A Look at Presidential Watches From George Washington to Barack Obama

Over the years, the Presidents occupying the White House have worn a good number of watch brands. In honor of President’s Day, we bring a closer look at how time was kept in the Oval Office.

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Our first president, George Washington, owned a Jean-Antoine Lepine pocket watch during his presidency. A friend traveling abroad in the late 1770s reportedly purchased the watch at Washington’s request. Thomas Jefferson, our third president, owned a pocket watch made by Paris-based watchmaker, Daniel Vaucher. Vaucher was known for his precision watchmaking and excellent finishing.

George Washington wore a pocket watch by Lepine. Photo courtesy NAWCC

George Washington wore a pocket watch by Lepine. Photo courtesy NAWCC.

Moving fully into the 20th century, our 33rd president, Harry Truman, owned several wristwatches, including a Vulcain Cricket alarm watch, which had gained in popularity in the 1940s. He also owned a Universal Genève Tri-Compax watch in 18-karat yellow gold.

Subsequent presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th) and John F. Kennedy (35th) also owned multiple wristwatches. Eisenhower had a Vulcain Cricket, a Hamilton, a Rolex Datejust and a Heuer. His likeness was even used in a Heuer ad. Kennedy owned a Cartier, an Omega, an interesting Bulova tonneau-shaped watch, and was reportedly gifted a Rolex watch by Marilyn Monroe, which he immediately gave away and never wore.

Universal Geneve Tri-Compax watch. Photo from Antiquorum

Universal Geneve Tri-Compax watch. Photo from Antiquorum.

Taking a more affordable watch stance, our 42nd president, Bill Clinton, was seen wearing a Timex Ironman watch, but has since been seen wearing a multitude of different watches, including a Rolex, Panerai and Jaeger-LeCoultre. President Barack Obama (44th) has been seen wearing a Jorg Gray 6500 Collection Chronograph that apparently has been inscribed on the caseback of the watch.

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 Images: Oval Office via Wikicommons. 

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