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The „Monaco/Le Mans“ History Story

The „Monaco/Le Mans“ History Story by Jasper Bitter

Steve Mc Queen wanted to make the movie „ Le Mans” so authentic as possible and so he imitated Jo Siffert as one at that time famous race drivers in his act.
That’s why he wears the same race-overall model as Jo Siffert has with the Heuer sticker on it too.
It seemed like there was a contact between Steve ( as a very good hobby race driver he know Siffert of course) and Jo Siffert, because Jo was informed about the movie shortly before the shots started in le Mans.
Jo Siffert was under marketing contract with Heuer-Watches at those days so he informed his friend Jack Heuer in autumn 1970 about the film.
Jack Heuer was a very creative men and ceo of Heuer/Swiss, so he had the idea to send a choice of Heuer Chronomatics Watches to the set and to offer them to the actors( without of charges, as a gift). His idea was especially that the one watch that Steve Mc Queen would get, perhaps could be seen later on the movie as free advertisement for Heuer watches.
As there where autumn seasons holidays in Switzerland and the Heuer headquarter clerks had a few days of work, Jack rung up the german Heuer agency in Frankfurt am Main and spook to the ceo Gert about his idea.
It was Thursday about midday as jack rung up and the shots to the movie should start on Saturday in le Mans, to late to ship the watches to the set or to organising something else, so Gert made a short decision and got into his red Alfa Romeo Spider and drove to Switzerland to the Heuer headquarters to meet Jack there.
On Friday morning he met Jack who had all ready set up a box with 15 chronomatic models as choices for the different actors to choose from. Next to the famous Monaco models there where Autavias ( as Jo Sifferts favoured choice) and of course also Carreras . Gert took same Heuer stopwatches and timers with him too. All watches where carefully hidden in the rear trunk of the car.
So Gert continued his journey from Switzerland to France, and as driving in a german registered car he was of course stopped by the French customs police and got checked . After explaining what the watches where for and a long discussion, he finally had to pay a lot of taxes from the value from over 20 watches to the customs too.
So with only 60 Swiss-francs left in his pocket he headed further to le Mans.
He finally arrived on Saturday morning at the movie set . Gert only saw Steve Mc Queen shortly and gave the box with the watches to the assistant property master( requisiteur). Steve Mc Queen took the first and free choice from the box and took as we all know the Monaco automatic model Cal.11, the over watches where given to the actors in the film at the set. All Watches came with garantie- papers/booklets and where signed at the set.( This would be a version told like on one Monaco that was offered on ebay last year, wrote and sold with a documents at the film set in le Mans!!) Well Gert drove nearly 1000 miles for this action in 4 days as he got back home in Frankfurt on Monday morning . Satisfied he rung up Jack to tell him about his success, but later in 1971 he and Jack Heuer saw the movie and they where more than pleased that and how long Steve M Queen with the Heuer Monaco watch where seen in the film. Gert made up a cooperation with Paramount Pictures as the movie came out in Germany and the Heuer dealers in Germany got the movie-poster and put up displays with Heuer chronomatic watches in the entrances of the local cinemas to make a marketing event/advertisement from it. So that’s how the Monaco came free of charge into the movie le Mans!!

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