Welcome to Watches of the Week, where we’ll track the rarest, wildest, and most covetable watches spotted on celebrities.
Big month for Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.: the guy got a new Rolex. And I guess there was that whole being-sworn-in-as-President thing. But the Rolex! The new piece first appeared on 46’s wrist while he was receiving the initial dose of the COVID vaccine, and it was there again this week during his inauguration. Some men have Dior Air Jordan 1s, others have new Rolex watches. At first blush, Biden’s choice is a bit perplexing. Consider that he was just elected President and there is an actual Rolex watch, the Day-Date, nicknamed the President—that one feels like a no-brainer. Instead, Biden’s new Rolex is the more entry-level Datejust model with a black dial. But this might be more advanced maneuvering by Biden. While it’s the Day-Date that now shares a nickname with Biden it wasn’t actually the first Rolex to make its way to the Oval. That honor actually belongs to the…Datejust.
Joe Biden’s Rolex Datejust
In 1951, when Dwight Eisenhower was still just a five-star general and not yet the President of the United States, Rolex reached out with an offer. The company wanted to outfit the general with a Datejust and sent him a gold version engraved with his initials. The watch famously appeared on a cover of Life with the general and then accompanied him into the White House in 1953.
Biden likely considered all this when choosing his Datejust. The new president seems to have an uncanny understanding of how his position overlaps with the world of watches: he’s also been known to wear a Vulcain Cricket, the watch of choice for presidents like Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson.
Ed Sheeran’s John Mayer x Hodinkee G-SHOCK Ref 6900
Among modern musicians, there are probably no bigger watch collectors than John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. Mayer is such an enthusiast that he teamed up with Hodinkee to design his own keyboard-inspired G-SHOCK in December. The $180 piece isn’t typical Sheeran fare—he’s most often seen wearing Patek Philippe and Richard Mille watches worth tens, if not hundreds, of thousands—but this appears to be a case of one collector paying respects to another.
Barack Obama’s Rolex Cellini
Unlike past presidents or VPs, like Bill Clinton (more on him later) and Biden (more on him earlier), President Obama didn’t get sucked into the vortex of watch collecting after leaving the office. Over the past four years, Obama’s mostly worn a Fitbit Ionic—if anything, a horological downgrade from the Jorg Grey on his wrist during his presidency. But there is one fine watch Obama keeps in his arsenal to pull out when the moment calls for it: a Rolex Cellini in 18-carat white gold. The Cellini is Rolex’s version of a dress watch—all fine materials, a simple pared-down dial, and strapping leather band. Obama got his Cellini shortly after his second term ended and it’s the timepiece that appears in his official portrait.
Kevin Love’s Rolex “Big Red” Daytona
Kevin Love gets a lot of credit for his sharp tailoring and excellent knits (see: his Polo Bears, the L.L. Bean x Todd Snyder cardigan above), but he has a mean watch collection, too. While giving Architectural Digest a tour of his New York pad, Love was spotted wearing a Rolex Daytona reference 6263, known as the “Big Red.” The watch gets its nickname from the red, fatter-than-normal font the word “Daytona” appears in over the bottom-center subdial. Along with the “Paul Newman,” the “Big Red” is one of the two most desirable variations of the Daytona. And guess what: Newman also wore the Big Red. The actor’s former watch recently sold for $5.48 million at auction.
Bill Clinton’s A. Lange & Söhne Grosse Langematik Gangreserve
After wearing one of the most infamous Timex watches during his campaign and early presidency—a watch that incurred the scorn of political observers the nation over—Bill Clinton wasn’t the most likely candidate to become a big-time watch collector once out of office. However, over the past couple of decades, the sax-playing pres has amassed a pretty impressive collection: he owns a couple Panerai pieces, a Jaeger-LeCoultre diver watch, and a pair of watches from German brand A. Lange & Söhne. The watch he wore to the inauguration is a 1-of-100 platinum model from Lange. The super-fine watch made in collaboration with the retailer Wempe was a fittingly elegant choice for the inauguration.