Seeing John F. Kennedy advertising for Omega I said to myself this has to be one of the most tasteless, risqué ads ever. But I’ll have to ask you what your feelings are in order to draw a relevant conclusion.
Omega cooperated with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation to use JFK in the promotional materials for Omega Speedmaster because it seems they have a history together: JFK wore an Omega timepiece to the inauguration and two of the Mercury program astronauts equally wore Omega Speedmasters.
As you can see in the images, there are actually two versions of the watch: a special ’40th Anniversary Apollo 11 Moonwaches’ and a 18-karat yellow gold version. The first was released in 7,969 items and the second was only produced in an exclusive limited issue of 69 pieces, each of which was numbered.
But beyond the lunar relevance of associating Omega with John Fitzgerald Kennedy, there was another, more personal relationship of the 40th President with the brand. He was actually given an Omega Ultra Thin Watch, as a gift, by one of his friends and political donors (Grant Stockdale, in 1960). He reportedly wore it during his Inauguration Ball and throughout his presidency while his wife, Jacqueline, wrote a thank you letter to Grant Stockdale, admitting that the watch she gave her husband was a ‘chunky little one’ while the new one was just the ‘thinnest most elegant wristwatch’. And so we know that Jacqueline knew her way around words just as she knew her way around fashion!
The watch worn by Kennedy was bought at an action by the Omega brand, for $350,000 and exhibited it in the Omega Museum in Biel, Switzerland (with the letter). Also, in 2008, a limited, commemorative edition of the watch was produced and sold under the name ‘Kennedy Omega Ultra Thin’. Each of the 261 pieces was numbered and had an 18k gold case, black leather strap and gold Omega stamp and logo (all for a $8,250 each).