First Watch: U.S. Presidents and Their Timepieces

As Americans celebrate Presidents’ Day, we felt it was the perfect time to re-present this feature on U.S. presidents and their watches from the WatchTime archives (December 2008). Read it to find out what brands graced the wrists and waistcoasts of our chief executives, up to and including Barack Obama.

In 1962, the story goes, Marilyn Monroe gave John F. Kennedy a birthday gift: a gold Rolex with the inscription “Jack, With love as always, from Marilyn, May 29th 1962.” The president was anything but grateful. Knowing that the watch would be seen as evidence of an intimate relationship with the actress, he gave it to an aide, Kenneth O’Donnell, along with a note instructing him to “get rid of” it. In 2005, the watch, the antique box containing it and a love poem Monroe had placed in the box sold at auction for $120,000. As many watch fans know, presidential history is loaded with horological tidbits like this. Now, as a new president takes the stage, WatchTime reviews some of the more interesting lore about past presidents and their timepieces. read more

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