Johnson was born in Texas in 1908 and died in San Antonio in 1973. He became interested in politics at an early age, and joined the House of Representatives in 1937. In 1948 he was appointed to Senate, and soon became leader of the Democrats. From 1961 to 1963 he was Vice President under John F. Kennedy, and was sworn in as 36th President of the USA on 22 November 1963 after Kennedy’s assassination. In 1968 Johnson turned down a further term in office, and resigned in 1969.
Although Johnson’s presidency was marked by the Vietnam War, he introduced extensive social reforms and did much to benefit African-Americans and the disadvantaged. In 1964 he convinced Congress to vote the Civil Rights Act, putting an end to discrimination. He was also the first President since Ulysses S. Grant to detain and sentence members of the Ku Klux Klan. During his time in office, the gross domestic product increased by 46%.
Johnson was probably the biggest Vulcain aficionado of all presidents. He gave away more than 200 “Crickets” as gifts, and at a UN meeting in Geneva gave the order to buy up all the available Vulcain watches in the city. His letter of thanks to Vulcain is testimony to just how much he appreciated – and used – his “Cricket”.
Eisenhower was born in Texas in 1890 and died in Washington D.C. in 1969. His career began in 1911 when he entered the US Military Academy. At the end of World War II he was appointed General of the Army, before retiring from his military career in 1952. Eisenhower was apolitical and never wanted to join the government. It was only with the launch of “I-Like-Ike” clubs that he decided to make a bid for candidacy, and was voted 34th President by an overwhelming majority. His tenure ran from 1953 to 1961.
Eisenhower became famous as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces Northwestern Europe, and commanded the Normandy landing on 6 June 1944. In 1956 he signed the Federal Aid Highway Act and created a network of highways based on the German “Autobahn” system. When the Soviet Union launched the first satellites into space, the USA decided to respond. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act on 29 July 1958 and also founded NASA.
Eisenhower already wore a Vulcain Cricket before he became President, and was a true fan of the brand. He wore the watch almost every day, which eventually led to an advertising campaign with the famous headline, “Do as Ike does”. At a press conference he once unwittingly entertained the journalists present when the alarm on his Vulcain started. History does not tell us what particular appointment this was to remind him of.
Truman was born in Missouri in 1884, and died there in 1972. He came from a humble background, and volunteered for military service in 1917. In 1934 he was appointed Senator and became Director of the Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, widely known as the Truman Committee. Truman was a freemason and grandmaster of a Grand Lodge. Elected Vice-President in 1944, in 1945 he became the 33rd President of the United States of America and successor to Roosevelt. His 12 years in office ended in 1953.
Truman’s presidency was largely defined by World War II and its consequences. He was a keen promoter of the founding of the United Nations, and in 1948 he signed the Marshall Plan for the rebuilding of Europe. In the same year, Truman ended the blockade of Berlin by the Soviet Union with an air bridge, thereby supplying the city with the necessities of life. The Truman Doctrine marked the start of the Cold War from the Western side.
In 1953, the president of the White House News Photographers Association presented the President with a Vulcain “Cricket”, starting a tradition that continues to this day and the present incumbent. Truman was delighted with his new watch with the alarm function, and used it regularly – much to the chagrin of the Secret Service, who often mistook its alarm for a bomb.