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Watches worn by top Politicians and Billionaires

 

Have you ever wondered how your taste in horological finesse compares to the leaders of the world? Ever pondered how much the super-rich spend on their timepieces? Well thanks to watchuseeks forum ‘tracking celebrities and what watches they are wearing’ you can find out. Below is some of the most interesting pieces of horological data from the past several years worth of posts.

 The table below shows the watches that various key politicians from around the world have been seen wearing. It is interesting to note that the most expensive watches belong to the leaders of some of the world's poorest countries. It is also interesting to see that Socialist politicians such as the French President Hollande and the Greek Prime Minister Tsipras stick to their principles by wearing fairly affordable timepieces.

Note: there is no record of Donald Trump wearing one of his signature watches. I thought it would be interesting to add it to the list.

 

 

President Mbasogo of the Republic of the Equatorial Guinea wears a $65000 Rolex Oyster Date. The GDP per capita of Equatorial Guinea is $1214. That means it would take a whopping 19543 days (over 53 years!) for an average worker in Equatorial Guinea to earn enough to buy their President's watch. How long would it take for workers earning the average wage in other countries take to buy their leaders watch?

 

 

Obviously it is a big year in US politics; but what watches are top US politicians wearing? I very much doubt that Donald Trump wears one of his own watches, but he is the only US politician on the list (or at all?) who has/had his own watch brand.

 This bar chart compares the prices of various politicians involved in the US Presidential elections this November. Unsurprisingly, Sanders frugal but practical Citizen is the cheapest.

 

The movers and shakers of the world aren't always political leaders. According to Forbes there are 1810 dollar billionaires in the world in 2016. Some are on the politicians list above; Ondimba of Gabon is estimated to be worth $1bn and it has been suggested that Putin is worth close to $50bn. For billionaires who are not in charge of their countries; is their wealth reflected in their choice of watch?  

 

As you can see there isn't necessary a connection between their wealth and the price of their watch. Super rich tech entrepreneurs seem to prefer cheaper, practical models, with Mark Zuckerburg not wearing any watch at all.

 

Lufbery- History of the Pilot Watch

Cartier Santos 1904

 The first pilot watch was created in 1904 by Louis Cartier for his Brazilian aviator friend Alberto Santos -Dumont. Santos had trouble checking the time on his pocket watch so asked his friend Cartier to create a watch he could use whilst flying. The Cartier ‘Santos’ has the distinction of being one of the first wristwatches and pilots watches. You can buy a Cartier ‘Santos’ centenary watch.

 

Cartier Santos

 

Bleriot’s Zenith 1909

 One of the first superstars of aviation was Louis Blériot who became the first man to fly across the English Channel. Blériot claimed the £1000 prize by flying over the 31 miles of steel grey water in 40 minutes, sometimes reaching the dizzy height of 300 feet. Strapped to Blériot’s wrist was a specially made Zenith watch which had two hallmarks of future pilot watches: over- sized Arabic numerals and a luminous dial. Of the Zenith, Blériot said, “I am very satisfied with the Zenith watch, which I usually use, and I cannot recommend it too highly to people who are looking for precision.” In 1939 Zenith launched the Zenith Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 to honour Blériot’s achievements

 

Montre d’Aéronef Type 20

 

 

The Mark IV (1914) and Mark V (1916)

 As the First World War raged over northern France and Belgium the British Army issued the pilots of the Royal Flying Corps pocket watches which were durable and accurate enough to be reliable in combat situations. These were the world’s first pilot watches issued by the military. The watches were made by the top watch manufacturers of London and Geneva, but they all carried the nondescript name ‘Mark IV’ and after 1916 ‘Mark V’. So prized were the watches that they were the only piece of equipment that pilots were ordered to save if their plane crashed. The Lufbery design is inspired by these pocket watches.

Mark IV

 

 B-Uhr 1935

 During the mid-1930’s Adolf Hitler began rearming Germany. Although banned from doing so under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles the Nazis began building their air-force from scratch. The military high command knew that if the Luftwaffe was going to be an effective fighting force they would need a watch that was so legible that it could be read in any conditions and under any circumstance. The RLM (Reichs-Luftfahrtministerium), the organisation in charge of aircraft development, was given the task of creating a watch that could be successfully used by pilots, engineers and bombers on night missions. The B-Uhr was the watch they created. At 55mm and using a pocket watch mechanism the B-Uhr was perfect for the levels of visibility you get at 30000 feet at 3am.

 

B- Uhr 1935

 

 

RAF Omega Watch 1940

During the dark days of WW2 the RAF ordered thousands of Omega watches as they were seen as durable enough to survive the conditions pilots and bombers endured. Originally the watches were supplied in a high quality nickel cases, but as the War dragged on and money ran out the cases were replaced with cheaper alloys.

 

Omega 1940