Wrist Watching: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris And First Lady Dr. Jill Biden Love Cartier
Much ado has been made over the watches of Joe Biden – and rightly so: he has a couple of really nice timepieces and wears them proudly. I thought he would wear one of his Omegas to his presidential inauguration on January 20 as I wrote in Joe Biden Shares A Love Of Omega Watches With John F. Kennedy . . . And James Bond. He fooled us, though, suddenly producing a Rolex Datejust on January 8: our resident watch spotter Nick Gould noted Biden wearing his Rolex both before and at the inauguration, and it turns out the watch was a Christmas gift from the First Lady to her husband.
As the inauguration and surrounding events have shown – as if we did not notice before – both of these highly educated, politically savvy women have impeccable taste when it comes to clothing and accessories.
At the inauguration, Harris chose a purple coat and dress by designer Christopher John Rogers from Louisiana, while Dr. Biden wore a blue tweed coat and dress tastefully decorated with Swarovski crystals and pearls designed by Coloradan Alexandra O’Neill of Markarian.
Dr. Biden’s inauguration gala dress and coat, which she wore for the evening festivities, is an especially stunning set designed by American designer Gabriela Hearst, which was sustainably produced and included embroidery reflecting all 50 state flowers.
Harris is most famous for her pearl necklaces, though, her choice of which I find diverse, stunning, and above all outside the norm in terms of traditional jewelry design. Her signature accessory, these are not your mother’s pearls. New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman is even calling them “power pearls.” I like that.
The necklace Harris wore on inauguration day was from American jewelry designer Wilfredo Rosado and included South Sea pearls inside gold links that are joined by smaller links containing brilliant-cut diamonds. This necklace is modern, bold, and feminine – very much like Harris.
I think Harris might be able to single-handedly make pearls a forward fashion statement again. In my lifetime (at least up to now), pearls have often felt like a stale accessory best left to your grandmother’s generation.
Kamala Harris and Dr. Jill Biden: Cartier Ballon Bleu and Panthère watches
It seems that both Harris and Biden have go-to watches, and they are both from Cartier. Dr. Biden’s is a small, gold, quartz-powered Panthère de Cartier, most probably from 2019’s re-released collection.
Harris wears the more interesting Cartier watch from my perspective: a two-tone Ballon Bleu. If I recall correctly – and I’m sure I do – Cartier first marketed the Ballon Bleu as a men’s watch when it was introduced at SIHH 2007. Only later did it come out in smaller sizes and embellished with gemstones to make it more feminine to some.
Harris wears an automatic two-tone Cartier Ballon Bleu that is otherwise unembellished. I am entirely sure that Harris does not know that this watch was first intended for men – Cartier giving its watches gender specification has mostly backfired in the modern era anyway. In my eyes, it is a great no-nonsense unisex watch with just a hint of playfulness about it in the unusual crown arrangement. It suits her.
I’d love to see both of these power women wearing more authoritative (and perhaps even American-centric) watches. They are so careful with the messages chosen for their clothing and jewelry, placing distinct spotlights on American designers above all, yet these watches seem rather run-of-the-mill to me in that respect. Follower watches, not leaders, if you know what I mean. Typical choices for women who are in the fortunate position to be able to make such choices, however.
Both Harris and Dr. Biden wear their watches on bracelets, which tells me they prefer easy-to-handle, no-nonsense, quality items. The bracelets also add more of a jewelry aspect to the watches, elevating them from pure timekeepers to something approaching ticking jewelry items.
Another thing to perhaps consider is that both Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama wore Cartier watches. Kennedy’s watch was famously later bought by Kim Kardashian at auction. Perhaps this feels like the continuation of a tradition to them.
I’ll be sure to keep an eye on both of these patriotic wrists as the next four years progress.