What does Donald Trump like to wear on the wrist? The 45th president of the United States, who was sworn into office on January 20, 2017, has a varied watch collection, despite not being considered the most enthusiastic of watch collectors. On the opposite hand, Bill Clinton went from owning just one Timex watch to becoming a bit of a novice, sporting the likes of Panerai, Cartier, and Roger Dubuis on his arm while attending some of the most important events in his career.
Some watches owned by US presidents in the past have gone down in history. For example, take the gold Rolex watch gifted to John F. Kennedy in 1962 by Marilyn Munroe. It was beautifully inscribed with the words “Jack, With love as always, from Marilyn.” It sold for $120,000 in 2005 after years of being discreetly hidden away from the public eye. And Barack Obama has a love for the sporty TAG Heuer Series 1500 model. He’s also been spotted wearing a Rolex Cellini and a Jorg Gray Chronograph.
Whatever watch the current President wears, people are going to want to know about it. So, what does Donald Trump’s watch collection look like? We’ve identified a few watches Donald Trump has been seen wearing and those believed to be in his collections.
Donating the Universal Genève Senna Chronograph
The Universal Geneve Senna 41, ref. 998.310 is a rare watch. The Ayrton Senna Institute (IAS) was set up in 1994 by Ayrton Senna’s family and presided by Viviane Senna. The institute cooperates with businesses, governments, municipalities, schools, and universities to help create opportunities for children and young Brazilians.
It was a concept that was discussed by Ayrton Senna and his sister just weeks before his fatal crash at Imola in 1994. The charitable organization has been helping young individuals ever since while commemorating the famous racing driver’s life.
In the late 90s, famous watchmaker Universal Geneve partnered up with the Ayrton Senna Institute (IAS) to create a special timepiece in honor of Ayrton Senna’s success. Dedicated watch collectors and fans of the motorsport industry found common ground in this exceptionally beautiful timepiece, which would come to be donated by Donald Trump in 1999.
When Antiquorum and Tourneau hosted a “Famous Faces” auction in New York City, Donald Trump attended. The event, which enabled stars to bid on horological and pop culture memorabilia, brought together the likes of A-list celebrities including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Seinfeld, Leonardo DiCaprio, Whoopi Goldberg, and Dustin Hoffman to name just a few.
Amongst them was Donald Trump, who made a bid and won a Colibri wristwatch originally belonging to actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan. Trump bid $7000 for the watch before donating his own Senna Chronograph.
The Universal Genève Senna Chronograph was produced as a result of a collaborative effort between the watch company and the charitable organization. Two dedicated watches were developed, and part of the profits made on the watches was donated to the IAS. The first was the “Sienne 41,” which we’re going to cover here.
The second was the “Sienne 65,” which was available either as quartz or a COSC-certified automatic version and in dial colors of silver, black and yellow. There was also a choice between a metal bracelet and a stylish leather strap with a traditional pin buckle.
However, the “Sienna 41” model pays tribute to the 41 Formula One wins in Ayrton Senna’s career. The watch was crafted with a mix of stainless steel and a material that Universal Geneve referred to at the time as “carbon.” Although it wasn’t genuine carbon, the unique blending of the steel with some form of carbon enabled them to use the term in its spec list.
A few variations of the Ayrton Senna 41 model were crafted from solid 18k gold – one of which Donald Trump owned. Even for today’s standards, the watch’s 41mm case size is a nice fit on the wrist. The watch is powered by the trustworthy Valjoux 7750 movement – one of the world’s greatest chronograph movements. Specifically, it’s been used in watches made by IWC Schaffhausen, Breitling, and Fortis. Other brands like Hublot, Panerai, and Chopard went on to modify the movement, equipping it with a column wheel.
Features like the watch’s screw-down crown and screw-in pushers, along with a flat sapphire crystal glass lens, enable it to uphold a 200-meter water resistance, which, considering its sporty racing-inspired design aesthetic, is quite an impressive quality.
The Limited Edition Azad Power Tourbillon Stainless Steel
Some watches like the vintage Calibri mentioned earlier have rarely been seen on the wrist of Donald Trump, while others have made an appearance on more than a few occasions. More publicly worn watches owned by Trump include the timepiece gifted to him on the reality TV show, “The Apprentice.” The limited-edition Azad Power Tourbillon is a stainless steel model that retails for a little under $10k. The watch boasts a distinct tonneau-shaped case, which has become a popular alternative to the circular and rectangular-shaped watch over the last few decades.
In comparison to some of the more universally appealing timepieces that Donald Trump has sported on the wrist, the steel Azad Power Tourbillon has unique characteristics that would get anyone noticed when they walk into a room. Take, for example, its exquisite skeletonized dial.
Open-worked dials on watches have been a popular addition to any growing watch collection since the 18th Century. But the more beautiful a watch movement becomes, the more appeal a skeletonized watch will have. Donald Trump’s Azad Power Tourbillon watch offers a view into the heart of the mechanical wristwatch both from the dial and the back of the watch case.
The American luxury watch brand is considered a relatively young contender within the industry. Its 25-year traditional watchmaking methods use cutting edge technology while respecting age-old horological heritage. The Tourbillon watch features a large silver-colored ring for main timekeeping, incorporating a subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o’clock and a date ring at 2 o’clock. The stainless steel model is completed on a classic-looking blue leather strap with a polished stainless steel buckle to match the finish on its 39.5mm case. Trump received the watch in 2009.
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse
The Ellipse line by Patek Philippe runs parallel to the classic look of the Calatrava despite its different case shape. It was first introduced in 1968, and although it’s not clear how old President Trump’s model is, he is nonetheless believed to own one. Its elliptical-shaped case has made a recent comeback with a dedicated ladies range, yet there is something incredibly captivating about the deep blue dials of the original 60s models. The design is based on the “Golden Ratio,” merging the traditional with the modern and thus exuding a look that differs drastically from Trump’s former Universal Geneve Senna Chronograph.
The vibrant colors on the dial of a Patek Philippe Ellipse watch make up for the fact that the timepieces go without numerals or central second hands. Hence, this is where the modern and minimalist look of the watches blend with Patek’s time-honored manufacturing methods to unite the two concepts together.
Just like the Azad Power Tourbillon, the Golden Ellipse unleashes an unusual look that gets the wrist instantly noticed. Its unconventional appeal was celebrated in 2008 when the first platinum case in the Ellipse line was launched. However, it’s the 18k yellow gold version of the Ellipse that’s believed to belong in Donald Trump’s watch collection.
Looking at the 1960’s timepieces from this line, the models retain a symmetrical form that looks neat and tidy on the wrist for pairing with the majority of Trump’s professional attire. The 18k yellow gold Ellipse watches featured integrated bracelets designed in a fine mesh style. The simple baton markers were developed in matching gold to communicate the time in a simple and straightforward format.
It’s certainly a timeless design to own and one that Trump could easily wear today and still look just as sophisticated while doing so. The Ellipse’s small size and thin profile have been spotted on the President’s wrist on a few occasions, particularly while wearing short-sleeved shirts during the late 90s while attending sports events.
Trump launches his watch collection in 2005
This may be a part of Trump’s career that you were less aware of, but the current President of the United States did launch his very own watch collection back in 2005. The Donald J. Trump Signature Collection only remained in production for a year and contained 20 pieces. Despite Donald Trump’s presence dominating the media every day, there is very little known about some of his non-political developments like this watch collection and his taste in watches.
What we do know is that it’s an incredibly rare assortment of watches. Trump was the first president to create a license for a watch brand under his own name. Some of the designs from his Signature collection borrowed inspirational cues from other well-known watch designs, and others were daring and dynamic in a unique way.
Trump’s Signature watches are basic quartz movements and were sold exclusively in Macy’s. Since the watches only remained in production for a year, it makes each timepiece rather rare. The collection comprised some tonneau-shaped cases – perhaps taking inspiration from the Golden Ellipse he was seen to be wearing just a few years before.
It also featured cushion-shaped square watches and rectangular-shaped watches that took on a similar look to the iconic Tank design by Cartier. The Cartier Tank collection and its sub-collections have never tired of their timeless aesthetics and remain a popular collector’s item. Also belonging to Donald Trump’s Signature watch collection are classic round models with a day, and date feature that nod to a subtle Rolex Day-Date inspired aesthetic, as well as a model that features an off-center main timekeeping dial and a dual time feature. This look is reminiscent of some A. Lange & Sohne models.
Whether they’re to your taste or not, timepieces from the Signature Donald Trump 2005 watch series make for popular collectible items. The Donald endorsed blurb to accompany the collection read, “Using only the highest quality materials, these watches are solid, great-looking and above all, accurate, designed to be on the money every time.” Some believe that Trump’s attempt to borrow classic styles from the famous TAG Heuer Monaco and the Rolex Daytona was a little too ambitious. You can’t deny that some of the collection’s bold designs match Trump’s ego-charged reputation as a President and a businessman.
The election watch
One watch that did catch people’s attention was the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine 1968 watch in pink gold that Trump wore on the election night in 2016. The timepiece was developed in 2010. It’s a particularly understated design for a watch like Trump to stylize on the wrist. In terms of taste, however, it’s a good model since you simply can’t go wrong with a Vacheron Constantin watch. The luxury Swiss watchmaker has created some stunning timepieces equipped with complex mechanisms and a premium price tag over its 265-year heritage.
Despite its unimposing case width of 35.2mm, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine 1968 watch wears larger on the wrist due to its unmistakable square profile. Completed on a glossy black leather strap, its slim 5.5.mm case depth wears incredibly well underneath the cuff of a suit, which explains why it became Donald’s choice of watch for such an important and historical event.
The lugs are an interesting feature on this watch worn by Trump. They gently curve from the bezel to the caseback, creating an almost fluid-like feel which contrasts greatly in comparison to the watch’s crisp geometric lines of its thin square case shape. The silver dial of the Vacheron Constantin Historiques 1968 watch has received a vertical satin grain finish, pierced by polished gold hands and baton indexes that communicate a contemporary charm.
The legendary caliber 1120 fits like a glove inside this ultra-slim wristwatch, measuring just 2.45mm thick. This design, amongst all the watches seen on Trump’s wrist, is the one that you would most likely expect to see adorned to the suit of a President.
US President’s and their Rolex watches
Rolex has a fascinating history with the White House. Not only did a gold Rolex become symbolic of a presidential affair, but the world-famous brand also created the President bracelet crafted only from platinum or 18k gold. Rolex gifted Datejust watches to presidents worldwide, including Winston Churchill and Eisenhower, before WWII. But when the all-gold Day-Date watch was launched, it was marketed as the “Rolex President” and was equipped with the famous three-link President bracelet, which combined the Oyster and the Jubilee design.
By 1951 Rolex has churned out another 150,000 timepieces – those of which were gifted to presidents were personally engraved. The Day-Date model by Rolex was the first to feature a day written out in full on the dial. The first model boasted an indulgent champagne dial framed by a solid gold case.
These expensive models were the perfect fit for the wrist of a president like Kennedy. It’s believed that Rolex did whatever it could to secure a place on Kennedy’s wrist, but the President turned the offer down and was instead spotted with an Omega and Cartier Tank watch donned to his arm.
It was not until the famous Rolex watch was gifted to Kennedy by pin-up star Marilyn Munroe with a personalized name engraving upon it that the luxury watch brand and this President became associated with one another. In fact, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan firmly cemented the ties between Rolex and the White House. And it’s not just the men’s models that are creating a stir throughout the White House. Hilary Clinton was seen sporting a Rolex Lady Datejust in 2016 and is also said to own a gent’s all-gold model complete on a President bracelet.
The Rolex Day-Date
It was a surprise to see Trump, who has long been associated with wearing modest timepieces, with a Rolex strapped to the wrist in recent years. The Rolex Day-Date, aka the President watch, boasts three distinct features in particular that enable it to stand out: the dial, the materials, and the bracelet. We mentioned earlier that it was the first model to feature the day written out in full on the dial.
This feature can be seen at the top of the dial between the hour markers 10 and 1. Maybe the Day-Date is Donald’s choice of the watch because it promises such a clean, uncluttered, and easy-to-reference dial? Or maybe it’s Rolex’s use of precious metals. It’s not clear whether Donald Trump owns the white dial or the champagne dial, but the 18k yellow gold case is easily detectable in photographs.
The semi-circular three-piece links of the Day-Date’s President bracelet are expertly developed at Rolex’s house of manufacture to sit comfortably against the skin, hugging the contours of the wrist. However, there are various Rolex Day-Date watches fitted with Oyster bracelets or a classic leather strap. Given a large number of variations of the Day-Date produced by Rolex, it’s difficult to narrow the model down to any one particular reference worn by Donald Trump. Still, we know that he shares most of the population’s love for this world-renowned manufacturer’s classic and elegant timepieces.
Whether you oppose Donald Trump’s political viewpoints or not, what cannot be denied is that the President has an interesting horological back history that remains an uncovered topic. There are still so many things we don’t know about Trump’s watch collection.
Some of the timepieces he has stylized on the wrist can’t be clearly identified, and many are a result of speculation and guesswork. We know that his tastes range from the bold and sporty to the classic and understated.
He has been seen with delicate dress watches adorned to the wrist as well as promoting his own range of timepieces inspired by one of TAG Heuer’s most famous watch lines. He doesn’t stick to one particular case shape or material. As we’ve already noted (if he stands by the values of his exclusive Signature watch collection), he also doesn’t show a particular preference between an automatic or quartz watch.
One of the most interesting facts to note about President Trump’s choice in watches is that he opted against the Rolex for his presidential campaign. Was his choice in dress code tactical? Or merely a matter of personal taste at the time? Instead, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques 1968 watch we covered earlier took pride of place on the wrist – the same timepiece that made an appearance in his inauguration.
Maybe we’ve seen the famous Rolex Day-Date retire until Trump’s time in the office comes to an end? Either way, the next addition to his collection could take an unexpected twist since his taste in watches is so varied. We know Trump is a fan of the tonneau-shaped watch, and just this year, we’ve seen some new iterations from Hublot’s futuristic Spirit of Big Bang watch collection.
Will a timepiece like Hublot’s new barrel-shaped Meca-10 watch be seen on the President’s wrist next? Or are we likely to catch a glimpse of him wearing something like the Vacheron Constantin Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin? A model like this could combine the skeletonized dial that he once opted for in the Azad Power Tourbillon watch with a thin 18k rose gold case, as seen in his election watch. We’ll keep watching over the next few years to see if Trump unveils a new favorite watch to his already-growing eclectic mix of traditional and modern timepieces.