Remember when Vladimir Putin invited his Labrador to a Sochi press conference with Angela Merkel, apparently forgetting that the German Chancellor is terrified of dogs? Well, that’s power play politics at it’s finest. And judging by latest hiccups, things are set to get far stranger.
Arguably just as powerful as a canine-driven press tactic is a world leader’s wristwear. One watch can say a thousand words, both about the owner and the message they want to convey – something that makes the choices below very interesting indeed.
Who: Prince Charles
What: Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronograph
If you live in somewhere as grand as Clarence House, it makes sense to get a watch to match. Prince Charles’ Parmigiani hails from one of the most elite brands on the planet, complete with a chronograph that’s more royal than race-ready. We bow down, your Majesty.
Who: Barack Obama
What: Jorg Gray 6500 Secret Service Limited Edition
Unless you want to be labelled the office kiss-arse, buying presents for your boss is best avoided. It’s a slightly different case if your line manager is Obama, though. In 2007, the former President’s security detail gifted him a sharp Jorg Gray Secret Service limited edition, and he’s rarely been seen without it since. No doubt a, “so I wanted to catch up about my salary” chat quickly followed.
Who: Donald J. Trump
What: Donald J. Trump Signature Collection
Never one to miss out on a business opportunity, Donald Trump set about making a watch brand all for himself. Literally. In 2005, the Donald J Trump Signature Collection was released to a lukewarm reception and featured models suspiciously similar to TAG Heuer’s Monaco and the Rolex Daytona.
Obviously, these watches are the best out there, really, they’re totally original and everyone knows this. They’re just terrific.
Who: Justin Trudeau
Anyone who says it’s a tough time for liberals should look to Justin Trudeau – the Canadian centrist is cool as a cucumber as the world arguably burns around him. Clocking in far higher than his polls, however, is his wristwear. The IWC Regulateur (also the favoured brand of House of Cards’ Frank Underwood) is precise, refined and understated. Well, if the watch fits.
Who: Vladimir Putin
What: Blancpain Grande Date Aqua Lung
Putin’s tsar of a watch makes a very strong statement indeed: he isn’t afraid to grandstand. Less clear, however, is Putin’s financial capacity to buy a Blancpain. At £9,500, it’s a rather pricey sum for the modest national salary of a Russian politician. Guess he just saved up from the paper round.
Who: Xi Jinping
What: Omega Constellation
China’s General Secretary is toeing more than party lines. The Omega Constellation, an almost delicate piece, is indicative of the East Asian appetite for smaller watches. After all, what’s the point in a diamond-encrusted Hublot when Instagram’s banned?
Who: Shinzo Abe
What: Seiko SARC013
With Japan’s knack for gadgetry, there’s little need to look elsewhere. Which is precisely why the Japanese Prime Minister’s goes for the SARC0913 from Seiko – a respected, homegrown manufacturer that turned the traditional watch world upside down with the launch of the first ever quartz movement. Better to stick to what you know.
Who: Kim Jong-Un
What: Movado Museum
Lil Kim’s Movado is a strange choice. Not because it’s a strange watch – much to the contrary – but because it’s essentially illegal. The isolationist state forbids most imports, and that includes left-field, murdered-out timepieces.
Who: Pope Francis
What: Casio MQ24-7B
If like Pope Francis you’re surrounded by golden hats, goblets and altars on the daily, a dazzling timepiece seems excessive. So the current Bishop of Rome opts for a humble Casio MQ24-7B – a retro design that won’t distract from doing God’s bidding. Heavenly stuff.
Who: Malcolm Turnbull
What: Apple Watch
Malcolm Turnbull has a team of countless aides and drivers that schedule his life to the minute, which renders a smartwatch pretty useless. However, that hasn’t stopped the Australian Prime Minister from being one of Apple’s early adopters, and the Milanese bracelet is a sharp choice. Probably save the Mickey Mouse dial for weekends though, Malc.
Who: The Dalai Lama
What: Patek Phiippe Ref 658
We know what you’re thinking: should the spiritual leader of Tibet really be dropping a bank loan on a Patek pocket watch? Well, before you judge His Holiness, it was a gift from former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943, and he services it all by himself. Oh Dalai, the circles you move in.