Actively Black x Teleport ‘Obama’ Watch: Hands On!
On January 1, 2022, watch spotters were flummoxed by a photograph of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in their New Year’s Eve party dress, which was shared by Michelle Obama on her Twitter account: the former POTUS appeared to be wearing a black Royal Oak-style chronograph on a rubber strap.
Without a clear view of the watch, suggestions for identification were hazarded such as Casio and Di Milano – brands known for their Royal Oak-influenced creations – a Girard-Perregaux Laureato perhaps, or even an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak itself.
But the watch in question turned out to be a collaboration between Teleport, a little-known U.S.-based fashion watch producer, and Actively Black, a leisurewear company describing itself as, “a Black-owned entity created by former professional basketball player Lanny Smith. Actively Black was created with input and advice from friends who have experience at the highest levels with Nike, Adidas, Jordan, etc. This is a mission-based brand that aims to re-invest back into our communities and to improve the mental health and physical fitness of the Black community.”
It was a major scoop for the Actively Black Teleport watch to be endorsed by Obama in this way after the company presented him with a selection of apparel items. Although often seen sporting a Rolex Cellini or a TAG Heuer Series 1500 Two-Tone Diver, Obama has also been seen signing executive orders in the Oval Office wearing a $395 Jorg Gray JG6500 presented to him by his security detail.
The former president wears what he likes with little regard to perceived status.
Hands on with the Actively Black x Teleport “Obama” Watch
It just so happens that I managed to get my hands on an Actively Black x Teleport “Obama” Watch.
The Actively Black x Teleport is a blackened stainless steel chronograph on a silicon strap powered by a Miyota quartz movement, water resistant to 100 meters, and retailing for $300.
The box is reassuringly cheap cardboard – “reassuringly” because at this price level you wouldn’t want them to be spending more than 50 cents on the box. It does not include papers, specifications, or a user manual.
The watch itself measures 41 mm across and 49 mm lug to lug, with the 25 mm silicon strap meeting the full width of the lugs. The strap is soft silicon rubber and feels very comfortable, but like the cheap generic straps available as replacements for the Apple Watch straps (and unlike Apple’s own straps) it is a dust magnet, especially in black.
The case alternates facets of brushed and polished blackened 316L stainless steel and boasts a familiar porthole-shaped bezel. Teleport’s other watch designs usually feature the obligatory screws on the bezel, but this model does not (hence the strong Girard-Perregaux Laureato impression).
With a thickness of 11 mm the watch feels pleasingly solid, and the case back, engraved with the Teleport and Actively Black logos, is a solid-looking screw-type back.
In addition to the BLACK logo beneath the 12 o’clock marker (which is in fact the Teleport logo), the matte black dial features a date between 4 and 5 o’clock and the usual 24-hour, seconds, and minutes subdials at 3, 6, and 9. The indexes and hands are glossy black and, to be honest, are barely legible in artificial light. Well, you can always look at your phone.
The watch sits very comfortably even on slim wrists and could be worn equally by men or women, although there is a slightly smaller non-chronograph “ladies” version.
Apart from the legibility issue, there is very little to fault on the Actively Black x Teleport chronograph. As a take on the “steel sports watch with rubber strap” concept it should certainly attract “is-it-or-isn’t-it” inquisitive looks from other watch enthusiasts – and has the added advantage of being one of the watches that President Obama wears as an expression of his support for Black-owned businesses in the United States.
And that can only be a good thing.
For more information, please visit activelyblack.com/collections/accessories/products/mens-actively-black-x-teleport-watch.