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Dictators and their Wristwatches

castro rolex laughing

When looking at the most influential people in human history, a good wristwatch is a common companion. Whether worn as a reliable timepiece, used as a symbol of power, or the product of simple appreciation for their horological beauty, today we analyse the wristwatches of 4 Dictators!


  • Muammar Al GadaffiDuring his reign, Muammar Al Gadaffi was the richest man in the world. Following his death in 2011 people have traced assets worth around 200 billion $ to the former Libyan dictator. Such immense wealth was the result of uncontested control over Africans largest oil reserves for over  40 years.


Gadaffi Daytona


As was largely popular in the Middle East during the 1970s and 1980s, men of influence liked to make large orders for big brands like Rolex. The watches received where personalised in-house and used as tokens of goodwill, given out to close associates and friends. Gadaffi chose a Daytona with a panda dial, his signature in a contrasting signal red.

  • Hafez al-AssadBashar al-Assad is one of the most well-known men alive, but necessary for the best of reasons. His position as dictator of Syria has however been carefully built up by the man before him, his father Hafez al-Assad. Hafez was during his time one of the most powerful men himself and was the president of Syria from 1971 to 2000.


hafez al assad rolex sea dweller


Hafez was known to be watch enthusiasts. One of his most famous watches was a Rolex Sea-Dweller ref 1665 which he wore it for several years, before gifting it on Ramadan 1979 to his personal chef. Again it is a red inscription that decorates the dial and makes the watch stand out.


  • Fidel CastroAs ironic as the image of a communist leader wearing a Rolex may be, Fidel Castro is one of the most famous unofficial ambassadors of the Swiss luxury brand. Castro’s claim to fame and power was based on the leading role he took in the 26th of July Movement, which overthrew the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in 1959. Following the revolution he imposed a one-party communist government, installing himself as head of the country for the next 49 years.


fidel castro two


Not only his life was interesting though, but he had a taste in watches to match. While it is fairly well known that he liked Rolex, just how much is not something everyone is aware of. That was because Castro not only owned two Rolex, one Submariner and one GMT-Master but whats wore them at the same time, on the same wrist.


  • Saddam HusseinSaddam Hussein was one of the leading players of the coup of 1968, also known as the 17th July revolution, which put the Ba’ath party to power in Iraq. Through carefully thought out political as well as military moves supported by oil money, he established his authority in Iraq for several years before finally officially taking office as President of Iraq in 1979. He held office until the American invasion of 2003 after which Hussein was captured, and sentenced to death by hanging in 2006.


saddam hussein patek ellipse 3746g


Hussein was known for his preference for Patek Philippe dress watches, resulting from his friendship with the Stern family. The watch most commonly connected to him was an Ellipse 3746G featuring his signature in Arabic and the Iraqi flag.