Attending official engagements and travelling with some of the most powerful men in the world, American first ladies have played important roles in history over the years, dressing and accessorising impeccably as they assume their duties.
Nancy Reagan campaigned against teenage drug abuse dressed in vibrant skirt suits and gold necklaces while Michelle Obama promoted healthy school lunches and got her hands dirty planting vegetables in the White House garden dressed in jeans and trainers – when she wasn’t sporting political jewellery.
But what about their watches? Here, we take a look at the watches that accompany these powerful women, whether they’re attending a state dinner or picking tomatoes.
Like many first ladies that the White House has seen over the years, the soon-to-be first lady Jill Biden is a fan of Cartier watches – particularly rectangular ones. She has been spotted wearing two of the watchmaker’s iconic geometrical designs.
In recent months, she has frequently been seen wearing a Panthère de Cartier in yellow gold. The bracelet watch features a small square dial and looks as great paired with jeans and a T-shirt as it does with a dress.
The professor also owns a Cartier Tank watch – but she seems to favour the Panthère, which was her watch of choice on the campaign trail in 2020.
Aside from being a former model, Melania Trump was also a businesswoman before she entered the White House in 2017, making her own fortune selling her branded watch and jewellery designs on shopping channels. But when it comes to her own timepieces, she prefers luxury Swiss brands.
Like her husband President Donald Trump, Melania is a fan of Vacheron Constantin. It’s no surprise she owns a reference that is maxed out in diamonds; the Kalla Duchesse features a tonneau-shaped case that, along with the dial and bracelet, is completely drenched in diamonds.
For more casual outings, Melania has been spotted wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso with a steel bracelet.
A Cartier Tank Française with a steel bracelet is Michelle Obama’s watch of choice. She’s travelled the world wearing this piece to numerous official engagements. It’s no surprise she favours the this watch – the design is classic and its stainless steel body is durable. This watch can withstand all types of abuses – like getting muddied in the White House organic vegetable garden – and can be cleaned up in minutes to take on other more formal first lady duties.
Former presidential hopeful and ex-first lady Hillary Clinton’s taste in watches reflected her politician ambitions. Clinton’s watch is a Rolex, a brand with a long history in the Oval Office. The watchmaker’s Day-Date model was dubbed “the president’s watch” when it was seen on the wrist of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Clinton’s reference is a 26mm steel and yellow gold Lady-Datejust.
Other watches in Clinton’s collection include a white ceramic J12 watch from Chanel.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Style icon Jackie O has defined classic American dressing for generations. Always elegant, it’s no surprise this former first lady was drawn to a timepiece design that has stood the test of time. A watch she wore time and time again was the Cartier Tank. Hers was a yellow gold piece with a black leather strap – it doesn’t get any more classic than this.
In 2017, her watch made its way to a Christie’s New York auction. It’s rumoured Kim Kardashian bought the piece for US$379,500.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.