December 4, 2020

Golden Age of Films & Racing: The Auction of Steve McQueen’s Heuer Monaco Wristwatch

2 min read

A Heuer Monaco worn by Steve McQueen throughout the manufacturing of Le Mans goes to public sale on December 12. The Monaco rose to fame following the discharge of Le Mans, the place it garnered dozens of minutes of display screen time-strapped to McQueen’s wrist. The watch and its funky sq. case featured prominently on promoting materials for the movie. It grew to become hooked up to McQueen’s model of cool and to that golden age of racing.

McQueen gifted this specific watch (one among simply six Monacos procured by the movie‘s manufacturing division) to Haig Alltounian on the conclusion of filming Le Mans. Alltounian served as chief mechanic on the movie, a necessary position, given unique prototype racers like Porsche’s 917 recurrently reached triple-digit speeds onset (one stunt driver even crashed and misplaced a leg throughout filming). When McQueen handed over the watch, Alltounian remembers him saying, “Thanks for holding me alive all these months.” Alltounian says he initially turned down the reward, however, McQueen had already engraved the watch’s case back “To Haig Le Mans 1970.”

Whereas McQueen’s story is well-known, Alltounian’s is equally fascinating. An acolyte for all times, the SoCal native started novice racing together with his personal 1959 Porsche RSK Spyder. When his racing funds ran quick, he discovered employment, employed by Shelby American to assemble their 289 Cobra on the manufacturing facility line. Simply two weeks later, Alltounian landed his dream job wrenching in Shelby’s racing division. Years later, Alltounian joined Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers. He labored there from 1965 by means of 1968.

Alltounian was assigned as Denny Hulme’s race mechanic for the 1968 Indy 500. The pair remained longtime associates, and Alltounian supposedly positioned a suggestion that landed Hulme a job on Bruce McLaren’s Can-Am workforce.

Later, Alltounian labored for John Von Neumann’s Competitors Motors racing workforce, serving as chief mechanic for drivers together with Ken Miles and Richie Ginther. In 1970, McQueen’s manufacturing firm requested Alltounian if he’d act as chief mechanic on the movie and assist get McQueen again up to the mark in racing beforehand. The pair competed within the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring, securing second place in a Porsche 908/02. Not dangerous for a warmup.

So, whereas a wristwatch is only a wristwatch on the finish of the day, they do bear witness to some unbelievable tales. This watch, strapped to McQueen’s wrist on a 200-mph run down Le Mans’s Mulsanne, then given to Alltounian later that very same day, tells a greater story than most.

Phillips will public sale off the watch on December 12, 2020, as a part of its Racing Pulse occasion.

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