This week, for seemingly no reason in particular, Joe Biden wore an Omega Speedmaster. On Saturday, the president strolled across the White House lawn to board Marine One for Camp David, and there it was on his wrist: the familiar black dial, bezel crowded with numbers and dashes (it’s a tachymeter, and can be used to measure distance for those who know what they’re looking at) and case with three pushers. This small act made Biden the first sitting president to wear the Speedmaster, watch writer Nick Gould pointed out. That may not seem like a big deal, considering watch nerd Joe Biden has already marked a couple of horological firsts for a POTUS: he was the first to wear an Apple Watch, and it’s not likely that any other president was also an owner of the Seiko chronograph he wears frequently. However, it’s surprising no other president has worn a Speedmaster given its place in American history.
When the U.S. made good on John F. Kennedy’s promise “to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things,” the astronauts on that mission were wearing Speedmasters. Neil Armstrong’s Omega Speedmaster is enshrined in the Smithsonian. No other watch is so inextricably linked to American exceptionalism and yet it’s escaped the wrist of every president up to 46. This probably won’t be the part of his legacy he’s most proud of, but Biden is probably already the best president ever at picking watches fitting his position. That’s at least something! He first took office wearing a Rolex Datejust, which made history as the first Rolex ever worn by a president thanks to Dwight Eisenhower. Now, he finally puts the Speedy where it rightfully belongs. Also this week, a whole cast of big hitters: Drake, Ben Affleck, Tom Holland!