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Famous American Presidents and Their Watches


Photo: Tatler

 

A watch worn by any president conveys dependability, a sense of responsibility, and authority. In other words, the wristwatch can be viewed as a message to the general public. While today’s politicians frequently opt for modestly less costly versions, high-profile leaders used to wear expensive watches as a regular routine.

Furthermore, it is hardly surprising that Rolex timepieces were commonly chosen because of their prominence. However, the industry is not entirely unconnected to this: Following the 2nd World War, company owner Hans Wilsdorf started supplying his house pieces to significant historical people, most significantly the American Presidents. It’s how the gold Rolex Day-Date earned the moniker “Rolex President.”

Overall, here’s a summary of timepieces that American presidents have sported on their wrists:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was among the first presidents to switch from a pocket clock to a wristwatch. During World War I, the timepiece went from being a piece of jewelry for women to become more of a device. Nevertheless, the wristwatch’s reputation as a timeless design was cemented during World War II.

 

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Roosevelt was a courageous president at that time. Thus, it only made sense for him to usher in the contemporary era of presidential watches. He wore a Movado triple calendar ref 44776, made in 1944 and Tiffany & Co signed.

Dwight D. Eisenhower:

Most people connect President Eisenhower to his Rolex. General Eisenhower received the 150,000th fully approved Rolex chronometer, a golden Datejust on a Jubilee bracelet, from Rolex while serving as Europe’s NATO Commander-in-Chief. The inscriptions “DDE – 12-19-1950” and five stars were engraved on the caseback. Basically, this item rose to fame when Eisenhower wore it to feature on the front of LIFE magazine. Moreover, the yellow gold Day-Date’s “President” moniker was eventually inspired by this watch, even though the original was a yellow golden Datejust.

 

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Photo: Jake´s Rolex World

 

While based in Germany following World War II, Eisenhower added a steel Heuer chronograph to his Rolex collection. Moreover, as president, Vulcain conducted an advertisement campaign called “Do As Ike Does,” in which he sported a Vulcain Cricket.

Eisenhower additionally possessed a special bespoke Hamilton watch that included the images of his family on the dial. He also received a customized Vacheron Constantin watch with other international leaders during the 1955 Geneva Summit.

John F. Kennedy:

John F. Kennedy’s youth, elegance, and charisma will live forever. Besides, he apparently possessed a sizable watch assortment.

As John took his presidential oath in 1961, he donned an Omega Ultra Thin, Ref OT3980. The timepiece was a gift from his buddy Grant Stockdale from the previous year. He engraved a message on the caseback predicting Kennedy’s victory, stating ‘President / Of The / United States / John F. Kennedy / From His Friend Grant.’

 

Photo: Getty Images

 

Furthermore, during their 4th wedding anniversary in 1957, Kennedy’s spouse Jacqueline Kennedy gave him a Cartier tank before he became president. Also, as he was executed in 1963, he was sporting this timepiece.

Kennedy additionally owned a Bulova and a personalized Hamilton edition with pictures of his kids on the dial. However, JFK’s unworn watch is arguably the most remarkable of all his possessions. It is an 18kt yellow golden Rolex Day-Date that Marilyn Monroe gifted him.

Lyndon B. Johnson:

The most iconic timepieces the American President wore were probably those by President Johnson. Throughout his term, Vulcain gave him a Cricket, just like several others before him. Johnson, on the other hand, was a true Rolex enthusiast. He became known for presenting Rolex timepieces to his relatives and friends. He also cemented the Rolex Day-Date with yellow gold as the President.

 

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Furthermore, President Johnson continued to own a variety of other timepieces. These comprised a LeCoultre Memovox Worldtime featuring the presidential logo on the caseback, a Hamilton Pacer, as well as a Patek Philippe Ref 2526.

Richard Nixon:

Richard Nixon, a vice president, delivered his inaugural speech at the National Association of Watch and Clock Makers in 1955.

 

Photo: Wilberfore watches

 

He received his Cricket alarm timepiece from Vulcain afterward and wore it exclusively for several years. Later, Omega presented President Nixon with a special Apollo 11 moon landing version 18-karat gold OMEGA Speedmaster. Nixon rejected the watch, nevertheless, as it was worth more than what was permitted as a present.

Gerald Ford:

Throughout the Quartz Crisis within the watch sector, Gerald Ford was president. He sported a Pulsar 3376 Date-Command, which was appropriate for the period.

 

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Additionally, during the 1995 commemoration of the Helsinki Accords’ 20th anniversary, a Finnish designer by the moniker of Keijo Paajanen gave Ford a unique Vulcain Cricket.

Jimmy Carter:

It is unknown precisely what brand or version Jimmy Carter sported or is still wearing now. However, we can say with certainty that he is a watch enthusiast. President Carter most often appears to be wearing a wristwatch in photographs. Most noticeably, he wears his timepieces with the clasp on the outside and the casing on the inner side of his wrist.

 

Photo: Getty Images

 

Furthermore, Carter received a Vulcain Cricket from the Finnish jeweler Keijo Paajanen in 1997, just like Ford did.

Ronald Reagan:

President Reagan was a fan of Rolex watches and can be seen sporting what seems to be a steel Rolex Datejust on a Jubilee band in photographs from 1965.

 

Photo: Wristenthusiast

 

Reagan also received a Vulcain Cricket from Keijo Paajanen in 1988. Furthermore, he reportedly possessed a Colibri timepiece that was auctioned off in 1999.

George H.W. Bush:

The watch that President George H.W. Bush sported or is still wearing is unknown, similar to that of President Carter. Bush, though, had a reputation for checking his watch at inappropriate times. Therefore, he first came under fire for repeatedly monitoring the time throughout the 1992 presidential talks. Years down the line, during the 2008 Republican National Convention, President Bush was over and over again seen looking at his timepiece.

 

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Obviously, Bush’s portfolio would be lacking if Keijo Paajanen hadn’t given him a Vulcain Cricket during the Helsinki Summit in 1990.

Bill Clinton:

The style of timepieces that Presidents sported in public changed during Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign and administration. Compared to his ancestors’ Rolexes and other premium Swiss labels, his Timex Ironman was a significant one.

Since the end of his term, it has been abundantly evident that Clinton is a real watch aficionado. His decision to wear a watch while in power was only an effort to project his connectedness to the average person.

 

Photo: Getty Images

 

Furthermore, Clinton wore a variety of variants in public during his post-Presidential years. These consist of a Panerai PAM89 GMT, a Rolex PVD-coated Pro-Hunter Submariner, A. Lange & Söhne Grosse Langematik Gangreserve, and a Cartier Ballon Bleu. He also possesses watches by Franck Muller, Roger Dubuis, Audemars Piguet, and Jaeger-LeCoultre.

George W. Bush:

Interestingly, George W. Bush, one of America’s wealthier presidents, chose to sport a 40USD timepiece. The Timex Easy Reader, a straightforward quartz device featuring huge numerals, takes inspiration from Bill Clinton and his fondness of Timex.

 

Photo: Getty Images

 

Moreover, the USA flag is positioned at the 12 o’clock mark in Bush’s variant.

Barack Obama:

Obama, regarded among the thriftiest presidents, frequently wore his Jorg Gray chronograph, which the US Secret Service gave him as a birthday gift. However, at the start of his presidential campaign, he was frequently spotted using a Tag Heuer Series 1500 Two-Tone diving timepiece.

President Obama additionally got a special present from Vulcain to honor his swearing-in ceremony: an Anniversary Heart Automatic variant featuring a custom inscription. Later, he traded his timepiece for a simple, digital sporting watch during his 2nd term, including the Highgear Enduro Compass and New Balance N7.

 

Photo: Getty Images

 

Lastly, Obama has been pictured taking pride in the company of Rolex’s Cellini ever since he left the White House in 2016.

Donald Trump:

You might be curious about Donald Trump’s wristwatch. During the night of the election, President Trump wore a Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra Fine 1968 in pink gold when he took office. In addition, he has been seen wearing a Patek Philippe Ellipse, a Universal Geneve “Senna” Chronograph, as well as a Rolex President.

 

Photo: Getty Images

 

Nevertheless, the watch that belonged to President Reagan may be the most intriguing among Trump’s assortment. Reagan gave his Colibri piece to Antiquorum and Tourneau in 1999 for their Famous Faces sale. The fortunate bidder, Donald Trump, fortunately, acquired it.

Joe Biden:

Joe Biden succeeded Trump and became the 46th U.S. president on November 7, 2020. Along with Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, Biden is a member of the Datejust team and has been pictured wearing a number of other elegant timepieces.

 

Photo: Figaro

 

Biden has also been spotted donning the blue Datejust, an OMEGA Seamaster 300M (perhaps imitating James Bond/Prince William), and the vintage OMEGA Speedmaster “Moonwatch,” reveling in the hue of his Democratic Party. In addition to demonstrating a preference for practical sporting timepieces, his affinity for Omega is a tribute to NASA and the important Apollo 11 expedition.

Final Words

Nothing goes overlooked when it comes to any president’s timepiece. Although Vulcain is known as “the President’s piece,” and Rolex was a recognizable appearance on the wrists of the Commander in Chief in the midst of the twentieth century, it’s evident that there might be a move toward more handy watches. Time will only tell.

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