News

16 December 2005

JFK’s Omega Wristwatch acquired for the Omega Museum

Bienne – Omega is proud to announce that it has acquired the Omega wristwatch that once belonged to former US President John F. Kennedy. This watch was part of The Robert White Collection - the world’s largest privately owned collection relating to JFK’s life and career – which is being auctioned by Guernsey’s in New York from 15 to 17 December 2005. This unique and historic piece was bought for 350’000 USD, the highest bid of the auction’s first day.

The unrivalled Robert White Collection is known to collectors all around the world and touches on virtually every aspect of John F. Kennedy’s life. Truly impressive in size, it includes items from his childhood to his marriage to Jacqueline and from his early political aspirations to his mounting successes first as a Congressman, then Senator and finally, President of the United States.

This exclusive and extraordinary auction includes artefacts such as the passports used by Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy in the early 1950s, two of JFK’s White House rocking chairs, JFK’s Red, White and Blue “Hotline” Telephone, his sailboat, Flash II, his monogrammed leather wallet … and last but not least JFK’s Omega wristwatch.

In 1960, Grant Stockdale presented to his friend John F. Kennedy an Omega ‘Ultra Thin’ wristwatch , in 18 carat gold. At that time, he was not yet President of the United States. In a letter addressed to Grant that same year, Jacqueline Kennedy expressed her deepest thanks for this ‘thinnest most elegant wristwatch’ mentioning how thrilled JFK was about it and how ‘promptly he took off the chunky little one’ she had once given him. The watch was personalised with the following inscription on the case back:

“President of the United States John F. Kennedy from his friend Grant”

On 8 November 1960, John F. Kennedy at 43 years of age became the youngest man ever elected to the office of President of the United States of America. At his Inauguration Ceremony, he wore his Omega and a photograph was published in LIFE magazine which prominently showed this watch on Kennedy’s wrist. The President continued to wear the watch and whenever he would see Stockdale he would make a point of showing him that he was wearing the watch, which he nicknamed ‘the Stockdale watch’.

This historic wristwatch will be exhibited in Omega Flagship Boutiques around the world, before taking pride of place in the Omega Museum in Switzerland.

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