Watching Obama’s Watch — One Year Later

It’s September 3, 2009 now, almost one full year after I first started watching Obama’s watches. And I will admit it: that over the period from September 2008 through Obama’s Inauguration in January 2009, I did get tired of this story . . . really, really tired of this story. There were periods when I was checking for photos on a daily basis, responding to numerous e-mail messages, keeping up with dozens of blog postings about Obama’s watches, staying current with the principals at Jorg Gray, watching for EBay auctions, and “promoting” the story in various media outlets. Traffic at OnTheDash almost doubled, and over certain periods, there were more “hits” on Obama’s webpage than on all the other pages of the website, combined.

So for the past several months — February through August 2009 — I stopped following the story. Yes, I would have a look at Getty Images every once in a while, to see what Obama is wearing, but there hasn’t been much to report. Obama has worn the Jorg Gray “Secret Service” chronograph daily, with only the occasional switch to the Nike or Timex digital watch, when he goes for a run, for a swim, etc.

This evening, I was clicking thorugh some messages on Twitter, and I noticed a couple of new blog postings covering Obama’s watches. Yes, almost one full year later, people are still writing articles, columns and blog postings about President Obama’s watches. Every day, there are numerous Google searches relating to “Obama’s Watch” or “What Watch Does Obama Wear”, and many of these searchers end up on this webpage.

Accordingly, I have decided to continue with some entries on this page. I am certain that I will not be covering this story with anywhere near the intensity of the period from September 2008 through January 2009; still, it might be useful to have a place to write the occasional note or add a link to an interesting article or blog posting.

With that introduction, I will switch to a “journal” style, adding notes as items come to my attention; also expecting that I may get tired of maintaining this page, in which case, it will again go silent.

  • September 3, 2009: Gear Patrol blog entry covering Obama’s Jorg Gray chronograph.
  • September 4, 2009: Here’s a Luxist blog entry, describing the Vulcain Cricket watch that has been given to President Obama; he may have received this watch, but a quick review of Getty Images shows no evidence that he is wearing it; seems unlikely that we will be wearing a $6,500 Swiss watch.
  • September 9, 2009: Addressing a joint session of Congress to discuss healthcare reform, President Obama has switched back to his TAG-Heuer Series 1500 watch. I wonder whether he might have thought that the TAG-Heuer would have more bipartisan appeal? It seems that Congressman Wilson did not approve. The next day, he is back to the Jorg Gray.
  • September 15, 2009: The October 2009 issue of Men’s Health magazine has Obama on the cover, wearing his TAG-Heuer Series 1500 watch.

Men's Health, October 2009

  • I suspect that this portrait was taken well before the publication of this magazine; still, it’s great to see the TAG-Heuer on the cover. So tell me, how much would any watch brand pay to have its watch shown on the cover of this magazine!! Well done, TAG-Heuer!!
  • November 24, 2009: For the first State Dinner of his Presidency, Obama is wearing the TAG-Heuer Series 1500 watch.
  • December 3, 2009: The Times of London runs the story,”The search for Barack Obama’s watch“. Here is an excerpt from the article, describing the “Secret Service chronograph: “The watch started life as one of only 50 produced for members of the Secret Service two years ago. Soon after, the then presidential candidate was given one by his security detail for his 46th birthday in August 2007 and he swapped it for his TAG Heuer. A frenzy began among watch nerds to identify it. The fact that Obama had dumped his trusty Tag for a confusingly obscure model became the subject of heated debate on the internet. Foremost among the watch detectives was Jeff Stein, a civil lawyer from Atlanta, who made it his business to find out which brand Obama had switched to.” Unbelievable! This is the story that just won’t go away!
  • December 6, 2009: Here is an interesting photo (below) of President Obama and Vice President Biden, as they wait before Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. There is much discussion about the body language and messaging, between the President and the Vice President. One thing we can all agree on: It’s a great photograph of the Tag-Heuer Series 1500!

Obama09Dec06KennedyCenter450Square

  • December 10, 2009: In Oslo, Norway, President Obama wears his TAG-Heuer Series 1500 watch (below) to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.

President Barack Obama, Receiving Nobel Prize

  • A pattern seems to be emerging, with the President wearing the TAG-Heuer for special occasions. One question for further study: For this sort of travel, is Obama packing both watches — the TAG-Heuer and the Jorg Gray — or does he just select one watch for the trip? If he is switching off watches, from one day to the next or from one event to the next, then that definitely makes him a “watch guy”.
Copyright, Jeffrey M. Stein, 2008 - 2017;   all rights reserved