Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer and F1 team Red Bull Racing celebrated their ongoing partnership in spectacular fashion with a Grand Prix cocktail party at Melbourne’s foremost rooftop bar, Luminare. Among the event highlights was the unveiling of an Aston Martin Red Bull Connected Modular 45 Special Edition, which infuses TAG Heuer’s smartwatch with some high octane personality. On hand was F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, along with special guests like TV personality Nikki Phillips, singer Anthony Callea and Olympic swimmer Mack Horton.
Rocking the new Monaco Gulf 2018 Special Edition watch (more on that later), Man of Many was also present for the festivities. Indeed, between the delicious drinks, gorgeous faces, crazy light shows, stunning timepieces and immersive racing simulations, our adrenaline was flowing to say the least. Heck, it’s days later and we’re still coming down off this high.
Now three years strong, the TAG Heuer and Red Bull Racing partnership is running as smoothly as an RB13 race car. That’s no surprise, whereas both brands tout impeccable records of success while keeping the innovation factor high. To prove as much, TAG Heuer unleashed their new limited edition smartwatch amidst a motorsport-inspired 3D projection and light show spectacle.
Dubbed the Aston Martin Red Bull Connected Modular 45 Special Edition, the watch is brilliant in design and functionality alike. Features include a substantial 45mm case that’s decked out in Red Bull Racing team colours, an exclusive dial with GMT function (essential for pros as they travel the globe), a black rubber strap and the F1 team logo applied at 09H. That’s joined by all the functionality offered by the standard Modular 45…which is a lot of functionality. We’re talking water-resistance of up to 50 metres, NFC sensor for payments, AMOLED display, customisable dials and a slew of apps.
MCing the event were Aussie sports journalist Mark Beretta and Mel McLaughlin. They welcomed Ricciardo onto the stage to discuss both TAG Heuer’s extensive history in motorsport, as well as his personal feelings about being back on home turf for the Australian Grand Prix. Afterward, it was time to play, as Ricciardo and fellow speed junkie Fabian Coulthard went head to head in a brutally intense Gran Turismo simulator race (which Ricciardo won). The simulation was in no small part motivated by TAG Heuer’s recent foray into digital entertainment as Official Time Keeper for Gran Turismo.
Oh, and did we mention we were there? Yeah, we know we did, but we want to say it again because it brings back such good memories. Strapped to our collective wrist was the new Monaco Gulf 2018 Special Edition watch, a stunning and singular timepiece if there ever was one. Flaunting blue and green stripes inside a square case, the piece commemorates TAG Heuer’s official partnership with Gulf Oil International.
Gulf Oil has been a mainstay in motorsport for decades, so it’s no surprise that they and TAG Heuer might team up. In fact, this isn’t the first time that the two companies have joined forces. Among their previous collaborations, the most iconic was in the 1971 film Le Mans, when Steve McQueen wore a Heuer Monaco while zipping around in a Gulf-sponsored Porsche 917.
Of course, the Heuer Monaco is quite legendary in its own right. First launched in 1969, it was the first Swiss automatic chronograph to feature a square design and foolproof water-resistance. Everything about the piece–from the straight contours to the domed plexiglass crystal to the unique positioning of the crown–was groundbreaking at the time. Equally (if not more) worthy of note was the use of calibre 11, marking the first time in history that automatic chronograph movement was produced for mass consumption. Suffice to say, the Monaco remains a bona fide benchmark in TAG Heuer’s ongoing legacy, and a choice addition to any collector’s arsenal.
As for the Monaco Gulf 2018 Special Edition, it’s naturally a sight to behold. Making overt nods to the original “McQueen Monaco”, the new special edition includes a 39mm steel case secured by four screws, a crown on the lefthand side, an open case back, a petroleum blue dial with white counters, two push buttons, a sapphire crystal dome, diamond-polished horizontal hour indices and a petroleum blue leather strap with orange stitching. Also featured are the aforementioned blue and orange stripes along with logos from both brands on the dial. Powered by calibre 11 automatic chronograph (which can be seen through the case-back), and water resistant up to 100 metres, the piece delivers no shortage of historic awesomeness in all sorts of ways. Thank you, TAG Heuer. This one’s definitely a keeper!