The watch President John F. Kennedy wore when he was inaugurated has been auctioned for $350,000. After a fierce bidding war, Swiss watch company Omega was top bidder in Guernsey’s Dec. 15 auction, “John F. Kennedy: The Robert L. White Collection,” held in New York City.
Stephen Urquhart, president of Omega worldwide, said, “Watches are emotional purchases, and we were very determined to procure this one. It’s important to Omega, due to its history, and will reside in the Omega Museum [in Switzerland] next to the first watch [also an Omega] worn on the moon—which is something Kennedy himself made possible.”
The 1960 watch was a gift to then Senator Kennedy from a friend, Grant Stockdale. Though he gave it to JFK before the election, Stockdale had the back of the watch engraved with, “President of the United States John F. Kennedy from his friend Grant.”
Also available at the auction were a thank-you letter written by Jacqueline Kennedy to Stockdale, in which she calls the Omega “nicer than the watch I gave him,” plus an image from Life magazine of the 35th president wearing the watch on his inauguration day.
After its stint in the Omega Museum, the watch will make a tour of the United States.