Barack Obama’s TAG-Heuer Watch

A careful examination of the available photographs suggests that Barack Obama wore a TAG-Heuer Series 1500 Two-Tone Divers watch, from the early or mid-1990′s until late 2007. Over this period, this seems to have been his “daily wearer”, the one and only watch that he wore over this period of 10 or 15 years. Of the thousands of photos of Senator Obama that we find on the internet, from Google to Flickr to Getty, the following are some favorite photos that capture the spirit of Senator Obama and his watch. You can click on any of these images, to see a close-up photo of the watch.

A Day With Senator Obama — Chicago, IL, December 8, 2004 — Senator Barack Obama gets ready at his home before leaving to give the keynote address at the Chicago Economic Club in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/Getty Images)

The photo above is from September 17, 2006, and shows Senator Barack Obama campaigning for Senator Tom Harkin (Democrat, from Iowa) he 29th Harkin Steak Fry at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Indianola, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Morgan/Getty Images)

The photo above was taken on March 4, 2007, at Brown Chapel AME Church, in Selma, Alabama, as Senator Barack Obama was waiting to address a crowd gathered for the commemoration of the 1965 Voting Rights March.

In addition to these favorites, here are some “quickies” . . . photos showing Barack Obama, on the campaign trail, with his trusty TAG-Heuer, all along the way.  Chatting at the diner, signing an autograph, or addressing the crowd . . . Obama seems to have worn his TAG-Heuer every day.

ObamaDinerThumb      ObamaMicThumb 

The TAG Heuer Series 1500 Watch

Barack Obama’s TAG-Heuer watch is a Series 1500 Two-Tone Diver (as shown in the catalog page below). TAG-Heuer introduced the Series 1500 watches in 1991, after the Series 1000 watches had been discontinued. The Series 1500 watches were intended to sell at the price point below the Series 2000 watches, and some of the catalog pages shown below emphasize the “value” of the Series 1500 watches.

In this era, TAG-Heuer was marketing its watches and chronographs as “professional sports watches”, with an emphasis on diving watches and chronographs. The Series 1000, 1500 and 2000 watches were described as being “first and foremost functional pieces of diving equipment”. Consistent with this positioning, the watches featured water resistance to 200 meters, screw-down crown, double safety clasp, unidirectional turning bezel, sapphire glass, and luminous pointers.

 

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Senator Obama’s watch, which sets it apart from other TAG-Heuer chronographs of the period and makes it easily recognizable in numerous photos of Obama, is the raised triangles on the bezel. The bezel has these raised triangles at 00-10-20-30-40-50, with numerals at 5-15-25-35-45-55. On the Two-Tone model, these raised triangles are gold-tone, as is the crown. The steel model (shown below) has these raised triangles, but they are steel, rather than gold.

Some facts about the Series 1500 Two-Tone Diver:

  • The Series 1500 Two-Tone Diver was available in three sizes — the Full-Size (sometimes called “Oversized”), the Three-Quarters (also called the “Mid-Size”), and the Womens. The Series 2000 watches were avaliable in a fourth size, between the Three-Quarters and the Womens, with this fourth size called the “Unisex”.
  • Obama’s TAG-Heuer is either the Full-Size model or the Three-Quarters (Mid-Size) model; these two watches are identical, other than the size of the case.
  • When introduced in 1991, the Series 1500 Two-Tine Diver in the Full-Size model was Reference 955.706G, and the Three-Quarters (Mid-Size) model was Reference 955.713G. When TAG-Heuer changed its numbering system (around 1994), the Full-Sized model became the WD-1121 and the Three-Quarters (Mid-Size) model became the WD-1221. (Yes, it does seem odd that the smaller watches had the larger reference numbers.)
  • The dials on the Series 1500 Two-Tone Divers were a distinctive “granite” color throughout most years of production. This watch was produced with a white dial only in the final period of production (circa 1998).
  • When introduced in 1991, the Series 1500 Two-Tone Diver sold for $625 on the bracelet or $575 on the leather strap.

The Series 1500 continued in production until around 1998, when the series was discontinued. Here is a 1995 TAG-Heuer catalog that shows several of the Series 1500 models. (Compare the Series 1500 watches to the Series 1000 or Series 2000 watches shown in this 1990 TAG-Heuer catalog.)

The watch shown below appears to be identical to the Series 1500 Two-Tone Diver worn by Senator Obama, except that Obama’s watch has a leather strap, rather than the bracelet.

 

The model in TAG-Heuer’s current line of watches that might be considered the closest successor to the Series 1500 Two-Tone Diver is the Reference WAF1120.BB0807, part of the Aquaracer series (shown below).

Copyright, Jeffrey M. Stein, 2008 - 2014;   all rights reserved