Ike Likes Rolex
Rarely in history has a General become the President of the United States. Of course, it happened with the venerable George Washington, and Ulysses Grant–but it is rare.
Most American's believed at the time that General Dwight Eisenhower had saved them and the rest of the world with his adroit strategy behind the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.
General Eisenhower is pictured above talking with paratroopers of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division just before their departure for Normandy, France on June 5, 1944.
General Eisenhower is pictured above with Mayor Fiorello La Guardia of New York City in a World War II Victory reception.
President Harry Truman is pictured above bestowing an Oak Leaf Cluster decoration on General Eisenhower for his Distinguished Service, while Eisenhower's wife Mamie watches.
The painting above is the official Eisenhower Chief of staff portrait.
In order to best understand the times–so we can develop real and meaningful context–let's go back to 1952 and have a look around. The Baby Boom started in 1952 and Jonas Salk, invented the Polio Vaccine, the U.S. Senate ratified the peace treaty with Japan, The Diary of Anne Frank was published, remains of a Viking ship were found off the coast of Boston, Massachusetts and King Farouk of Egypt abdicated to Nasser.
King George VI of England died on February 6, 1952. He had come to the throne following the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. George was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth II was proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom at Saint James Palace, in London England. At the same time, Prime Minister, Winston Churchill announced that England had successfully developed an atomic bomb.
In the world of American entertainment, Gary Cooper won the Academy Award for best Actor in the western High Noon which costarred Grace Kelly, The African Queen, Singin' in the Rain, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro based on Earnest Hemingway's book are top hits in movie theaters.
In the 1950s Cowboy Movies known as Westerns were extremely popular, and President Eisenhower used to love to eat TV Dinners in the White House for dinner while he would watch a Western.
Marylyn Monroe is becoming a superstar.
TV is in its infancy and I Love Lucy and Dragnet are top rated shows.
Frank Sinatra is making his big comeback and marries Ava Gardner.
The top game show is "You Bet Your Life" with Groucho Marx, and the Today show made its premiere in 1952.
Nat King Cole's song, Unforgettable is the top hit in the U.S.
Nat King Cole is pictured below with his lovely daughter, Natalie Cole.
Elvis and the Beatles are all little kids. The top two books are Steinbeck's, East of Eden, and Ernest Hemingway's "The Man and the Sea."
The United Nations begins work on the new United Nations building in New York City, and U.S. President, Harry Truman announces he will not seek reelection.
Dwight Eisenhower decides to run for President of the United States, with Richard Nixon as his Vice Presidential running candidate. Ike's popularity is higher than ever and American's not only like Ike, but they trust him. The Eisenhower campaign came up with the highly memorable and simple alliterative slogan, "I like Ike."
Ike is more popular than ever and appears on the cover of Life Magazine four times in 1952. The first photo below is of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower's wedding photo.
The main reason I went into so much detail about 1952 is to help you realize what a huge achievement it
was at the time for Rolex to have the man who would potentially be the most powerful man in the planet wearing their flagship model Rolex Datejust.
As always, click on the letters below to be able to read them full size.
Update on the letter above: James Dowling, co-author of "The Best of Time, Rolex Wristwatches, An unauthorized History" pointed out that "Eisenhower's Rolex was a 4467 Datejust, which was essentially a bubbleback and was completely different from the robust movements being made today."
I agree 100% with James Dowling, and I have played golf while wearing Rolex watches and doing so has never caused any challenges. It is important to keep in mind that the Rolex Eisenhower wore was made 60 years ago and Rolex has come a very long way since then.
John Eisenhower is picture above in uniform with his wife on the far left, his mother Mamie on the right and his father, Dwight Eisenhower on the far right. In the photo below, you can see Dwight Eisenhower's son, John Eisenhower wearing his Yellow Gold Rolex Datejust.
As mentioned in the letters above, Dwight Eisenhower was a golf fanatic as you can see in the photos below.
The photo below of Dwight Eisenhower practicing with his grandson is one of my favorite photos of Ike.
The photo of Dwight Eisenhower on the cover of Life Magazine that Rene is referring to in his letter above, is pictured below.
General Ridgeway is pictured below on the cover of Time Life Magazine.
In the May 1st, 1952 NATO photo below from left to right: Departing SACEUR U.S. General Lauris Norstad shaking hands with newly appointed SACEUR, U.S. General Mathew B. Ridgeway. Ridgeway served as Head is this position from May 1952 to 1953.
In the Image below, General Matthew Ridgeway is walking with U.S. President, Ronald Reagan at the Bitburg Cemetery in the Federal Republic of Germany on May 5, 1985.
The photo above was taken at the 1952 Republican Convention in Chicago, Illinois on July 11, 1952. Of course, Eisenhower is wearing his beloved Rolex Datejust. In the photo below, taken at the same convention, Vice Presidential Candidate Richard Nixon is pictured on the left of Eisenhower and Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren is pictured on the right as they watch TV.
In the photo below of Dwight Eisenhower with his wife Mamie taken at the Republican Convention, Ike is wearing his Rolex Datejust and I believe Mamie is wearing a ladies Rolex.
In Part 4 we will see Ike win the U.S. Presidency and learn more about his Rolex.