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Belmont Club

What Kind of Man Wears a Timex?

March 8th, 2013 - 2:07 pm

In 2007 President George W. Bush had his Timex stolen while working the crowds in Bulgaria. The Guardian was surprised at his choice of watches, but notes that there was at least other one President who shared the same taste in timepieces: Bill Clinton.

Former US presidents certainly seem to have had an eye for a classy timepiece. Rolex named its 1956 6511 “Day Date” the Rolex President after presenting one to Eisenhower. Ike also wore a Vulcain Cricket, the 1947-designed mechanical wristwatch with an alarm (the first one to boast this feature, which sounded like the chirruping insect). This model acquired the nickname “the President’s Watch” on account of it also being worn by Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson.

Kennedy wore an Omega to his inauguration, a gift from a friend given to him before the 1960 election, bearing the confident inscription: “President of the United States John F Kennedy from his friend Grant.” This fetched $350,000 at auction in 2005. In the same year, another Kennedy watch went under the hammer for $120,000, but this one was apparently never worn by the man. It’s a gold Rolex reportedly intended as a birthday gift from Marilyn Monroe – the inscription reads: “Jack, With love as always from Marilyn, May 29 1962″. It is believed the actress gave it to an aide to present to the president, but a note sold with the watch says that he told the assistant to “get rid of it”.

A Timex begins to look a bit tawdry in this company, but don’t think George Bush is unique among occupants of the Whitehouse in his choice of a cheap timepiece. Bill Clinton also wore a Timex (his was a plastic Ironman LCD model), and also owned a Swiss Army Watch.

It is hardly surprising that John Kennedy should wear an Omega. He’s the type who would do it. But the wristwatch of choice of some of the world’s most famous men of the masses may surprise you.

Rolex

Rolex

Rolex

Rolex

I am saving up for one now. I figure that if I get 8,000 or more readers to hit my tipjar, I can afford Jesse Jackson Junior’s $43,000 Rolex. Just kidding.  Probably this Timex is a more reasonable goal, at only $27.15 with free Super Saver shipping.

It’s a mistake to think that successfully playing the part of the Man of the People means looking like a real guerilla, farmer or industrial worker. The real McCoy wears bad shoes, has matted hair and B.O. which is the necessary consequence of living as they do. However, the successful Man of the People must look nothing at all like that. Insofar as possible he should look and act like a movie star.

A textbook example is disgraced former British cabinet member Chris Huhne, shown below while a student at Oxford leading a protest against ‘elitism’.

Protesting against elitism at Oxford

Who better to lead a revolt against elitism than the beautiful people? Who wants to see a man in a sleeveless t-shirt with hairy armpits protesting against elitism? Who wants to see a man in a sleeveless t-shirt with hairy armpits period? What the public really craves on TV news is someone edgy, contrary and hip.  Sincerity is not required but ‘cool’ is.

Huhne, as a cabinet minister advocated windmills, Green energy and similar politically causes while in reality using his power to obtain special treatment, even using taxpayer money to have photographs of himself framed. He now facing a jail sentence for rigging his speeding ticket. He was in Allison Pearson’s words, “a champion of social equality who believes everyone to be his inferior” — and therefore exactly the right man for the job.

To be cast as a Man of the People requires someone larger than life:  tall, imposing, with tailored clothes, expensive cigars and striking wristwatches. A blank canvas into which we can project our desires. To play the part of a true peasant champion, buy a Rolex, not a Timex.


The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

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No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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All Comments   (38)
All Comments   (38)
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Between Kennedy and Clinton there has been a huge change in technology. In Kennedy's time and before, if you wanted a watch that was accurate to the minute, you by necessity would purchase a high-end watch. Owners of Timex watches might luck on to one that was reasonably accurate for a while, but they were not designed for easy servicing when the time came for cleaning and lubrication. I've got boxes of them from older relatives who either got tired of setting them 5-minutes ahead each morning, or found that they just stopped.
By Clinton's time, quartz electronic watches found at $10 in a discount store had accuracy far better than a 1960's 21-jewel watch of Swiss design and manufacture.
In this day and age, I think that mobile phones play much the same role in social signalling that watches did up to the 1970's. The most status conscious will always strive to be seen to have the most recent top-end one.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Who wears a watch? I haven't worn a watch in years.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"To be cast as a Man of the People requires someone larger than life: tall, imposing, with tailored clothes, expensive cigars and striking wristwatches. A blank canvas into which we can project our desires."

That says it all. I wonder what sort of watch Robert Mugabe wears. Or the Kims of North Korea? Is there a Rolex that is passed from one genocidal generation of "Great Leader" to the next? Oh, and how about that Obamas?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I like self winding skeleton watches. I bought a Stuhrling Winchester on Amazon that stopped letting me adjust it after two years. I recently replaced it with a similar one, different metal scheme, from half.com and lo and behold the old one works again!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wore a G-shock, purchased on leave from boot camp, for 7 years of durable, reliable use. But as a recruiter I had a young prospect ask me, "If the Marine Corps is such a great place to work, how come you wear a plastic watch?" It would not have made a difference had I tried to explain how durable it was or how the timer feature was great for gauging your minutes per mile run times, all he knew was successful people wore metal watches. So I bought a Seiko Submariner look-alike. I discovered a great watch at a great price that has survived everything I have done since, including three tours in Iraq. I have to say it looks much more 'adult' than the plastic watch and is appropriate for all occasions, common enough for work and dresses up well enough for formal occasions. Just my opinion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In thinking about this, I came to the opinion that Fidel and Che did not buy their Rolex watches. They took them from their victims-- dead or alive. Many of these other world leaders also didnt buy them. Gifts or bribes. The gold Presidential Rolex used to be pretty cheap compared to now since it has gottten to be fashionable. I lived in Manila once upon a time and you had to be careful wearing a gold Rolex while driving. Thieves could flip it off your wrist at a traffic stop if your arm was on the open car window frame.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I can't keep a nice analog dial watch. It either gets damaged or the strap breaks and I can't a replacement, or nobody has the tools to remove the back plate so the battery can be replaced, and etc. I'd really like one of the Seiko Kinetic watches with an analog display. But I've got this digital Casio G-Shock, solar powered, atomic radio timed, that just won't die. The strap has lasted longer than any other watch that I've had. I paid less that $40 bucks for it at the time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment


I have gotten my last couple of watches from JCP while buying some clothes for work. I like the black plastic with a black face. I buy cheap watches for the same reason that I buy cheap sunglasses. For some reason $3 pair of sunglasses will last forever and nobody will let you leave without them unlike a pair of Serengeti’s. My body awareness is down to the millimeter and I have wiped off several watches on brick wall by not accounting for them.

Just the day before yesterday I was at Target looking for a replacement MPG player. At this particular store the newbie salesperson had to ask his manager what an MPG player was. Apparently this branch didn’t sell them. Odd. Anyhow, I was looking at some of the watches there as I am not super happy with the brown bezel and white face of my current Timex. All of the watches had so much bling, and they were big, so much baubles and doohickeys that a pimp would blush at the ostentatiousness of them. Who needs a watch as large as an alarm clock on their wrist with enough dials to display world time at every major city? Don’t know. If I ever hit it big, I am going to lose 40 pounds, buy an Avante and wear a Movato even though I wont be able to tell the time with it unless it was noon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Q - What kind of man wears a Timex?

A - A gorilla keeper.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzGNCYZUOp8
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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