President Biden could solid his arrival in the White House as a return to enterprise as traditional at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, however there’s no less than a technique he’s breaking from prevailing presidential custom: he wears a Rolex.
At his inauguration, Mr. Biden laid his hand on the household Bible carrying a chrome steel Rolex Datejust watch with a blue dial, a mannequin that retails for greater than $7,000 and is a far cry from the Everyman timepieces that each president not named Trump has worn conspicuously in latest a long time.
To many, a president carrying a luxurious watch may not appear uncommon. Shouldn’t the chief of the free world put on an influence watch befitting his place? (Never thoughts that it prices the equal of dozen or so stimulus checks.)
That idea was broadly accepted as soon as, again when Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson posed guiltlessly for Oval Office portraits wearing gold Rolexes. Not for nothing is Rolex’s storied gold Day-Date model known as the “President.”
Such political power watches, however, had gone out of style in the internet age, when most recent presidents, and politicians in general, seemed to consider the luxury watch as a signifier of out-of-touch elitism.
Bill Clinton seemed to thumb his nose at aristocratic gold timepieces by wearing a Timex Ironman, a “plastic digital watch, thick as a brick and handsome as a hernia,” as The Washington Post wrote in 1993.
His successor, George W. Bush, went even more down market, wearing a Timex Indiglo, the kind once sold at drugstores.
The choice of a watch that cost $50 or less was either a man-of-the-people statement — even though Mr. Bush was an oil scion who went to Yale — or a masterstroke of old-money preppyism, where any hint of gilded glimmer is considered vulgar.
Barack Obama, too, avoided heirloom-level timepieces. During his presidency, he opted for midpriced all-American watches by Shinola, the Detroit-based brand, or a sporty watch by Jorg Gray, based in Southern California, that cost less than $500.
The Biden Administration
This may come as a shock, but Mr. Trump shattered those norms. He remained on-brand during his term, flashing mogul-worthy gold (what else?) watches by Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Vacheron Constantin.
Which brings us to Mr. Biden, who seems to balance both horological sensibilities (how centrist of him) and is unafraid to show off his haute Swiss watches, all stainless steel, including his Rolex, an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional and Omega Seamaster Diver 300M both of which retail for around $5,000 or $6,000.
To be fair, none of Mr. Biden’s watches scream “luxury,” at least to watch connoisseurs who are acclimated to the thin air of Swiss watch prices.
His Rolex Datejust, for example, is considered an undisputed classic, but in another sense, almost could be regarded as entry level for a brand with head-turners that quickly climb into the five-figures.
Likewise, his Omegas do not connote fanciness, at least in the eyes of watch snobs. The Moonwatch, while Swiss in origin, has been embraced as an American emblem ever since the Apollo 11 astronauts wore the storied model to the moon.
The Seamaster is a brawny scuba watch worn by Daniel Craig’s bone-breaking James Bond.
So what to make of Mr. Biden’s watches?
Whether a conscious fashion statement or not, the high-end, but macho, watches suggest that, even at 78, this former high school football star of the Kennedy years still wants to be seen as a he-man, rugged and young at heart (see his aviator sunglasses).
They also embody a classic version of the American dream: that anyone, even a kid from Scranton, can make it to the pinnacle of power.
Then again, he may just wish to make it to White House meetings on time.