You dock a yacht in Monaco, invite 90 persons of different backgrounds from all parts of the world during the weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix. Then provide everything one can possibly want at your beckon call and you have the makings of a magical weekend.
Tag Heuer, which serves as the “Official Watch” of the Monaco Grand Prix and as a sponsor for the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, was the weekend’s host aboard the Seadream 1, a 355-foot yacht of 54 cabins. World class athletes, supermodels, journalists, retailers and other invited guests—both famous and nameless, approximately 90 in all—mingled and bonded beneath picture-perfect skies. Even Prince Albert II of Monaco came onboard one night for dinner.
The only person missing during the weekend was Jean-Claude Biver, the outspoken Tag Heuer CEO who was in the hospital recovering from back surgery. Filling in admirably during the various events throughout the weekend was Valérie Servageon, marketing director of the LVMH Watch Division.
The guests of honor on the yacht were New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, and supermodel, Bella Hadid. Both are Tag Heuer ambassadors. Another special guest was 2014 Miss Universe, Paulina Vega Dieppa of Colombia.
Brady has been a Tag Heuer brand ambassador for nearly three years and is associated with both the Tag Heuer Carrera and the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 watch. TAG Heuer even created the Tom Brady Special Edition Heuer 01 Carrera chronograph after the Patriots won the 2017 Super Bowl.
Being true to the brand Brady was wearing the 45mm TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01, with white rubber strap. His appeal for the Carrera began long ago when he first began buying watches and he now has a large collection of this particular watch. “It’s the first watch I ever bought for myself 17 years ago.”
Meanwhile, he says he is starting to include the Connected Modular 45 into his workouts and looks forward for software advancements.
“I love the connected. I think the first edition was great and the second edition is going to be more incorporated for sports such as golf and for tracking speeds and fitness,” he said. “It’s a great everyday watch. It’s light and so functional and I think it allows us to be tech enabled in a smart way.”
Formula 1 racing is fairly new to Brady (“It’s not really an American thing”) but he has attended a few races thanks to his partnership with Tag Heuer. He has gotten to know a few drivers personally and has a great of respect for their athleticism and skills. He mentioned several times during the weekend how impressed he is by the speed in which the pit crews operate.
Unlike Brady, Hadid was exposed to fine watches and classic (and fast) cars through her father, Mohamed Hadid.
“Growing up, my dad was always really into watches and it was something that was very dear to him,” she said. “Watches to me are something that is very classic and very luxurious, but what I also saw is, it kind of brought personality to him.”
She’s been to Monaco before but it was her first time in the principality as an ambassador for Tag Heuer. It was also her first Monaco Grand Prix.
“It’s something I want to learn about because I always loved cars,” she said. “So being here and being able to experience it and being able to learn about the grid, timing, starters and all that, I’m just soaking it all in.”
Hadid is associated with the Tag Heuer Link for women but on this bright Saturday morning, the day before the May 27 race, she was wearing the white Tag Heuer Monaco for women, perhaps the most appropriate watch for the race. It’s modeled after the iconic Monaco square watch Steve McQueen wore in the 1971 film, Le Mans.
“I love a square watch,” she said. “It’s really a classic watch and it’s so cool. It’s perfect for wearing on the weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix.”
The watch I chose for the weekend was also a Monaco. More precisely it was the Monaco Gulf Special Edition, unveiled during the 2018 Geneva auto show in March. This watch certainly harkens back to the Le Mans movie, in which Gulf Oil logo and colors appeared on Steve McQueen’s racing uniform and car. The watch dial sports the light blue, orange and dark blue stripes of Gulf as well as the Gulf logo and the original Heuer logo, (prior to its merger with Tag). The iconic 39mm by 39mm square-shape steel case contains the original Caliber 11 movement, with the crown at 9 o’clock. It was the perfect watch for the perfect weekend.
The day before the race, other famous visitors came onto the yacht, including Cadel Evans, 2011 Tour de France winner and friend of the brand, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, friend of the brand, and Daniel Ricciardo, driver of the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Formula One team, who ended up winning the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix. Ricciardo first appeared on a small boat 100 feet away receiving passes from Brady who was on the main deck of the Seadream, before joining the others on the yacht on a stage designed as a football field.
As Ricciardo left to prepare for the race, Tag Heuer held a White Party on the yacht with music led by D.J. Martin Solveig. Also at the party was the camera shy graffiti artist, Alec Monopoly.
The previous night Prince Albert II of Monaco came onto the yacht to attend a formal dinner in his honor where he sat between Hadid and Vega Dieppa.
As far as the May 27 race, Ricciardo won the preliminary time trial the day before, started at the pole position and never relinquished the lead, even with a power issue. In fact, he was praised by many for his management of the race despite the challenges.
As Ricciardo celebrated his victory with Red Bull those of us who had not yet returned home enjoyed an intimate dinner on the yacht, with some of us plotting how we can be invited next year.