The Definitive Guide To Joe Biden's Watches
The times, they are a-changing at the White House.
Classic and reassuring, the new President of the United States' watchmaking choices reflect his personality as much as his taste for watches.
The Now Infamous Rolex
On Inauguration Day, amateur sleuths noticed that the 46th president of the United States of America, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., was wearing a new watch to celebrate his first day in office. And not just any watch: a Steel Rolex Datejust 41.
The dial was likely black, although from an angle it appears blue or grey, a kind of detail that doesn't go unnoticed to us watch lovers. Was it a political statement? Unsure, since it turns out the watch was a gift from his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.
Either way, it is a symbolic, recognizable, and useful piece. It is not a rare and luxurious timepiece, like the 1968 Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine gold and square watch worn by his predecessor Donald Trump. Then again, Joe Biden did not set his sights on a grande complication from a centuries-old manufacture.
Why His Choice Matters
By choosing this simple Steel Rolex Datejust, an entry-level model with a "sport-chic" connotation, it seems the White House's new tenant intends to set the record straight, with a focus on efficiency and simplicity.
Traditionally, it is the Rolex Day-Date model that has been dubbed "The President." Indeed, it has been seen on several presidents' wrists, including Lyndon B. Johnson, and Bill Clinton (a great watch enthusiast and collector). Even Pope John Paul II wore a Rolex Day-Date! Biden also joins Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower as a Datejust devotee.
Gerald Ford's Rolex Day-Date was yellow gold, just like Vice President Dick Cheney's, Ford's former Deputy Chief of Staff. Ronald Reagan wore his very loose on the wrist for horse riding. In search of bourgeois respectability, Barack Obama preferred a more discreet Rolex Cellini in white gold after leaving office.
Yet, despite this long history of U.S. presidents and Rolex, so much was said about President Biden wearing a Rolex that a White House official issued a statement saying the watch was a Christmas gift from First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. The official also took the occasion to deny rumors that the watch formerly belonged to his son Beau Biden. True, the watch is strikingly similar to his son's, who died in 2015, but it wasn’t Beau’s.
Regardless, Biden’s new Datejust has become a symbol of sorts for the President between past and present.
A Working Man’s Watch Collector
But we must not lose sight of the fact that the oldest-ever U.S. president is an experienced politician. He has nearly five decades of service in the arcana of power and, therefore, a connoisseur of politics. As the former vice president is well aware of the Oval Office's power and isolation. He knows that details matter and the world is observing him.
Just as Pope Francis has only worn a small plastic Casio, to show that he is no more luxurious than his devotees, fellow Catholic Joe Biden has still affected classic and reassuring tastes. For years, Biden has worn watches that any average American can afford. It is unsurprising then that, during his presidential campaign, Biden gave priority to his Apple Watch, a Tissot T-Touch, or a simple Seiko 7T32-6M90 Alarm Chronograph.
The new president can, of course, also sport his Vulcain Cricket. Famous for its alarm system, the Vulcain Cricket is also traditionally one of the watches worn by U.S. presidents. The brand from La-Chaux-de-Fonds customarily gifts a watch to each newly elected president. Biden received his Cricket from Paanjanen family who own a jewelry store in Helsinki, Finland. Curiously, Biden's Cricket wasn't actually made by Vulcain, they were produced under license from the rights holder of the Vulcain name Michel Ditisheim. A fascinating story which is worthy of another article!
The first president of the United States to wear a Vulcain alarm watch was Harry S. Truman. Since then, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Barack Obama have become known fans of the brand.
But arguably, the most glorious hours in postwar American history were those of the Space Race. An epic lived by Joe Biden. Born in 1942, President Biden was a young man fascinated by humankind's first steps on the Moon and enthralled by the suspense and drama of the Apollo 13 rescue.
Unsurprisingly, an Omega Speedmaster Professional "Moonwatch" seems to be one of Biden’s favorites. Numerous photos testify that it is often the timepiece that accompanied his life's critical moments and electoral triumphs. It also appears that he has owned several versions over the years.
Another Omega piece spotted on the new President's wrist: a robust and efficient Seamaster Diver 300M. A perfect watch for diving into the deep end of state affairs, is not it?