It was the day when everyone was going to scrutinize his movements, his clothes and his words, the big day of his inauguration as president of the United States in which no detail was going to go unnoticed. One of them, although not the only one, quickly generated many comments, and not exactly of approval: Joe Biden’s decision to wear a Rolex watch worth 7,000 dollars (about 5,800 euros). A watch made in Switzerland and that marks a break, another one, of the new president with some of his predecessors, who chose a more “everyday” watch and made in the United States, precisely the type of industry that Biden says he wants to promote. Hence the anger of many Americans with the bet of the new president who promises new airs by one of the cheapest Rolex on the market, but Rolex after all … and foreign.
Until now he had been seen with Omega watches, also Swiss: a Seamaster 300 (the current James Bond watch) and a Speedmaster (the mythical Moonwatch worn by NASA astronauts during their space missions).
He was not, however, the first American president to wear a Rolex on his big day. Biden’s stainless steel Rolex Datejust is, price-wise, a far cry from the Everyman watches worn by many presidents in recent decades, including Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan.
Since Bill Clinton’s presidency, U.S. leaders have gravitated toward patriotic or lower-profile watches. Clinton chose a Timex Ironman, criticized by The Washington Post, which called it “a plastic digital watch as thick as a brick and beautiful as a hernia.” His successor, George W. Bush, opted for an even cheaper Timex that cost less than $50. Barack Obama bet on American watchmakers like Detroit-based Shinola or Jorg Gray of California. Trump, known for his taste for gold, wore during his mandate from a Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse, a Rolex or a Vacheron Constantin.