I ran across this hilarious Spiro Agnew watch this weekend. Spiro Agnew was Nixon’s extremely unpopular vice president, and the first VP to resign from office due to criminal charges. One of the many jokes targeting Agnew was: “Did you know that Mickey Mouse wears a Spiro Agnew watch?” I don’t get it either.
During Christmas 1969, a physician in Orange County, California named Hale E. Dougherty decided to capitalize on this joke by making a watch that featured Agnew in a pose and outfit reminiscent of the famous Mickey Mouse watches.
Dougherty named his watch company the “Dirty Time Company,” perhaps in reference to the perceptions about Agnew’s dirty political and financial dealings.
The Dirty Time Company Spiro Agnew watches were basic mechanical, Swiss Made watches, originally retailing for $14.95. Among those who owned the watches were Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, as well as both Republican and Democratic Members of Congress. Dougherty even sent an early watch to Agnew who wrote back that the watch was “both attractive and clever,” before later changing his tune and threatening legal action over the use of his likeness and invasion of his privacy.
For some reason I have talent picking out valuable novelties. I struggle with fine metals and gemstones, but weird pop culture items? Of course I’m good at weird pop culture items. The dealer I got it from probably had no idea what he was holding, and my picking partner had no idea why I was so excited.