It’s always interesting to watch collectors to see the types of watches that the long line of Presidents will wear on their wrists during their term(s). Bill Clinton was infamous for wearing a Timex Ironman to resemble the ‘everyday man’ whilst Obama sported a TAG Heuer Series 15000, and although a lot of people will know John F. Kennedy as an OMEGA wearer, a watch he never wore holds a significant limelight in history.
Let’s talk about JFK’s OMEGA for a second, the rectangular watch was a gift from friend and political supporter, Grant Stockdale (of whom was later appointed ambassador for Ireland). The interesting and important aspect to note about the watch, is that it was given to JFK with the inscribing “President Of The United States John F. Kennedy From His Friend Grant” before he was even elected President. It’s the same gold watch he wore during his inauguration.
Despite being a photographic favourite, the OMEGA arguably doesn’t hold the same prominence as the Rolex that was gifted to him by none other than Marilyn Monroe.
The solid gold Rolex president was a gift from Marilyn Monroe on Kennedy’s birthday in 1962. The story goes that she initially gave it to Kenneth O’Donnell to be handed on, but when Kennedy was presented with it alongside a blushing love poem, he told O’Donnell to dispose of it. All this in potential fear that his wife might find out about their racy love affair.
The back of the watch had engraved ‘JACK — With love as always from MARILYN — MAY 29th 1962’. With the poem reading as follows:
“Let lovers breathe their sighs
And roses bloom and music sound
Let passion burn on lips and eyes
And pleasures merry world go round
Let golden sunshine flood the sky
And let me love
Or let me die!”
The Rolex has since gone on auction back in 2005 selling for $120,000 at auction, whilst the Omega sold for over twice the amount to the Omega Museum for $350,000. A moderate price for a hefty secret.