Senator Sanders’ Citizen Watch Analyzed

Bernie Sanders' watch (image courtesy

Senator Sanders’ fate as a presidential candidate will be decided tomorrow, on Super Tuesday. Or will it? While that drama plays out, let’s have a look at his horological habit and what it says about the man . . .

Citizen Eco-Drive Riva

The watch on Senator Sanders’ wrist is a blue dial version of the Citizen Eco-Drive Riva above (Ref. BM0910-57E). There are a few things worth noting about the watch and how Senator Sanders wears it.

Bernie’s watch is inexpensive

Amazon sold the Citizen Eco-Drive Riva for under $300. That certainly squares with Senator Sanders’ eat the rich politics. It wouldn’t do for the politician campaigning for the health and wealth of America’s underclass to be sporting a Rolex, Patek Philippe, Vacheron, etc. – the watches of choice for America’s “millionaires and billionaires.” Even though Senator Sanders is a millionaire.

Senator Sanders’ watch was discontinued

Bernie bought his Citizen Eco-Drive Riva in 2011, the year it was axed from the Japanese watchmaker’s lineup. Nine Amazon reviewers split pretty much evenly between three, four and five-star ratings. So the watch was neither popular nor particularly well-loved. (At one point its Amazon Sales Rank in watches was #33021.) Not a good look for a politician. Thankfully, no one’s looking.

Bernie’s timepiece is too big

Some people wear their watch really loose. I don’t know anyone who does – I wonder why Bernie has his watch halfway up his arm. We’re talking about a pol who gestures as emphatically as Il Duce. The Senator almost always wears a jacket or a sweater for his speeches, so I guess it’s not an issue. Note: Citizen sold the 39mm watch on a large bracelet. Maybe Bernie couldn’t be bothered to get it re-sized, or didn’t know it was even possible.

Senator Sanders’ watch is practical

Bernie’s Citizen Eco-Drive Riva is a three-hander with a date window. No fuss, no muss. The Eco-Drive caliber is powered by any light source – a fully charged watch will run for six months in the dark without a recharge. A thoroughly practical watch for someone who doesn’t want anything to do with a watch save wearing it. And, in Bernie’s case, constantly resetting it.

The candidates watch isn’t waterproof

The candidate’s Eco-Drive Riva’s water resistance was rated to 30m. The splash-proof Citizen is the wrong choice for swimming or showering. As the Senator’s from landlocked Vermont and works in swampy Washington, it’s no surprise water resistance didn’t figure in his choice. Ipso facto. But at least the Senator can wash his hands without worrying about his watch. Which I bet he does a lot. Hand-washing I mean.

Bernie’s watch was a good choice

The Citizen Eco-Drive Riva looks like an expensive watch – a reassuring accessory for someone who wants voters to trust him with umpteen trillion tax dollars. But it most definitely isn’t. It’s practical in every regard, still doing its thing nine years later.

If you want to wear the up-to-date version of Bernie’s watch, it’s the $226 blue dial Citizen Corso. The $396 Citizen Promaster Tough is the [more] money move. If I was to choose an timepiece for Senator Sanders, I’d have him stretch his budget to Timex’s $495 American Documents – an inexpensive stunner that helps make American watchmaking great again.


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