The Heartwarming Story Behind Pete Buttigieg’s Skagen Watch



“Don’t let anybody tell you that O’Hare isn’t romantic,” Pete Buttigieg said in his remarks last week, when it was announced that he was President-elect Biden’s pick for the cabinet position of transportation secretary. He then went on to note that he proposed to his husband, Chasten, in a terminal at the Chicago airport.

What he didn’t mention was that the precise proposal spot was Gate B5. The Washington Post dating and relationships writer Lisa Bonos recently offered a deep dive into this romantic little tidbit and the events that led up to it. Read her retelling for all the sweeter-than-sweet details about how the couple met, and how Gate B5 has become a sort of hallowed ground, an inanimate but all-important character in this couple’s unique love story. (Bonos has spent time reading Chasten’s memoir, I Have Something to Tell You, to present her facts.)

But the thing in Bonos’ piece that stood out to me, and the reason I bring it up here on All That Glitters, is that even though Buttigieg was the one who proposed (with a ring), it was Chasten who sent them on the road to engagement when he gave Buttigieg a watch as a token of his affection, one that has come to take on the significance of a pre-engagement gift.

This was in 2016, when the couple took a trip to Europe. Chasten presented the watch while on a walk to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Chasten writes in his memoir, “I told Peter that I didn’t want to watch the rest of the world go by without him.”

And what watch does Buttigieg wear? It’s a Skagen Ancher in black and stainless steel.

It’s not a Rolex, or an Audemars Piguet, but it’s got Scandinavian design cred, and a man-of-the-people price point (in fact, it’s for sale on the Skagen site for $87 right now).

“Travel in my mind is synonymous with growth, with adventure, even love,” Buttigieg said in his aforementioned speech.

It’s a line that can be applied to watches too, from the stylish and accessibly priced models to the finest grand complication timepieces in the world. Read your customer: The technical features are always impressive, but a little romance—a romantic tale like this one, even—might be all you need to convince them.

Top: This stainless steel men’s quartz watch with black mesh strap from the Danish brand Skagen was given to Mayor Pete Buttigieg, now President-elect Biden’s pick for transportation secretary, as a preengagement gift by his husband, Chasten Buttigieg 

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All That Glitters writer