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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Mystery of the Secret Service Watch

As the writer of the Wiki Coffin mystery novels, I surely do love a mystery -- and so I was instantly intrigued when I stumbled over the mystery of Barack Obama's watch.

"Barack Obama's Watches," runs the title of the webpage I flipped through while surfing. Well, I flipped, and then, highly diverted, returned and read more carefully.

There is a group who call themselves "watch collectors," who specialize in detecting the make and style of watch worn by various celebrities. In past years it might have been Paul Newman, Jerry Seinfeld, or Steve McQueen, but the current rage is Barack Obama. So what kind of watch does the presidential candidate wear? There lies the mystery.

Back in early 2007, it was a large, sporty, light-dialed watch, identified by most of the group as a fairly common TAG-Heuer, series 1000 or 2000 (these boys are technical).

"Then suddenly," writes Jeffrey M. Stein:

Then suddenly, something strange happened late in the year 2007. In the place of this rather common TAG-Heuer, the experts spotted a huge black Panerai; others saw a black-dialed Carrera re-issue; and still others saw a Royal Oak, something that Governor Schwarzenegger might wear. Wow!! Could this be true? That rather than switching from the TAG-Heuer to the nondescript Timex or Casio, Senator Obama was actually stepping up his horological game? Could it be that he had gone from Wal-Mart to Wempe? What would the pollsters say? What would McCain say? Could this man of the people, the law professor and community organizer, be wearing a high-end Swiss watch? What would the Japanese say? Suddenly, the watch guys began to spread the rumor that Obama was also a watch guy! Read more ...

I loved this guy's style -- and I also loved the mystery. What had happened to Obama? Why had he changed his watch from so bland to so melodramatic? Jeff Stein, a consummate detective, tracked down the change to a specific date: August 4, 2007, Obama's 46th birthday. And the watch was a special issue Secret Service Watch, obtainable only at the Secret Service Store, and sold only to agents of the Secret Service.

Obviously, it was a birthday present, which must have come from Barack Obama's minders. But why? A Fox News blogpost solved the mystery. Obama is a nice guy to work for, if you go in for that line of work -- at Christmas, he invited the Secret Service detail on duty in for dinner, and invites them in, too, to help watch games on TV. He also plays hoops with them. In a word, they liked him so much that they had clubbed together, and given him a very special present.

2 comments:

Vanda Symon said...

I'm familiar with train spotters and bird twitchers, but watch watchers?! I guess that's one way to pass the time.

Joan Druett said...

Bird twitchers! I hadn't heard of that little hobby before -- and only found out about twittering yesterday. (It sounds like blogging on the cellphone.) Cheers, Joan