While the politics and life of President John F. Kennedy are filled with controversy and a wide range of opinions, one thing that is not up for debate is that he is a widely known and recognized man. From his sense of style, relative youth for such a high office, and his tragic death, there are few Presidents that stand out as much as Kennedy in history.
Part of that story is the two iconic women that are so closely tied to President Kennedy and will always come up as topics of conversation surrounding the man himself. Each of these women gave the President a watch, and each watch is a part of history because of it.
For starters, his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, gave her husband an 18 karat gold Cartier Tank watch on their fourth wedding anniversary. This watch was inscribed with his initials, their wedding date, and the Kennedy family arms.
This watch was one of the most recognizable watches that JFK wore because it was the watch that he was wearing on the day that he was assassinated in Dallas, TX.
The 18 karat gold Cartier watch, or as it might be called for JFK, the Jackie, is a watch with a gold face, gold hands, gold lug…basically the entire body is gold. Obviously, it is much more a style and class statement than it is a watch for readability or endurance. This watch has no numbers, only lines to mark the time, and only features a minute and hour hand. With the brown leather band, it was clearly meant to be a fashionable watch that exudes wealth and power.
The particular watch was given back to the first lady after her husband was killed. It was then given to his secretary and eventually ended up in the hands of the collector Robert White.
The second iconic woman is Marilyn Monroe, widely believed to be someone the President was having an affair with, and the second watch, is equally a special part of history, even though it is shrouded in rumors. The Rolex Day-Date model is often referred to as the “President” because many holding the office, from Eisenhower and on after, wore this watch often. The particular one that is attributed to President Kennedy, and was supposedly gifted by Ms. Monroe, is inscribed with a poem in the case, and is inscribed on the back of the watch with, “Jack, with love as always, from, Marylyn, May 29th , 1962″
This watch is made entirely of Gold, from the face to the band. The case was inscribed with a poem, according to stories, that read:
“A Heartfelt Plea on Your Birthday.
Let lovers breath their sighs and roses bloom and music sound.
Let passion burn on the lips and eyes and pleasures merry world go round.
Let golden sunshine flood the sky and let me love or let me die.”
This watch features a day and a date reading, a second hand, and some other features missing from the Cartier, it is still a watch that is clearly built for style.
This watch sold at auction for $120,000 in 2005, far exceeding the expected price of $60,000.
Perhaps the most iconic watch is the Omega Ultra Thin that looks a lot like the Cartier Tank, but sized more elegantly. Upon receiving this watch from Senator Stockdale, Jackie wrote a note thanking the Senator for the “thinnest most elegant wristwatch”. John also wrote to the Senator on a separate occasion, ending the letter with “I am now wearing the Stockdale watch. Again.” Kennedy clearly had enough admiration of the watch to give it the nickname “Stockdale”.
Engraved on the back of the watch: “President Of The United States John F. Kennedy From His Friend Grant”.
He was photographed numerous times wearing this watch, including at his inauguration speech which was on the cover of Life Magazine.
The watch was purchased back by Omega for $350,000 and is now housed in the Omega Museum in Switzerland. Omega released a limited run of 261 commemorative watches in 2008. You’ll be hard pressed to find a similar Omega, unless you’re willing to pay a substantial sum on Ebay or similar.
Seiko produces a homage watch that looks very similar to the Omega Ultra Thin worn by Kennedy, but at a fraction of the price.
Ronald W. Reagan was an American actor who served as the 40th President of the United States of America. Reagan was born in a poor family in Illinois. After college, he would go on to host radio programs and then later move to Hollywood and get into acting, finding some success there. This is where Reagan first got into politics, being elected several times to the position of President of the Screen Actors Guild. Reagan would go on to be the governor of California before being elected in a landslide election to the office of President of the United States in 1980. Reagan would continue political success with his reelection bid, winning the largest electoral votes in US history. He was also the oldest person to serve in the office of President. Ronald Reagan, sadly, died in 2004 of complications related to Alzheimer’s Disease.
The Rolex watch is a favorite of U.S. Presidents, and the Datejust even more so. This version of the classic Rolex timepiece is probably the most recognizable, with its 36mm stainless steel case and jubilee-style 18 karat yellow gold and stainless steel bracelet. The watch has a white dial with luminous hands hour markers, and a fluted 18 karat yellow gold fixed bezel. The watch is faced with synthetic sapphire to be scratch resistant and features a magnified, automatically changing date at the 3 o’clock position. The Rolex Datejust is water resistant to 100 meters (330 feet). The Datejust is a self-winding automatic movement watch.
Bill Clinton wears a Rolex Datejust.
The Rolex Datejust is a self winding chronometer wristwatch and was the first wristwatch in the world to feature and automatically changing date, hence the name “Datejust“. The watch was initially introduced in 1945 with either the Jubilee wristband, or the classic Oyster band. It became a very popular watch and Rolex soon released a ladies version, smaller than the original 36mm. The Datejust has a special history with the US Airforce. A special Turn-o-graph model was commissioned and given to airmen who returned from successful combat missions. It was one of these models that Chuck Yeager wore when he broke the sound barrier. Rolex has since used the watch’s popularity to base 3 more models on its design: The Explorer, Submariner, and Sea Dweller.
The model that President Clinton wears is an 18 Karat gold version of the Perpetual Oyster Datejust – a 41mm watch with rotating bezel. While the Datejust usually sells for between $6,000 and $8,000 new, with the 18k gold version retailing at over $10,000, making it one of the most expensive Presidential Watches.
George W. Bush wore a Timex Easy Reader while in office. While most presidential watches clock in somewhere around the $1,500 mark, there are a few that do not. Barack Obama’s mainstay watch, the Jorg Gray Chronograph 6500, for example, is only $200. On the other hand, Bill Clinton’s Rolex is reportedly somewhere near $10,000. Other than these few aberrations, however, we consistently see Presidential watches hit between $1,500 and $3,000. Enter President George W. Bush, whose Timex Easy Reader is hands down the most cost effective presidential watch, coming in at just under $25.
The Easy Reader has a bold face that stands out with large numbers for, well, easy reading. The engine is Quartz movement and runs on a lithium metal battery and has a plastic ‘crystal’ over an analog display. If you want to say you wear a president’s choice in watch, but don’t have $1,000 to throw at it, this very well may be the one for you.
Donald Trump wears Trump Signature Edition Men’s Watches. Donald Trump is a former American businessman, reality TV star, and the current President of the United States of America. Trump was born June 14, 1946 in New York. He rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s after taking over for his father, Fred Trump, as one of New York’s wealthiest real estate moguls. This fame and popularity has allowed Trump to sell his name as a brand on various different items, including watches.
Trump is very loyal to his own brand, and therefore wears his own brand watches, ties, cuff links, et cetera. Unfortunately the Trump Signature Watch is no longer for sale. The only place you can find one is used on an auction site like iCollector or eBay – though good luck even there finding one. The watches themselves were very briefly sold and are very rare. The only information we are able to find on the watches suggest that most, but not all, come with a genuine leather band and stainless steel casing.
Barack Obama wears a black Jorg Gray Chronograph 6500 watch.
Barack Obama served as the 44th president of the United States of America, and was the first African American president the country has elected.
Obama has worn the Jorg Gray since 2007, when it was gifted to him by three of his Secret Service staff. In honor of his historic achievement, Jorg Gray created a special, one of a kind edition of the 6500 with buffalo leather straps and a commemorative back-plate for the president to wear.
Unless you have access to the Secret Service shop (wouldn’t that be awesome), the closest you can get is the Men’s JG6500 Analog, which is an exact replica of the president’s watch, down to the leather and stitching, but without any of the secret service notations. The following image shows the difference on the dials between the two models:
Most pictures of Barack Obama since he took office show him wearing the JG6500 Analog. Although this isn’t the only type of watch the President has been seen wearing: