Friday, July 11, 2008

The History of The Rolex President [Part 8]

The Eisenhower Legacy

Dwight Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890 and was raised on a small midwest farm. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex was born a decade earlier in Bavaria in 1881, and died in 1960–the same year Eisenhower completed his very successful Presidency.

Hans Wilsdorf must have spent most of his life feeling like an outsider, but when Eisenhower accepted his gift of the 150,000th Officially Certified Rolex Chronometer and went on to become the President of the United States, Hans Wilsdorf must have felt complete satisfaction with his life achievements. 

Dwight Eisenhower perhaps best embodied and was the personification of the Rolex ideal–an extremely high achiever that was sturdy, robust, timely, charismatic, sporty, clean-cut, timeless, bold, tasteful, good, wholesome, compassionate, worldly, simple, handsome, gentlemanly, bold, cosmopolitan and artistic, with military precision.

Dwight D Eisenhower pictured above in his graduation photo from Abilene High School in 1909.

Eisenhower was an athlete and member on the West Point football team in 1912. 

Dwight is pictured above with his wife Mamie Eisenhower.

Dwight Eisenhower was the only President to serve in the military in both World War I and World War II.

Eisenhower is pictured below on the right with his wife Mamie and her father on the left. Ike is looking pretty GQ , clean-cut and timeless. Style-wise the photo almost looks like it could have been taken today.

The photo above was taken at the beginning of World War II when Eisenhower was a one star General. The photo below shows Eisenhower with his second star.

The photos of Eisenhower were taken prior to D-Day.

The photo below was taken in 1944 as Eisenhower was inspecting the USS Quincy in May of 1944.

The American Military high command of World War II is pictured below. The original caption on the image reads, "This is the brass that did it." Pictured, standing from left to right are Generals Ralph Stearley, Hoyt Vandenberg, Walder Bedell Smith, Otto Weyland and Richard Nugent. Seated from left to right are Generals, William Simpson, George Patton, Carl Spaatz, Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, Courtney Hodges and Leanoard Gerow.

The photo below is of Ike exploring in war-torn Warsaw, Poland.

The photo below is of Eisenhower when he returned to Washington D.C. in 1945.

After NATO Supreme Commander, Dwight Eisenhower returned from his successful crusade in Europe he ran for the President of the United States as the Republican candidate. Norman Rockwell painted this famous portrait of Eisenhower.

President Eisenhower is pictured above with Queen Elizabeth of England at a White House Banquet in 1957. President Eisenhower is wearing the Merit of British Order of Merit that King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded to him after World War II.

President Eisenhower is pictured above with Queen Elizabeth in 1959 at the dedication of the St. Lawence Seaway.

President Eisenhower is pictured above with World Heavyweight Champion Archie Moore.

Picture above from left to right are baseball legend, "Joltin" Joe Dimaggio, President Eisenhower and Boxer, Rock Marciano.

President Eisenhower is pictured above with Civil Rights Leader and Reverend, Martin Luther King.

President Eisenhower is pictured above welcoming Crown Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia to the White House for talks on the Middle East. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles is pictured in the center.

Ike is pictured above with U.S. President Elect, John F. Kennedy.

Eisenhower is pictured above advising President Lyndon Johnson. 

Eisenhower is picture with future presidents, Ronald Reagan above and George Bush below.

After his Presidency, Dwight Eisenhower retired to his farm in Gettysburg where he spent a great deal of time on his famous pastime–painting.

Dwight Eisenhower died at the age of 78 in 1969. It is arguable Dwight Eisenhower achieved more in his life than any other man ever has or will. As a U.S. General he saved the world from Nazi tyranny. As the Supreme Commander of NATO he oversaw the rebuilding of Europe.

Eisenhower is considered to be one of the top 10 President's in American History. He was responsible for building the U.S. Interstate system which he based on the German Autobahn. He ended the Korean War, and kept the U.S. out of any new wars. Fiscally, he left the U.S. with a balanced budget.

Under Eisenhower's superb leadership through the 1950s America prospered like it never had before. The Baby boom got under way, and Eisenhower oversaw much successful legislation like setting up the Small Business Administration (SBA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and introduced his own civil rights bill to the Congress and enforced the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

I almost forgot to mention, Eisenhower wore his beloved Rolex Datejust all the time and probably played a great role in Rolex being perceived as a watch worn by successful leaders and high achievers.

All in all, Dwight Eisenhower was a low-key, understated gentleman of the highest order. More than anything Eisenhower embodied the notion that it takes great strength to be gentle.

Upon Eisenhower's death the U.S. Mint placed his bust on the silver dollar.

On of the strangest parts of the Eisenhower legacy is his warning to the American people during his farewell speech. It is the strangest, most bizarre fact that the most successful American General in modern history, the man who saved the world from tyranny would warn the American People about the dangers of the Defense Establishment and the American Military Complex.

Exactly what he was talking about is not clear to me, but I imagine he was forecasting the Vietnam conflict and perhaps, the Iraq conflict. You can decide for yourself:

In part 9 we will explore the Mystery of the JFK Rolex President...

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