Press

28 March 2006

JFK’s Omega Ultra Thin Wristwatch

On the 16 December 2005 Omega acquired the original 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 was auctioned by Guernsey’s in New York from 15 to 17 December 2005. This unique and historic piece was bought for the Omega Museum at 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.

In 1960, Grant Stockdale presented to his friend John F. Kennedy an Omega ‘Ultra Thin’ wristwatch. 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 given him.

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, on the 20 January 1961, he wore this Omega and a photograph was published in LIFE magazine which prominently showed this watch on Kennedy’s wrist. The President continued to wear it and whenever he would see Stockdale he would make a point of showing him that he was wearing his Omega, which he had nicknamed ‘the Stockdale watch’.

This Omega Ultra Thin wristwatch (2mm calibre) is in 18 carat gold on a black leather strap. The verso of the strap has the word ‘Omega’ and symbol stamped in gold. The watch was also personalised with the following inscription on the case back: “President of the United States John F. Kennedy from his friend Grant”.

This unique historical timepiece is now part of the Collection at the Omega Museum.  The museum was created in December 1983 to illustrate and perpetuate the historical highlights of the famous Swiss brand through the collection, preservation, maintenance, protection and exhibition of objects, documents and accounts related to the company and its activities. It has a remarkable collection of some 4000 watches, movements, clocks, instruments, tools, photos, engravings, posters, signs, awards and certificates. The Omega Museum is located in Biel, Switzerland.

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