They say you can tell a lot about a person from their watch. Can you divine something deeper even about United States presidents?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, wristwatches are easy to politicize. Presidents who surely can afford and possibly have a taste for more expensive watches can't appear too aloof from their electorate and often need to wear very humble watches. Bill Clinton's famous Timex Ironman, for instance, has seen less wrist time since his retirement in favor of an impressive collection from Panerais to A. Lange & Söhne watches.
The case of Joe Biden is a curious one. At first glance, his fondness for Seiko watches supports the Average-Joe persona he projects. But a closer look reveals he quietly has a taste for the finer things as well.
Rolex Datejust 41
You might have expected Joe to go with a Day-Date, otherwise known as the "President," rather than this simpler steel Datejust. Only available in precious metals, the Day-Date would probably be a bit too flashy for Biden's self-styled everyman persona — and maybe it just would've been too obvious. It turns out that he didn't choose it himself at all, though, and this watch was a Christmas present from the First Lady. Nevertheless, the all-steel 41mm Datejust with a smooth bezel and a Jubilee bracelet (as in ref. 126300) keeps the president relatively down-to-Earth.
Seiko Alarm Chronograph
For his victory speech in Wilmington, DE, on November 7, 2020, Biden wore the simple Seiko chronograph he'd also been seen with on the campaign trail. The two-tone finish is aesthetic only (a coating over steel): this is a practical, inexpensive quartz watch, but choosing Seiko hints at his watch awareness — a harmless dog whistle for watch enthusiasts, if you will. He appears to have several such Seiko watches as well as more expensive Swiss ones in his arsenal.
It's natural for any vice president to consider running for the top office, and Biden had done so before running alongside Barack Obama. So it's perhaps unsurprising that he'd been spotted with the Vulcain Cricket. Otherwise known as the President's Watch, Vulcain has made a tradition of gifting a Cricket presidents since Harry Truman in 1953. It features a mechanical alarm that earlier presidents especially found useful. Since he's already got one, it'll be interesting to see if Vulcain sends him another.
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
Seen in an interview with the magazine In Style, Biden variously sported jeans, a sweatshirt, a denim shirt, a leather jacket, his trademark aviator sunglasses and an Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch. This seems to show Joe's casual side and personal taste: it's down-to-earth workwear but communicates that he values quality and style. The Speedmaster, of course, appropriately has a US government connection with its use by NASA. As one of the best values in modern watches, it reflects on Biden as serious but not extravagant.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300m
Biden is clearly a Seiko man but also an Omega fan. He's been spotted with a Seamaster 300m Diver, pairing a dive watch to a suit, 007-style. Though irreproachably tasteful, the watch doesn't seem like an overly calculated wardrobe choice (though it's not an inexpensive watch) and is more representative of his own personality — and watch collection.
Apple products might be polarizing, but Biden wearing an Apple Watch as he's occasionally done seems practical. It's of less interest to watch collectors and enthusiasts than the watches above, but will be familiar and approachable to voters. However, the Secret Service could conceivably not allow the president to wear such technology for security reasons, and Joe will surely be happy to return to his Seikos and Omegas.