The watches of Donald Trump
Watch & Bullion6 September 2018 | 5 min read
Born in the New York City borough of Queens on 14th June 1946, with an economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania and married three times, he has made several cameo appearances in films and TV shows, is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. He is also in the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. Despite having an estimated net worth exceeding $3 billion, his hotel and casino businesses had to file for bankruptcy on six occasions between 1991 and 2009, and he has even briefly flirted with producing his own line of watches.
For anyone who happened to miss the title of this particular article for some reason and and is wondering whom “he” might be, the fact that he is the 45th President of the U.S.A will certainly help you identify a certain Donald John Trump.
Surprisingly for a man so frequently in the public eye there is very little known about Mr Trump’s preferences when it comes to his favourite watch brands. Unfortunately, President Trump is not a man who makes it easy to identify what watches he wears, due to his penchant for extra-long shirt cuffs which obscure his wrists from public view most of the time!
We are going to try and shed a little light on what timepieces (arguably) the most powerful man on the globe favours, as well as highlighting one or two marques he may well regret having been linked with over the years.
Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine
During the Presidential election campaign, Donald Trump was seen wearing a Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine 1968 in pink gold. The company was formed way back in 1755 in Geneva and reportedly includes Napoleon Bonaparte amongst its patrons. The square watch case of the Ultra-Fine 1968 measures in at incredibly thin 5.4mm and watch is powered by the Caliber 1120 automatic movement. Trump even wore this Vacheron Constantin watch on election night itself in 2016, making it probably the watch most identified with the current leader of the free world.
Patek Philippe Ellipse
Established in 1851, the Swiss based watch-makers Patek Philippe have a well-established reputation amongst the elite of fine watch manufactures, so it should be of little surprise that they would appeal to Mr Trump.
Indeed, of the few pictures of the President in “relaxed” mode, most appear to show him wearing a Patek Philippe Ellipse in yellow gold with an integrated bracelet and blue dial. The Ellipse is a small, ultra-thin dress watch with a rather unique design in that the case is shaped to appear to be neither circular nor square. This design has become a cult classic and is the second oldest in the Patek range having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The latest versions have been up-sized to give them a more contemporary feel whilst retaining their traditional elegance, although the model Trump sports is considerably older having been seen in public before the turn of the millennium.
Rolex are the most recognised watch brand in the world, so again why wouldn’t one of the most recognised men in the world own at least one?
Whilst it is clear that President Trump owns a Rolex, specifically (and perhaps ironically) a Rolex with a President bracelet, what is not clear is which specific version Donald Trump wears. Pictures of Mr Trump with a gold coloured Rolex show the “Cyclops” eye, pointing to either a Day-Date or Datejust model and the President bracelet pins it down to being a Day-Date model but beyond that little is known, even the colour of the dial being a matter of speculation. Given the number of variations Rolex have produced, and the longevity of Rolex watches in general it is very hard to narrow down the suspects entirely.
At the “Famous Faces” auction hosted by Antiqourum & Tournau in New York in 1999 Donald Trump perhaps gave a hint of things to come when he bid $7,000 for former President Ronald Reagan’s Colibri watch. Colibri themselves were formed in 1928 and are perhaps more renowned for producing lighters than watches. They did famously construct the “Golden Gun” from a Moletric 88 lighter for a certain 1974 Bond film but did not diversify into timepieces to any great extent before the 1980’s. Trump reportedly rarely wears his Colibri watch, so presumably purchased it more as a collector’s piece.
Senna by Universal Geneve
At the same auction where he acquired President Reagan’s Colibri, Mr Trump donated his Senna by Universal Geneve Chronograph. The watch was launched by Universal Geneve in 1998 in collaboration with the Ayrton Senna’s family to celebrate Senna’s legacy with proceeds going to the F1 driver’s foundation for underprivileged children. The watch Mr Trump donated was an 18 carat yellow gold chronograph with day/date function and COSC rated movement, Ref 198.310.
Azad Power Tourbillon
This watch was gifted to Trump in 2009 by Azad, the the sponsors of the Celebrity Apprentice Season Finale Party. (Yes, really) The watch itself being a limited edition of the Azad Power Tourbillon in stainless steel with a case measuring approximately 39.5mm by 37mm and retailing at $9,950. The watch features a skeleton case front and back and boasts up to 42 hours of power reserve. Azad also offer Gem customisation on request, should you so wish. The publicity photos taken at the time appear awkward at best and there is little evidence to suggest President Trump has ever worn the watch since.
The most notable aspect of Mr Trump’s collection my well be what appears to be missing from it. In 2005 he launched the Donald J Trump Signature Collection of watches, a selection of 20 models “inspired” by iconic brands such as Rolex and TAG Heuer which were sold exclusively by Macy’s. Given his predilection for self-advertisement and branding everything in sight with his name, one would be forgiven for thinking these watches would be amongst his go-to pieces. Perhaps the fact that the brand utilised cheap quartz movements and was withdrawn after only a year meant he was unable to get his hands on any before they were snapped up by eager collectors?