The mystery of Macron’s disappearing watch

Beege mentioned this earlier but I wanted to zoom in on this particular moment. Here’s the clip that is circulating widely on Twitter:

And it’s getting lots of traction:

Anyway, you get the idea. The guy who just raised the retirement age 2 years is hiding his watch which is worth a year’s salary. It’s a perfect socialist object lesson. At the same time, it also works for people on the right who see this as an example of the elite being total hypocrites.

So the result is 40k likes and 13k retweets from people who just love this. The only problem is it’s not true. Well, it’s true he took off the watch but nothing else is true. For starter’s he wasn’t wearing an $80,000 watch.

The exact cost of the watch was debated online, with some of Mr Macron’s critics suggesting it was worth €80,000.

But the Élysée Palace told French media the president was wearing a Bell & Ross BR V1-92 model, which is personalised with a coat of arms.

Prices online for this watch, without the personalisation, are between €1,660 and €3,300 (£1,460 and £2,900).

“He has been wearing it very regularly for more than a year and a half,” the palace added in a statement.

So it’s definitely a nice watch but it’s somewhere in the $1,700 to $3,500 range. Amusingly, this particular model was called “Blue Steel.” It seems to be sold out but the original price was $2,600 direct from Bell & Ross. He’s the president of France. Do people think he should wear a Casio G-Shock?

Once you know it wasn’t an $80,000 watch, the whole story about him hiding it doesn’t make much sense. That’s because it’s also not true. In fact, he removed the watch because it banged on the wooden table. You can hear it bang on the table at the very start of the clip, just before he removes it. Listen to it again.

Just to make sure, I found video of the full interview and located the spot where he removes the watch. It happens just as it does in the brief clip above. He hears it hit the table and then he quietly removes it immediately. There’s no doubt that’s what prompted it. A few seconds later you can see him lean to his right where there is a small table with glasses of water below the main table. It looks like he just put the watch on the table.

But like a lot of dumb stories, this one persists even after people know the facts. For instance, this video from the Telegraph gets the value of the watch right and includes the sound of it clacking on the table but still suggests he removed it “under pressure.” Sometimes reality just isn’t as entertaining as a made up story. 

In any case, I’m not a huge Macron fan though it seems to me his efforts to loosen up France’s economy, including this decision to raise the retirement age, are a good idea.

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