.by Anura Guruge
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On Wednesday I saw a number of hits ending up here from folks ‘Googling’ “pope expensive watch”.
I knew EXACTLY what they were looking for — Polish Pope John Paul II (#265) wearing his two-tone, fairly CHEAP Rolex. I felt bad. I, of course, have posts about ‘watches‘ and about ‘popes‘ BUT had never done one on John Paul II and his Rolex. This post is to rectify that.
There is a claim that John Paul II was the first pope to wear a watch. I am skeptical. I have not seen this confirmed.
That John Paul II wore a two-tone, Datejust is only slightly incongruous. That two-tone, Datejust, and I know it well (as a semi-, FROM A DISTANCE, expert in Rolexes), is a ‘neither-here-nor-there’ watch. You can get one for about $3,000. So it is neither cheap nor expensive. A middle of the road watch. I doubt whether the one he sported in public had diamonds on the face. That is slightly more ostentatious.
As I have written about the current Pope, Francis, the Pope is NOT a poor man. Whereas the British Queen is said to be the richest woman on Earth, the pope, by a similar measure of the wealth over which he resides, has to be the richest man in the world. Yes, yes, yes … it is not liquid etc. etc. But, the Vatican by any measure is a multi-billion dollar a year enterprise with probably close to $100 Billion in assets.
Popes do not get a salary but they have access to funds. Plus, they get personal donations, sometimes in the form of $1,000 bills stuffed into a large white envelope, from individuals, cardinals, bishops, religious organizations and charities. The pope is supposed to do what he thinks best with such donations.
The Rolex was probably a GIFT — quite possibly from Rolex itself. Lets face it, it is one heck of a publicity stunt — the pope flashing his Rolex while he chats with a U.S. actor. Of course the Pope has a special relationship with (mainly Catholic) Switzerland. For a start there is the Swiss Guard. So it is very likely that this watch was a gift. I would not be surprised IF he had multiple expensive watches — much better than this cheap, unreliable Rolex.
Don’t forget that this was a pope who had an Olympic size swimming pool installed at the Vatican. If I remember right one of his many, many very rich (it could have been American) admirers, paid for it.
Enough said. This is really a non-issue. A pope has enough money to wear a $600,000 watch if he wants to. Wearing a cheap $3,000 is irrelevant.
Then there is this picture of the current Dalai Lama supposedly with a Rolex.
Again doesn’t mean much. It could very well have been given to him — and he needs a watch. Not a big deal.
I am, however, NOT convinced that that is a REAL Rolex! The rectangular face looks strange.
Yes, it looks like a two-tone Datejust bracelet BUT they make cheap rip-offs of that in Asia for a few cents.
To me this looks like a cheap Asian watch. I could, as ever, be wrong.