Last Updated:  April 1st, 2021
president obama watches

Watches Worn by President Barack Obama​

Watches Worn by President Barack Obama

President Obama had a lasting impression on the people of the United States and the world as a whole. With his statesman-like persona, and sometimes wacky sense of humor, he will definitely not be forgotten. Especially since he was America’s first African-American President.

But like with most Presidents, many people want to know the kind of watch a man of that stature wears! Is it a Rolex, kind of. But he did not wear one in office. And, you will be surprised to learn of the other more controversial watch he is also known for.

Jorg Gray JG6500

Jorg Gray Men's JG6500 Analog Display Quartz Black Watch

It is perhaps no surprise that Obama most often wore a Jorg Gray watch while he was in office. After all, it is American made. However, the choice of the watch was not actually his, he received it as a gift from the Secret Service and wore it ever since. At least until he left office that is.

Jorg Gray have been making watches in the USA since 1998, so they actually a relative newcomer in the watch world. But having Obama wear one of your watches is certainly a great piece of PR.

The JG6500 is a classic chronograph in many ways with the standard 3 sub-dials (hours, minutes, seconds) as well as two clear silver pushers either side of the crown. The dial is an easy to read white on black with the hour markers large and easy to read, but the Arabic numerals take a back seat. There is also a fine minute train around the curve of the bezel too.

There are few adornments on this model with only a touch of read on the otherwise nearly invisible black second hand, and a reasonably sized date window between 4 and 5 o-clock. The movement is a simple Japanese quartz, so reliable and no needing any winding. The band is a black buffalo stitched leather, lending it a less formal style, which is surprising for a President.

And the overall price is often only some hundreds, which again is in contrast to most Presidents, but perhaps inlnie with Obama’s more down to earth attitude in most things he does.

Below you can see some images of him wearing the watch while in office.

Note: The exact watch that Obama wore was a limited edition of the JG6500 which hasd a Secret Service emblem in placed of the Jorg Gray one. It is only (or was) sold in the White House gift shop, so is not possible to buy except second hand on eBay perhaps. And if you find one, it will be far more expensive than the standard JG6500. You can see it in the images below.

obama on phone wearing jorg-gray-watch
obama wearing jorg gray

TAG-Heuer Series 1500 WD1211

tag heuer series 1500 wd1211

Perhaps Obama’s favorite watch and the one seen most often on his wrist before he became President is the affordable TAG Heuer Series 1500. It is a simple dive style watch that also has a touch of elegance, without going overboard.

obama praying tag heuer series 1500

All stainless steel with some gold touches on the band, crown and face, it has an easy to read white dial with very Rolex inspired hands. There is also a handy date window at 3 o’clock.

This watch seemed to appear a lot less on Obama’s arm after receiving the Jorg Gray for his 46th birthday.

Highgear Enduro Compass

Highgear Enduro Compass
obama watching movie watch

Obama also loved to wear the simplest of watches when he was not being “President” or attending more formal gatherings. One such watch he was sometimes seen wearing was the Highgear Enduro Compass. 

It has a whole lot of functions, which you would expect on a modern digital watch. Even if they are not obvious from just looking at it:

  • Digital electric compass
  • 24-hour chronograph with 100-lap memory
  • Stores run number, month/date, lap number, split, time, best/average lap and total segment
  • 12 and 24 hr format
  • 3 alarms, 9 interval timers, and three independent timers (count-up, count-down, count-repeat)
  • Backlighting
  • Water-resistant to 50m (165 ft) 

It is not an easy watch to come by these days, but you can sometimes find it on eBay.

Rolex Cellini (Ref. 50509)

rolex cellini ref 50509
Obama wearing a Rolex Cellini

Of course, while Obama was in office he wanted to be seen as a man of the people. He wore far simpler and less expensive watches and often US made. 

Now that he is a private citizen again, it seems things have changed a little and he has succumbed to the calling of the Rolex. A few years ago, sitting at the Toronto’s Invictus Games with Prince Harry, he was seen wearing an elegant dress watch from Rolex – the Cellini reference 50509. 

It is definitely one of Rolex’s lesser known and less extravagant models, but is still worth over 10k.

In terms of specs here are a few details:

  • Rolex Automatic self-winding movement
  • Case diameter: 39mm
  • 18k White gold case
  • Strap: Black alligator leather strap

2 thoughts on “Watches Worn by President Barack Obama​”

    1. Fitbit I think. I have one of the George Gray watches with engraving on the back. I found it in a shop on DuPont circle many years ago. Saw the Seinfeld video and was impressed that he was was wearing an even more humble watch.

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