in the late 1990s. The modern versions pay homage to the original design while incorporating contemporary materials and movements. See this post on Bob’s watches for more information.

Servicing the Heuer Monaco

This piece was in good vintage condition, needing only a complete disassembly service and some minor repair. Although a complicated piece, it is divided into a chronograph module, and a time/date module for ease of disassembly. It ran very well, with a rate between positions averaging 3-4 sec/day My experience with this movement is that it maintains its ability to run well even after years of use. Please visit my services page for information on service and repair of your vintage watch.