Friday, January 20, 2017

The Rolex President: New Rolex President History

The Rolex President

New Rolex President History Discovered

I am writing this story just after President Trump was officially sworn in as the Next President Of The United States. The Inauguration parade is just about to begin, so I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to share a new piece of the Rolex President history that was previously unknown.  President Eisenhower was the first known U.S. President to wear a Rolex. Specifically, he wore a yellow gold Rolex Datejust that was given to him as a gift from Rolex in 1948, when he was the Supreme Commander of NATO in Europe. Eisenhower's Rolex was no ordinary Rolex—it was the 150,000 Officially Certified Swiss Chronometer made by Rolex.

In the photo below we see the inauguration of U.S. President,  John F. Kennedy which took place on January 20, 1961. In the photo we see outgoing President, Dwight Eisenhower sitting next to Kennedy, and we see incoming Vice President, Lyndon Johnson, sitting next to future president Richard Nixon.

U.S. President Johnson was the first known U.S. President to wear a Rolex Day-Date, which became known as the Rolex President.

There is a mystery as to when President Johnson first began wearing his Rolex Day-Date, and where it came from? Today I intend to solve that mystery. The photos above and below were taken on December 18, 1964. The photos were taken of President Johnson just after he was sworn-in as the President of the United States, and they were taken during the Presidential Inauguration Parade, which typically takes place after the swearing-in ceremony. To my knowledge these are the very first photos of President Johnson wearing his Rolex Day-Date.

In this next photo of the Presidential Parade Box, we see Texas Governor, John Connally, who by the way, was seated in JFK's limo, when he was assassinated in Dallas Texas, a year before this photo was taken. What a coincidence!?!! We also see Vice President, Hubert Humphrey pictured on the far right.

The photos below, of President Lyndon B. Johnson were taken in the White House Yellow Room, in Washington D.C. after the Inauguration Parade on December 18, 1964. This first image below is the first official Presidential Portrait of Lyndon Johnson.

Obviously we see Lyndon Johnson wearing his yellow gold Rolex Day-Date in these Presidential Portraits taken the day he took oath as The President. One question that comes to mind, is, where did he get the Rolex Day-Date, and why was he wearing it? In 2008, I interviewed Rolex Executive T. Walker Lloyd, who told me Rolex Director Rene-Paul Jeanneret was friends with Lyndon Johnson and spent time on President Johnson's ranch in Texas. 

As a matter of fact, T. Walker Lloyd told me Rene-Paul Jeanneret  told him a funny story about how he was seated in the back of a convertible Lincoln Continental on Johnson's Texas ranch. President Johnson was driving the Lincoln at 90 miles an hour down an unpaved dirt road. That is a pretty funny image if you think about it. Imagine President Johnson driving his convertible down a dirt road at 90 miles an hour with the head of Rolex Geneva in the back seat!!!

I don't know this to be a fact, but I believe it is likely the Rolex Day-Date was a gift from Rolex to President Johnson. Today a Rolex Day-Date retails for tens of thousands of dollars. Back in 1964, the same watch sold for around $1000.

The Rolex ad seen below was published in 1966, and is clearly based upon the fact that the American President Johnson wore a Rolex.

The photo below shows President Johnson and his wife Lady-Bird Johnson entertaining then California Governor, Ronald Reagan with his wife Nancy Reagan. Both men wore Rolex watches.

In the photo below we see President Johnson conferring with former U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower of course, was the first known U.S. President to wear a Rolex watch while in office.

It Doesn't Just Tell Time. It Tells History.

"Why this watch? This watch is witness. To words that moved nations. It's dared men faster. further. Worn by luminaries. Visionaries. Champions. It doesn't Just tell time. It tells History.

A recent Rolex ad campaign slogan says, "It doesn't just tell time. It tells history." I can think of no other Rolex where this statement would be more true with, than with President Eisenhower's Rolex Datejust.

In the photo below taken on January 20, 1953 we see outgoing U.S. President, Harry Truman in the back of the Presidential Limousine with President Elect, Dwight Eisenhower as they leave for Eisenhower's inauguration. In this photo we get a clear shot of President Eisenhower's Rolex Datejust jubilee bracelet.

In the photo below taken under the White House portico, we see, then Senator Hubert Humphrey in the presidential limousine turned around looking at outgoing U.S. President Truman.

A Crowning Achievement for Rolex

On July 21, 1952, Dwight Eisenhower appeared on the cover of LIFE Magazine, wearing his yellow gold Rolex Datejust, which must have blown the mind of all Rolex executives, including Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf. Rolex had officially arrived as the world-wide horological leader...

Rolex promised never to commercialize the fact President Eisenhower wore a Rolex, which is a promise they kept. However, this did not keep them from being extremely proud of this achievement, which resulted in the following ad campaign that began in 1956 titled, "Men who guide the destinies of the world wear Rolex watches."

1956 Rolex President's Watch Ad

Men Who Guide The Destinies Of The World Wear Rolex Watches

1957 Rolex President's Watch Ad

Men Who Guide The Destinies Of The World Wear Rolex Watches

President Trump Inauguration Speech

The video below features President Trumps Inauguration speech he gave today at noon EST.

President Donald Trump is pictured below with his daughter Ivanka, and notice he is wearing his yellow gold Rolex Day-Date, also known as The Rolex President.