In a world where the whiff of scandal is never far from the US Presidency, let’s look back on how a Rolex Day Date watch was hidden from public view even while the then President was having a torrid affair with one of the most beautiful women in the world.

Rolex Day Date watch

Launched in 1958, the Rolex Day Date watch was the first ever wristwatch to have windows showing both the date and day as well as the time. Originally presented to President Eisenhower, it gained the nickname the President’s Watch as a result.

Today we have watches such as the iWatch that do so much more but will never catch on as a timeless style statement – current versions’ software won’t be supported beyond 2028 let alone the Rolex Day Date’s 61 years!

Rolex is the watch of style, not fashion. Fashions come and go yet style has a certain constant. Let’s now look at a darker moment in the watch’s history – how it confirmed rumours of a sexual affair John F Kennedy had while in the Oval Office.

President who couldn’t keep it in his trousers

Not a few US Presidents have been known to have a bit of extramarital fun while in the highest US office. John F Kennedy was at once a sex symbol in his own right and quite unfaithful to the wife he would later die alongside when assassinated.

One of his lovers was widely regarded as the most beautiful woman in the world, Marilyn Monroe. For his 45th birthday and actress wrote him a poem and gave him an engraved Rolex Day Date watch. Let’s look at the scorching feelings of the actress in her poem for her President:

“Let lovers breathe their sighs

And roses bloom and music sound

Let passion burn on lips and eyes

And pleasures merry world go round

Let golden sunshine flood the sky

And let me love

Or let me die”

Sadly both did love and both would die far too young, Monroe just three months after sending it to JFK. But what about the watch? The Rolex Day Date President’s watch was engraved on the back:

“JACK / With love as always / from / MARILYN / May 29th 1962”

Ever the alpha male JFK is reputed to have told one of his minders to ‘get rid of it’ and so the watch disappeared.

It appears that the minder didn’t have the heart to destroy a timepiece of such value and beauty. Why? It reappeared at an auction in 2005, 43 years later with all the evidence necessary to prove that it was the gift of love offered to the President. The Rolex Day Date watch was sold for $120,000 to an anonymous bidder – possibly the Kennedy family itself as the auctioneers would only admit that it was an East Coast collector.

Still ticking on…

The famous watch can be bought new even today as it is a question of style not fashion. Have you an illicit, scandalous love you wish to express the timelessness of your affection to? The Rolex Day Date may well be the answer!

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