That Time A Digital Watch Nearly Ended Gerald Ford’s Presidency
Gerald Ford literally has an airport named after him. He was the only person ever appointed Vice-President, and President, without ever being elected. MOST people remember him, though, for his controversy.
No, not the whole pardoning Nixon thing, the watch! You know... the digital watch he wore that probably, maybe (but likely didn't completely) cost him re-election in 1976.
Gerald Ford IS that guy who pardoned his former boss, Richard Nixon, after the Watergate Scandal. And, at the time, it was his biggest controversy. But when he appeared before a Congress subcommittee to testify about the pardoning, it wasn't what he said that made headlines... but rather, what he was wearing.
People recognized the watch on his wrist as a Pulsar Digital Watch, and it was one of the first EVER made. Pulsar was known for their high-end watches, and early models in 1972 sold for more than $2,100 ($12,200 adjusted for inflation), and were often gold plated, or at least adorned with other precious metals.
So it was a fancy watch... what's the issue? TikTok personality TimePiecePapi breaks down the basics of the issue...
@timepiecepapi President Gerald Ford remembered for his openess and integrity also faced a controversey of his own while dealing with the fallout from watergate…watchgate #greenscreen #georgesantos #watches #watchtok #watergate #history #geraldford #president #pardon #congress #vintage #retro #pulsar ♬ Mission: Impossible (Main Theme) - The Riverfront Studio Orchestra
Yep! Apparently, in the 1970s, wearing high-end jewelry was grounds enough for an investigation. But also, rightfully so, because Presidents were only allowed gifts up to a certain amount. And in 1974, when he was caught wearing the watch, that limit was DEFINITELY below $2,000.
Thankfully, though, as TimePiecePapi explained, the watch was a gift form an attorney of his, and it was NOT one of the higher-end versions. Instead of the link bracelet, he had a leather strap, and it was a base model of the watch, worth only about $395 back then.
But still, to think, during one the most important Presidential investigations in history, a WATCH caused more of a stir. It's not like he wore a Tan Suit or anything.