Since the birth of the wristwatch, the choice a man makes is a glimpse into his tastes, style and perception. So when it comes to the previous and current President of the United States, what they wear on their wrist is paid attention to.
The country’s early presidents; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln carried pocket watches which were considered less practical but acted as a simple tool for telling the time.
As technology and photography evolved, an emphasis on style and appearance became prevalent as the relationship between the White House and the press became more embroiled.
So, what watches did the US presidents wear?
President Eisenhower is very well known for his signature Rolex Datejust. It was gifted to him while he was serving as the NATO Commander in Chief of Europe. It was the 150,000th officially certified Rolex Datejust on a Jubilee bracelet. It was engraved with 5 stars to reflect his NATO position and the words “DDE – 12-19-1950”. When President Eisenhower featured on the cover of LIFE magazine wearing his Rolex, the watch gained public notoriety.
JFK’s reputation precedes him to this day. He was known for his charisma and panache as well as his collection of fine watches. His most discerning choice was a Cartier Tank, gifted by wife Jacqueline Kennedy for their fourth anniversary. Following the Tank, JFK was often photographed wearing a square Omega that he received during his Presidential campaign. But the most fascinating of JFK’s watches was a Rolex yellow gold Day-Date he never wore; rumoured to have been a gift from Marilyn Monroe.
Bill Clinton’s candidacy played on being a ‘guy next door’ character, sporting a $50 Timex Ironman for a long period of time before moving on to wear a Cartier, Panerai, Roger Dubuis and A. Lange & Sohne.
Our favourite leader of the free world, Barack Obama wore a Tag Heuer Series 15000 before switching to a Jorg Gray JG 6500 which was a birthday gift from his Secret Service Team. The unique watch is an oversized chronograph with the Secret Service logo printed on the dial.
It can often be quite difficult to see what’s hidden under President Trump’s heavily-cuffed shirts but he has been photographed wearing a Patek Philippe Ellipse and gold Rolex Day-Date. But his favourite is a Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine 1968 in pink gold that won him the 2016 election.