Joe Biden Shares A Love Of Omega Watches With John F. Kennedy . . . And James Bond
John F. Kennedy wore a square, ultra-thin Omega encased in 18-karat yellow gold to his inauguration ceremony on January 20, 1961. Powered by a manually wound movement only two millimeters in height, it features an engraving on the case back: “President of the United States John F. Kennedy from his friend Grant.”
The watch was given to Kennedy by his close friend Grant Stockdale, then senator of Florida and later U.S. ambassador to Ireland. The provenance of this Omega was also immortalized in letters from both Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy to him.
Stockdale was hoping that the engraving would turn out to be true: he gave his friend this precious gift before Kennedy was ever voted into office. As history would show, his prediction became reality.
At 43 years of age, Kennedy became the youngest man ever elected president of the United States of America. He wore this watch at his inauguration ceremony, which was immortalized on his wrist in a photograph published in Life magazine.
Omega 2008 commemorative ultra-thin in honor of John F. Kennedy
Until 2005, the original Omega worn by John F. Kennedy was part of the private collection of Robert White, who had amassed the largest collection of John F. Kennedy memorabilia in the world. Omega acquired the watch at a Guernsey’s auction on December 16, 2005 for $350,000 following White’s death.
This watch is now permanently on display at the Omega Museum in Biel, accompanied by the original thank-you letter from Jacqueline Kennedy.
Additionally, Omega honored this watch in 2008 by issuing a limited edition re-creation of just 261 pieces that is virtually identical except for the intimate engraving on the case back and the use of modern sapphire crystal.
Not your average Joe: President-Elect Biden’s Bondian Omega Seamaster
Joe Biden wears more relatable Omega watches in the modern era, which are casual enough to be worn with jeans and aviator sunglasses yet still classy enough to be worn with a suit and tie. These timepieces fit Biden’s personality well: sporty, casual, and just dressy enough to work in every instance.
As Omega will neither officially comment on Biden’s choices nor confirm the sightings of our resident spotter Nick Gould, we present here what we think he is wearing as closely as we can say with confidence.
First off is a Seamaster, probably Reference 2531.80.00, which is likely from the 1990s and comes in a stainless steel case. This sporty watch is an officially certified chronometer with 300-meter water resistance and a royal blue dial and bezel with lumed markers and hands.
It is a genuine diver’s watch as it is also outfitted with a helium escape valve, so Biden could also be taking it snorkeling, swimming, and diving. But I doubt he has time for that these days.
Interestingly, this was also the James Bond watch worn by Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Die Another Day (2002).
I like the visual that this fact dredges up in my mind: Biden as an elegant secret agent saving the world. In Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond uses his Seamaster to detonate a charge that activates a hand grenade. In The World Is Not Enough the watch contains a grappling hook that shoots out from the crown.
And in Die Another Day, Bond’s trusty Seamaster is a remote control used to detonate a bomb – the detonator being the helium escape valve and the timer being the bezel in a high-action sequence right at the exciting beginning of the movie.
I wonder if there will be a Q-type adviser in the new white house? I certainly do love the idea of it.
President-Elect Joe Biden’s Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
It doesn’t surprise me at all that Biden also owns an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, which might work as a slightly dressier variation of the sporty Omega style he seems to love – and the Moonwatch goes equally well with Biden’s bomber and aviator jackets. An excellent allrounder.
Although Kennedy died before American astronauts took their first steps on the moon, he was the one to really initiate the idea and get people excited about space exploration. I think that if Kennedy were alive today, he might also proudly wear a Speedmaster Moonwatch on occasion.
There are more similarities between these two presidents than their love of Omega watches and the political party they both represent: they are also the only two Catholic presidents ever to sit in the Oval Office and they are both Irish in heritage.
And when Joe Biden wears one of his Omega wristwatches to the presidential inauguration in January 2021, should he choose to do so, he will be the second U.S. president to do it – 60 years after Kennedy.
Many thanks to resident spotter Nick Gould for paying close attention to Joe Biden’s wrist during the U.S. election season and more.
For more on the history of John F. Kennedy’s Omega, please see www.omegawatches.com/chronicle/1960-to-a-future-president.
Quick Facts Omega John F. Kennedy Commemorative Timepiece Ref. 516.53.25.00.02.001
Case: 25.39 x 31.5 mm, yellow gold, sapphire crystal
Movement: manual winding Omega Caliber 2006, 40-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 261 pieces
Year of manufacture: 2008
Retail price in 2008: $8,250
Quick Facts Omega Seamaster Reference 2531.80.00
Case: 41 mm, stainless steel, helium escape valve, 300 m water resistance
Movement: automatic Caliber 1120 (base ETA 2892-A2), 44-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, officially certified C.O.S.C. chronometer
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Years of manufacture: 1993-2005
Original retail price: probably around $1,300
Quick Facts Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph 42 mm
Case: 42 mm, stainless steel
Movement: manual winding Omega Caliber 1863, 48-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph
Years of manufacture: currently in production
Remark: five-year warranty
Retail price: €5,560
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