The Corner


Breguet-gate, Continued

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland leaves during a break in a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, November 20, 2019. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

Kevin Williamson has asked me to weigh in on Breguet-gate, the fact that Ambassador Sondland was wearing a Breguet Marine Chronograph on a bracelet. The Washington Examiner made some hay about this.

I like Breguet watches — as I’ve mentioned in the pages of National Review, one of my aspirations in life is to own a Breguet Chronometer that retails for roughly as much as the Toyota minivan I drive my children in.

First of all: Great watch! Though, if I were him, I’d not have worn a sports watch to a congressional hearing.

Secondly, I’m not sure the Examiner is correct that this watch costs nearly $55,000. First, I can’t reliably distinguish between white gold and stainless steel at a distance of a few feet. I certainly can’t distinguish it in a photograph. That detail alone could knock the retail price down at least $20,000. Thirdly — and this is something I don’t expect every Examiner author to know — only suckers pay retail prices for luxury watches. There are maybe half a dozen new luxury watches that sell for their retail price or above. Most of them are Rolex sports watches. And another is a Patek Phillippe. Breguet is notoriously a “good buy” among watch hounds if you don’t care about whether it retains its resale value. Sondland doesn’t strike me as a sucker about money, at least. I bet his watch probably is white gold. But I’d be surprised if he paid more than 75 percent of the retail price for it, even if he bought it on Fifth Avenue a week before Christmas.

So, yes, it’s an expensive watch by normal standards. And it’s a pretty dear one by watch-hound standards. But this is a man who is rich enough to get inauguration tickets and a diplomatic post. Compared to an ambassadorship, a Breguet is a trifle. Though between the two, I’d take the Breguet every day of the week.


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