What Kind of Watch did President Kennedy Wear?

While the politics and life of President John F. Kennedy are filled with controversy and a wide range of opinions, one thing that is not up for debate is that he is a widely known and recognized man. From his sense of style, relative youth for such a high office, and his tragic death, there are few Presidents that stand out as much as Kennedy in history.

Part of that story is the two iconic women that are so closely tied to President Kennedy and will always come up as topics of conversation surrounding the man himself. Each of these women gave the President a watch, and each watch is a part of history because of it. For starters, his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, gave her husband an 18 karat gold Cartier watch on their fourth wedding anniversary. This watch was inscribed with his initials, their wedding date, and the Kennedy family arms. This watch was one of the most recognizable watches that JFK wore because it was the watch that he was wearing on the day that he was assassinated in Dallas, TX.

The second iconic woman is Marilyn Monroe, widely believed to be someone the President was having an affair with, and the second watch, is equally a special part of history, even though it is shrouded in rumors. The Rolex Day-Date model is often referred to as the “President” because many holding the office, from Eisenhower and on after, wore this watch often. The particular one that is attributed to President Kennedy, and was supposedly gifted by Ms. Monroe, is inscribed with a poem in the case, and is inscribed on the back of the watch with, “Jack, with love as always, from, Marylyn, May 29th , 1962″

With each of these watches, you will find famous stories and a great tribute to history. So, what were they like? And what happened to them? The 18 karat gold Cartier watch, or as it might be called for JFK, the Jackie, is a watch with a gold face, gold hands, gold lug…basically the entire body is gold. Obviously, it is much more a style and class statement than it is a watch for readability or endurance. This watch has no numbers, only lines to mark the time, and only features a minute and hour hand. With the brown leather band, it was clearly meant to be a fashionable watch that exudes wealth and power. The particular watch was given back to the first lady after her husband was killed. It was then given to his secretary and eventually ended up in the hands of the collector Robert White.

The inscribed Rolex Day-Date is shrouded in much more mystery and controversy. This watch is made entirely of Gold, from the face to the band. The case was inscribed with a poem, according to stories, that read,

“A Heartfelt Plea on Your Birthday. 
Let lovers breath their sighs and roses bloom and music sound.
Let passion burn on the lips and eyes and pleasures merry world go round.
Let golden sunshine flood the sky and let me love or let me die.”

While this watch features a day and a date reading, a second hand, and some other features missing from the Cartier, it is still a watch that is clearly built for style. It is impossible to know for sure if this watch exists, many have tried to verify its existence and the circumstances surrounding it, but many have come up empty. While it may never be known what really happened with this beautiful timepiece, it is certainly a unique and beautiful watch from a day long gone.

About the Author Elise Tigner

Lover of fashion, exploring, travel and my dog. Currently living in Las Vegas, with my eyes and heart set on traveling the world with my bestie.

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