Picture yourself in May of the year 2004, The Bugatti Veyron was recently introduced, Hermès started using waiting lists for the infamous Birkin Bag and Tom Ford leaving Gucci to create his own brand were some of the luxury headlines around the jet-set community.

The streets of Monaco where getting ready to receive the renowned Monaco Grand Prix, as iconic as always the principality was already flooded with locals, tourists and racing fans from all around the globe. But in-between the roaring V10 motor sounds and the yacht’s honks something very unique was about to happen.


Ocean’s Twelve 

I think we are all familiar with the Ocean’s movies, they are now basically icons, but back in 2004, the sequel for Ocean’s Eleven – Ocean’s Twelve– was hitting every cinema around the globe.

Ocean’s Twelve is my personal favorite of all the saga, featuring a nice “Euro” aesthetic and a touch of old money glam which wasn’t really a thing yet in 2004. Danny Ocean and his team get into a robbery battle with Francois Toulour aka the Night Fox, the overall story is entertaining and the plot twist is really one of a kind.

Anyways; George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Vincent Cassel and many more, may sound like more than enough to get a lot of attention towards the film; but as a blockbuster, of course marketing was a key factor for Warner Bros.

And taking the movie aesthetic into consideration, there was no better place, nor event to make a huge Marketing move other than, you guessed it, the Monaco Grand Prix.


How an F1 crash led to the disappearance of £140,000 diamond - Daily Star


A very well established marketing plan…I guess

Warner Bros. alongside with Chopard and Jaguar Racing Team decided to make a huge marketing campaign for the new blockbuster, the plan was relatively simple; embody a huge diamond worth approximately $300,000 US Dollars in the nose of the F1 car.

Everything was looking amazing, the Jaguar Racing Car was adorned with a red nose, the name of the movie written along and right in the front the big baguette diamond. The Ocean’s Twelve Cast was there to promote the movie, the vibes were amazing and everything felt very normal, until the race started.

During the very first lap the Jaguar Racing driver, Christian Klien crashed, completely destroying the nose of the car, and as you can assume, the diamond went missing during the impact and it was nowhere to be found.


F1 / Monaco 2004: il diamante da un milione perso dalla Jaguar - Storia - Motorsport


Conspiracy theories and rumors started spreading all around the principality, at first sight this looked like a very well planned marketing strategy, but was it really? I guess we never know, but to get a Formula 1 Team to agree crashing one of their cars in the very first lap of the most famous circuit of the season is not really suitable nor logical.


Speculations and Reality

The first rumor was of course that everything was planned since the beginning, but as mentioned, it didn’t make any sense. Other suitable speculation was that the real diamond was not in the car and was only used as a prop to present the nose of the car and the actual nose had a fake diamond.

We will never know the absolute truth, but official sources said that both the crash and the diamond were real, and nothing was part of the marketing strategy. Christian actually lost control and crashed and the diamond was nowhere to be found.

Call it as you will, planned or not, the marketing strategy worked phenomenally, the traction it produced to the movie was unmatched, specially taking into consideration the plot of the movie – A band of professional thieves, planning several multi-million dollar heists, remember? -.


Listen to the incredible true story of Monaco's Lost Diamond in first of a new F1 podcast series | Formula 1®


Maybe a really expensive marketing move, maybe a real accident; but at the end of the day it was the perfect coincidence not only for the movie producers, this incident also gave a lot of attention to Chopard and the Jaguar Racing Team.



The only truth is that we will never be sure of what happened, weather it was a real accident and the diamond was stolen or a very well put together marketing move, but I personally like to think that it was all real and a very unique coincidence.

But this story definitely changed the way we perceive this kind of coincidences, it makes us question if something is marketing or not every time we see something this unique. And of course, it changed F1 and the Monaco GP history and the way marketing is done in this huge events forever.

So make sure you let me know what do you think about this story, was it real? was it a coincidence? Well, it is up to you to decide. Also, I would love to know if you know any other story like this regarding other luxury brands or events.

In the mid time, as you get ready for this year’s Monaco GP, make sure you check out our curated selection of yachts we saw at last’s year Monaco Yacht Show


  • Written by Founder & Head Editor: Anton Fernandez.