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US Presidents and the Watches that they WoreNovember 14, 2017 - Watch Articles
In Western countries, it is standard for leaders to choose somewhat modest clothing and understated jewelry and accessories, if any. One accessory that politicians do tend to wear are watches, and some models have been noted to crop up time and time again. So much so, that the Rolex Day-Date has been dubbed as the “President’s Watch.”
Whereas some Presidents have worn watches for convenience purposes, others have been known to be watch aficionados. In some cases, the watches that Presidents have been gifted and which watches they have chosen to wear or not, have proven to be controversial.
Below is a look at 10 Presidents of the United States and the watches they wore (and in some cases still do).
1. George Washington
The 1st United States President was known for his love of pocket watches. In fact, he is believed to have owned at least three: a pocket watch by an unknown brand, a Jean-Antoine Lépine pocket watch and lastly a James McCabe pocket watch.
2. Thomas Jefferson
The 3rd President also wore a pocket watch, this time made by Daniel Vaucher. Jefferson later handed this watch over to James Monroe, 5th President of the United States.
3. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Fast forwarding to the 34th President, Eisenhower owned several luxury watches: a Heuer chronograph, Rolex Datejust, Vulcain Cricket, and a Hamilton watch that featured the faces of his family on the dial. Eisenhower is believed to have been the first President to have owned a Rolex.
During his presidency, he mostly wore the Swiss-made brand Vulcain Cricket. The story goes that Eisenhower wore this very watch during a press conference in which he announced new tariffs on Swiss-made watches. The alarm on the watch went off during this conference and the sound was known to be specific to Vulcain watches, which on some level highlighted the hypocrisy of the tariff!
4. John F. Kennedy
Eisenhower’s successor, John F. Kennedy, also had somewhat of a collection of watches. Kennedy owned a Rolex, which was an engraved watch gifted to him by none other than Marilyn Monroe, as well as a Cartier watch, a Bulova (which sold at auction for over $25,000 in 2013), an Omega and a Nastrix.
Kennedy’s most famous watch was an Omega timepiece, partly because it was gifted to him by his friend Grant Stockdale who had the watch engraved with the words “President of the United States | John F. Kennedy | From his friend Grant” before the election had even taken place. Kennedy subsequently wore the watch to his Presidential inauguration. The watch was bought by Omega in 2005 for $350,000 and Omega released a commemorative reissue of the model.
Kennedy is said to have never worn the Rolex that was gifted to him by Marilyn Monroe, and allegedly told the aide who gave it to him to “get rid of it”. The watch is currently owned by a private collector. He is, however, believed to have been wearing his Cartier watch that was gifted to him by his wife Jackie on the day that he was assassinated.
5. Lyndon B. Johnson
Johnson’s most famous watch was his Patek Phillipe that featured the words “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You” on the dial. Johnson also owned a Hamilton Pacer, a Vulcain Cricket and a Rolex Day-Date.
6. Richard Nixon
President Nixon was another leader that adored the Vulcain Cricket model. So much so, that when Nixon was offered a limited edition Omega Speedmaster following the first moon landing, he turned the offer down.
7. Ronald Reagan
Reagan is known to have been gifted a Vulcain Cricket but was mainly seen wearing his Rolex Datejust. Reagan also owned a Colibri watch which was bought at auction by a subsequent US politician.
8. Bill Clinton
During his presidency Clinton was most often seen wearing a Timex Ironman timepiece. Clinton’s watch collection has expanded considerably since he left office in 2001, including but not limited to:
- The Luminor 1950 Panerai PAM89
- A Franck Muller
- A Roger Dubuis MuchMore
- A gold Ballon Bleu de Cartier
- A Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Alarm Navy SEALs
- As well as several Audemars Piguet models
9. Barack Obama
Obama’s watches of choice during his presidency were the Jorg Gray chronograph, TAG Heuer Series 1500 Two-Tone Diver watch, and a New Balance N7, which he wore mostly during sporting activities. Obama was also gifted a Vulcain timepiece by the brand itself.
10. Donald Trump
President Donald Trump’s watch choices are a little more extravagant than his predecessor’s. On the night of his inauguration, Trump sported a Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine 1968. Trump also owns a yellow gold Rolex Day-Date, a Patek Philippe Ellipse and he also won Ronald Reagan’s Colibri at auction in 1999.
Have you got a watch you would like to sell?
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