Joe Biden, Watch Geek in Chief

President Biden may cast his arrival in the White House as a return to business as usual at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but there’s at least one way he’s breaking from prevailing presidential tradition: he wears a Rolex.


At his inauguration, Mr. Biden laid his hand on the family Bible wearing a stainless steel Rolex Datejust watch with a blue dial, a model that retails for more than $7,000 and is a far cry from the Everyman timepieces that every president not named Trump has worn conspicuously in recent decades.


To many, a president wearing a luxury watch might not seem unusual. Shouldn’t the leader of the free world wear a power watch befitting his position? (Never mind that it costs the equivalent of dozen or so stimulus checks.)


That concept was widely accepted once, back when Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson posed guiltlessly for Oval Office portraits wearing gold Rolexes. Not for nothing is Rolex’s storied gold Day-Date model known as the “President.”

这样的观念曾经被广泛接受,德怀特·D·艾森豪威尔(Dwight D. Eisenhower)和林登·B·约翰逊(Lyndon B. Johnson)为椭圆形办公室肖像拍照时,都是大模大样地戴着劳力士金表。劳力士的镀金星期日历款腕表(Day-Date)被称为“总统”款,并非浪得虚名。

Such political power watches, however, had gone out of style in the internet age, when most recent presidents, and politicians in general, seemed to consider the luxury watch as a signifier of out-of-touch elitism.


Bill Clinton seemed to thumb his nose at aristocratic gold timepieces by wearing a Timex Ironman, a “plastic digital watch, thick as a brick and handsome as a hernia,” as The Washington Post wrote in 1993.

比尔·克林顿(Bill Clinton)似乎对贵族气息的黄金时计不屑一顾,他戴的是天美时(Timex)Ironman手表。1993年,《华盛顿邮报》(Washington Post)写道,这是一款“塑料电子表,厚如砖头,帅如疝气”。

His successor, George W. Bush, went even more down market, wearing a Timex Indiglo, the kind once sold at drugstores.

他的继任者乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)更加低调,戴的是曾在杂货店出售的天美时Indiglo。

The choice of a watch that cost $50 or less was either a man-of-the-people statement — even though Mr. Bush was an oil scion who went to Yale — or a masterstroke of old-money preppyism, where any hint of gilded glimmer is considered vulgar.


Barack Obama, too, avoided heirloom-level timepieces. During his presidency, he opted for midpriced all-American watches by Shinola, the Detroit-based brand, or a sporty watch by Jorg Gray, based in Southern California, that cost less than $500.

贝拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)也没有选择传家宝级别的腕表。担任总统期间,他选择了底特律品牌Shinola的中等价位典型美国款手表,或者南加州品牌Jorg Gray的运动手表,价格不到500美元。

This may come as a shock, but Mr. Trump shattered those norms. He remained on-brand during his term, flashing mogul-worthy gold (what else?) watches by Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Vacheron Constantin.

这可能让人感到震惊,但特朗普打破了这些规范。任期内他一直佩戴百达翡丽(Patek Philippe)、劳力士和江诗丹顿(Vacheron Constantin)等彰显大亨身份的炫酷金表(当然得是金的)。

Which brings us to Mr. Biden, who seems to balance both horological sensibilities (how centrist of him) and is unafraid to show off his haute Swiss watches, all stainless steel, including his Rolex, an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional and Omega Seamaster Diver 300M both of which retail for around $5,000 or $6,000.

再来说拜登,他似乎在两种腕表品味之间搞平衡(他可真是个中间派),而且不吝炫耀自己的高级瑞士手表,它们都是不锈钢的,除了那款劳力士,还有一款欧米茄超霸月球表专业版(Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional),一款欧米茄海马潜水员300M(Omega Seamaster Diver 300M),零售价分别在5000美元或6000美元左右。

To be fair, none of Mr. Biden’s watches scream “luxury,” at least to watch connoisseurs who are acclimated to the thin air of Swiss watch prices.


His Rolex Datejust, for example, is considered an undisputed classic, but in another sense, almost could be regarded as entry level for a brand with head-turners that quickly climb into the five-figures.


Likewise, his Omegas do not connote fanciness, at least in the eyes of watch snobs. The Moonwatch, while Swiss in origin, has been embraced as an American emblem ever since the Apollo 11 astronauts wore the storied model to the moon.


The Seamaster is a brawny scuba watch worn by Daniel Craig’s bone-breaking James Bond.

海马表是一款结实的潜水腕表,丹尼尔·克雷格(Daniel Craig)饰演的硬汉詹姆斯·邦德(James Bond)曾经戴过。

So what to make of Mr. Biden’s watches?


Whether a conscious fashion statement or not, the high-end, but macho, watches suggest that, even at 78, this former high school football star of the Kennedy years still wants to be seen as a he-man, rugged and young at heart (see his aviator sunglasses).


They also embody a classic version of the American dream: that anyone, even a kid from Scranton, can make it to the pinnacle of power.


Then again, he may just wish to make it to White House meetings on time.


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