After two months it is now official: Donald Trump is the 45th president of the United States of America. The impacts of this historic event are yet to be seen, but they are certain to affect not just people in the US, but people all over the world. But of course we are not here to talk about politics No, today we will be talking about presidential watches. So, what kind of a watch is fit for the wrist of a US president? Is it some high-end Swiss masterpiece, or some inexpensive quartz watch? In this article we will go through a brief history of presidential watches and see how the trends have changed over the years.
Since 1789, every American president has worn or carried a watch of some type. For around 150 years, American leaders had almost exclusively carried pocket watches, as that was the fashion. President George Washington had several European pieces, including a Swiss quarter repeater pocket watch and an Irish James McCabe pocket watch. One of his most iconic timepieces was the pocket watch made by one of the most influential watchmakers of all time, Jean-Antoine Lépine. Abraham Lincoln was one of the first presidents to carry American-made pocket watches. What’s interesting is that his choice was not solely driven by patriotism as American watches were (at the time) not only less expensive than their Swiss counterparts, but more precise as well. One of President Lincoln’s most know pieces was a Waltham pocket watch.
The “wristwatch era” begins with the 32nd President of the United States of America Franklin Delano Roosevelt. One of his most-known watches was the Tiffany-signed Movado watch which he received as a birthday gift in 1945. President Harry Truman owned several historic watches including a Gallet Flight Officer, Universal Geneve Tri-Compax and a Vulcain Cricket – the world’s first wristwatch with a genuinely operational alarm function. The most iconic presidential watch ever made, Vulcain Cricket earned the brand its reputation with American Presidents. Since Harry Truman, each POTUS has owned a Vulcain watch. Another iconic piece favored by US presidents was the Rolex Day-Date. The legendary Rolex model was worn by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. The Day-Date featured a bracelet that is now known as the “President” and the watch itself is now frequently called the “Rolex President”.
With the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, American presidents have begun to wear more modest and less expensive watches. Clinton himself was seen many times wearing an inexpensive Timex Ironman digital watch. His successor George W. Bush is also known to have wore Timex. He had models such as Timex i-Control and Timex Indiglo. President Barack Obama was often spotted wearing a Jorg Gray chronograph with the Secret Service logo on the dial. The watch was given to him as a birthday gift by three members of the agency. And finally we come to the current POTUS – Donald Trump. So far, the business magnate has rarely been seen wearing a watch. In 2005 he released his very own collection of timepieces. However, the watches were not very popular among customers and were eventually discontinued.