This is probably the most popular watch of 2009 – even around the world. It is the main watch that President Barack Obama wears, and has worn since before he was elected President of the US. Obama received the watch for his 46th birthday by the Secret Service in August of 2007. He’s been seen countless times wearing the watch, while in public, conducting state business, and during his personal time. It is a curious thing that what was such an obscure brand of special order corporate gift watches, is now almost a major brand. But like many have stated, you cannot buy better publicity than this – for the promotion of Jorg Gray makes sense. Obama did, in an almost random manner, receive the watch, but he has chosen to wear it proudly almost continually since. As you can imagine this fact has done wonders for watch maker Jorg Gray, who has now launched a brand new full line of watches. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with them and have myself acquired the famed “President Barack Obama watch.” So here is my take on the timepiece that is seen on the most powerful person in the world. You too, can own the President’s watch.
A key difference between this model and the version that Obama has is the lack of the Secret Service logo on it. Only a few select models held the Secret Service logo, and they quickly sold out from the Secret Service’s gift shop. You may still be able to get them there, but I wouldn’t venture to Washington DC just for the chance. The Secret Service didn’t want the logo being on the special watches being made to fulfill the demand for the Barack Obama watch – it was just not the purpose the intended for their branded watches. I understand their perspective, but it would have been cool to have a true copy of what Obama has – a minor point though. Another difference is the message on the rear of the watch that is laser etched into the caseback. You can read the text in the image, but the gist of it is that it details the watch as being a Barack H. Obama commemorative edition watch. The important part here is the unique serial number. It is very rare for watches in this price range, 0r this volume of production for that matter, to have unique identifiers. It is a nice touch for a collector’s watch, and something Jorg Gray is proud to tell you.
The watch itself is styled mainly after traditional aviator watches. This is seen in the hands, hour indicators, and contrast of black and white colors. You’ll notice the 12 o’clock marker as being that of the “typical” pilot watch. The aviation style is subdued a bit to make for the subdials and the addition of the text on the dial. The hands could be a bit bigger, but legibility is overall good. The hour and minute indicators are ample, and there is a helpful sloped chapter ring around the dial with additional markers. The chapter ring actually has more markers than necessary given the functionality of the chronograph, but it cosmetically enhances the look of the watch. Inside the watch is a 60 minute Japanese Miyota chronograph quartz movement (with date). Miyota is Citizen watch’s movement maker. The layout of the subdials not exactly what you would think. Ordinarily one subdial would used for the main dial’s seconds, and the other two for the chronograph, while the large seconds hand on the dial is used for the chronograph. Here, only one subdial is used for the chronograph. The other (aside from the subsidiary seconds at 6 o’ clock) is a synchronized 24 hour hand. This means that all 60 minutes that are possible to be measured are placed in one small dial. The problem is that the dial only has indicators each 5 minutes – so if you want precision you sort of need to eye it – you can have to just make out what the chronograph reads between each 5 minute marker. Not the end of the world, but this is not the watch for people who need a precise reading chronograph timepiece. For most people, the synchronized 24 hour hand is more useful. A tasteful addition to the watch is the red subsidiary seconds hand, as well as the red tip to the chronograph seconds hand.
The hour markers on the black colored dial as well as the hands have luminant. It isn’t the strongest lume, but it suffices for most near darkness viewing. A curious part of the watch is the style of the mineral crystal. It is slightly domed, which creates a mild lens affect (not sure if this was an intentional part of the design). It also has an anti-reflective coating that you can tell because light sometimes reflects blue against the crystal. The effect of the crystal is that the dial looks a bit distorted when looked at from an extreme angle. Looking at the dial from most angles is clear and crisp. The lens also seems to magnify the dial at certain angles. Just a little quirk of the watch.
The chronograph is easy to use and measures in one second increments. The pushers are comfortable to use and so is the crown. I further like that the crown has a relief of the Jorg Gray “JG” logo on it. The watch case is in steel and about 41mm wide. You can see that the side of the case are done in a satin finish while the back and bezel of the case are in a nice high polish. Wearing the watch is comfortable, as the case fits well on your wrist. The black leather strap is a good part of the watch. It has that distressed look with the contrast stitching the is popular among aviator style watches. The strap also has a good amount of padding and has a supple underside. The steel buckle has laser etched Jorg Gray logo, which is an important detail.
So what do I think about the watch overall? I think it is a conservatively styled, handsome watch, that has a feeling of quality easily capable of many good years of wrist service. Though it is not the type of watch that hardcore watch aficionado’s will lust for, aside from the historic and collectible significance of it. You know, Bill Clinton started a modern trend with wrist watches in wearing an inexpensive Timex Ironman during his presidency. His doing so was a clever tactic to appeal to the “average person,” (even though it pissed off other politicians and foreign dignitaries). The Timex was admittedly an ugly watch, and Clinton coincidentally is currently a major high-end watch collector. I think that Obama is doing something similar, but trying to be more tasteful about it. The Jorg Gray 6500 won’t offend anyone, and has a suitable amount of function, style, and classic demeanor – especially for a politician, or the president. Plus the watch is analog, not digital. It makes total sense for him to wear it, and I think he made the right choice to keep it on his wrist. The decision he made was a good one also for Jorg Gray, and put this timepiece forever in the place as a relic of the times, and all that his presidency means to many different groups. So once again, if you want to own the “the President’s watch,” you can, and you should have no qualms about it. It is not the last wrist watch you’ll ever get, but a fun and meaningful addition to your collection.
If you want to join the many people how have decided to own or gift the Jorg Gray 6500 President Barack Obama Commemorative Edition watch you can buy the watch for $325 and get other information at Jorg Gray’s website here.