In 1955, Vice President Nixon was given a Vulcain Cricket after speaking to the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors. In 1960 he sent the Cricket in for services and stated “It has given excellent service over the past five years and has served as my alarm clock around the world.”
In 1969 after the moon landing, Omega created a gold version of the Speedmaster Professional (caliber 861) to commemorate the event. The watch was produced in small numbers (1014 total) from August 1969 until sometime in 1972. The first 28 were given to the President of the United States (Nixon received piece #1), the vice president, and the active NASA astronauts. Nixon supposedly refused the watch because it was a gift of too high a value.
The digital watch craze hit its peak in the mid 1970’s. Fittingly, President Gerald Ford also wore a digital watch: a Hamilton Pulsar. In a photo in the Washington Post, he was shown wearing his Pulsar during the 1974 Congressional hearings on his pardon of Richard Nixon. Hamilton had introduced the Pulsar which
was the world’s first digital watch in 1972 and many celebrities and politicians jumped at the opportunity to get their hands on the cool new gadget. The press became very interested in Ford’s watch after he’d been photographed wearing it during the hearings for Nixon’s pardon. The press became interested in the watch due to its hefty price tag which, if the President had received it as a gift, could’ve exceeded “gift” rules for
the President. Although it was actually given to Ford as a gift, the President supposedly received it from his friend and former law partner, Philip D. Bucken, who gave him the watch before he became President. Bucken received the watch for his service on the Board of the Star Watch Case Company of Ludington, Michigan, which made the cases for Pulsar watches. Because Buchen already owned a Pulsar, he gave this one to Ford. Due to all the media attention concerning the watch, Ford reportedly stopped wearing the
timepiece until the whole thing blew over. Then, when a new beefed up Calculator watch hit the market, Ford jokingly suggested that his wife purchase him the expensive piece for Christmas. Unsurprisingly, the media had a field day when they found out about this, too. (A letter from Ford confirms it was a comment made in jest.)