When you hear about TAG Heuer’s 1974 Dark Lord chronograph, you might immediately start to conjure up images of something from “Star Wars,” perhaps a scene where Darth Vader himself is walking out of obscurity and into focus. If the name of the watch alone doesn't cause you to at least think about that in passing, seeing the watch most certainly will. The thing is, TAG Heuer initially created this watch without any intention of it being related to “Star Wars” or any other movie.
A Unique Design
Back in 1969, this was a watch that was created by the company as the first of many in its Monaco design series. That particular watch featured a square design, just like the 1974 version. That is about where the similarities end. As a matter of fact, the watch that was manufactured in 1969 had a blue dial that was bright enough to get your attention from across the room, especially when you consider the fact that the hands on the watch were red. It also featured a stainless steel design that made it look quite different from the 1974 version that is actually the subject of this article. Fast forward a few years, and you have that much talked-about version from 1974 that is completely blacked out. Both the strap and the case are black, as is the face of the watch. It does have white numbers and tick marks and oddly enough, its overall design is strangely reminiscent of some of the equipment worn on Darth Vader's black suit. Perhaps the only true similarity between this particular watch and the one that started it all back in 1969 is that this version from 1974 retains the square shape. Other than that, the similarities are few, if any.
A Strange Nickname
There's no doubt about it, this particular watch has a rather strange nickname. Virtually every watch expert out there will agree to that fact. The thing is, the nickname itself doesn't have any official association with the movie. Instead, that's something that fans of the movie have tried for years to associate with this particular watch. Due to the overall design of the watch, along with the imaginations of the right individuals, it almost seemed as though the company was mimicking a particular design from the film that could almost lend credence to the idea of the “Dark Lord” nickname. However, there is no truth in it. It's simply a nickname that was attached to the watch because of its color. Nevertheless, watch collectors fell in love with it back then and they're still just as much in love with it today. As a matter of fact, the original watch from 1974 is so immensely popular that TAG Heuer just decided to create a modern-day reincarnation of it, complete with a black titanium case. If you're wondering why that matters in an article about the original version that was designed in the 1970s, it merely goes to show how popular this particular watch design is. So many people fell in love with it that there is still a high demand for the watch, even though it's difficult to find. As a direct result, the company eventually decided to make a brand new version of the popular watch. After all, they know when they're on to something and since they're actually in business to make money, it only stands to reason that they would choose to create a newer, more modern day version of something that was so immensely popular back then. It's practically guaranteed to make some money and that's exactly what they (and every other business) are looking for.
A Stunning Appearance
A simple glance at the watch makes it easy to understand why so many people fell in love with it the moment they first saw it. In addition to its bold, square design, it was one of the first watches of its time to be almost completely blacked out. Aside from a few very important details that would highlight the watch, it was all one color. Those details included white tick marks and numbers, two subsets, and gold hands to denote the hours and minutes. On the subsets, both of the second hands were smaller and bright red in color. It gave the watch an overall appearance that set it apart from virtually everything else available at the time. Truth be told, there still isn't anything quite like it. That's exactly why it became a favorite among collectors almost instantly. These days, it's a watch that virtually any collector would love to have, provided they can actually find one. The problem is, it's almost impossible to do so.
Obviously, this is a watch that is not only much loved, but also very difficult to forget. It's one that was also designed very well, so well in fact that the original 1974 version is still capable of keeping accurate time today, especially if it has been given the care and attention that it deserves throughout the years. It's easy to see why TAG Heuer ultimately decided to recreate this watch with something brand new. It will be interesting to see how the new watch fares. As a matter of fact, it's almost hard to believe that it could potentially be as popular as the original 1974 version has proven to be. That being said, it's definitely a new take on an old favorite. Considering the fact that so many people remember the 1974 version of this watch so fondly, it's possible that the newer version could prove to be even more popular, as people that have been waiting to get their hands on one of these watches for years will probably be the first ones in line.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
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