Rolex on American Presidents

With their classic design, robust build, and inherent prestige, Rolex watches have been the choice of many world leaders – including American Presidents. The Rolex Day-Date has been famously dubbed the “President” due to this association, but the Datejust has also earned its place in the history of the Oval Office with its outstanding features, exquisite appeal, and timeless aesthetics.

More than six decades on, the Day-Date and Datejust have remained as the brand’s signature status watches and the top choice of high-profile individuals. For Presidents’ Day, let’s track the history of Rolex watches that have graced American Presidents’ wrists.

 

 

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower was the first President to wear a Rolex, but the watch was given to him when he was still a military officer. It was a usual practice for the Swiss brand to give milestone models to world leaders. As such, when it was time for Rolex to find a worthy recipient for their 150,000th officially certified chronometer, they gave it to Eisenhower.

 

 

Perfect for his outstanding presence, Eisenhower’s present from Rolex was a yellow gold Datejust with a five-link Jubilee bracelet, a silver dial, and a fluted bezel. Its caseback comes with his initials, D.D.E., five stars to represent his military rank, and 12-19-1950—the date when he became the Supreme Commander of NATO.

 


 

 

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson was the first President to wear a Rolex while in office. He was often spotted with a Day-Date during his six-year term and even gifted the same luxurious model to some of his friends.

Johnson has a 36mm yellow gold Day-Date, furnished with a subtle silver dial, and a President bracelet with semi-circular links in a three-piece configuration. In 1966, at the height of his presidency, Rolex advertised the Day-Date as “The presidents’ watch” to emphasize its prestige and relationship to the White House. Since then, it became known as the Rolex President with Johnson being heavily credited for the moniker.

 


 

 

Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford was offered a Rolex watch too, specifically a Day-Date. But for some reason, he refused to accept it during his term. Retired Rolex executive, T. Walker Lloyd later revealed that Ford asked them to get him a President watch after he completed his service. Rolex reportedly refused to grant the request, so Ford purchased his from an ad.

His Day-Date comes in a modest 36mm case and a sleek profile, making it ideal for wearing under the cuff. It also features a gold dial that makes the black minute track and signature pop. With its streamlined style and superbly finished bracelet, the Day-Date perfectly matches the leader’s tailored looks.

 


 

 

Ronald Reagan

Best known for his appealing personal style, Ronald Reagan is the 40th president of the United States. Until the 2000s, he was the last President to wear a Rolex while in office. His successors have reportedly resorted to wearing quartz pieces from smaller watch companies.

Reagan was often seen with a steel Datejust with a Jubilee bracelet and an 18k white gold bezel. Powered by a self-winding movement, it also features a neat dial with luminous hands and raised baton indices. The sapphire crystal provides protection against scratches, while the 100-meter depth rating makes the watch functional.

PHOTOS: Rolex Magazine

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