Don Draper's Accessories in Mad Men

Don Draper’s Watches, Ties & Other Accessories in Mad Men

Yesterday, we focused on Don Draper’s suits, shirts and shoes. Today, we want to discuss Mad Men accessoriessuch as Don Draper’s watch, sunglasses, cufflinks and other accessories.

Jon Hamm aka Don Drape with slim belt

Jon Hamm aka Don Drape with slim belt

Unlike with the suits, I was happy to see Don wear genuine 1960’s accessories. Let’s start with the ties.

Don Draper’s Ties

All of Don’s ties are slim, and sometimes even very skinny. They range from ivy league club stripes to solids to satin with clocks. The colors are usually dark or muted and range from grey to black to blue, but you usually never see Don in a red tie. In regards to texture he prefers to wear plain weave or satin ties and only on rare occasions do you see twill or repp fabrics. Note that Don avoids the modern faux pas of the too-long tie; his ties are the appropriate length for his height that either skim the belt or fall slightly higher. A great source for ties that have the right length is Fort Belvedere, which offers ties in three different lengths.

All the ties seem to be very authentic, but it is not really difficult to source 1960s ties. Usually, the tie knots are simple four-in-hand knots without a dimple. The ties are usually kept in place with genuine tie bars, if worn at all, from the 1960’s.

Don Draper's Slim Belt in Mad Men

Don Draper’s Slim Belt in Mad Men

Don’s Belts

Don is clearly from the generation that wore belts instead of suspenders. He matches the belt with his black shoes and slim ties. This means the belt is very slim and not more than 1 ” wide. Today this size would be mostly categorized as a women’s belt. The buckles he mostly wears are typical sixties gold plated plaque buckles.

Don Draper Belt in Mad Men

Don Draper Belt in Mad Men

If you want to recreate the look, either try to find a vintage one or look here.

The Don Draper Watch

During the first few seasons of Mad Men, it was never really clear what watch Don Draper was wearing. However as the seasons have progressed, it appears that Don’s watches change with his pay raises.

Omega Suveran or Elgin Galaxie; and Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox

In season 3, we only get a glimpse of his watch but it was still not clear exactly which model Don wore. It looks similar to an Omega Suveran or a Elgin Galaxie. However, the first previous watch was made exclusively for the Swedish Market, and the latter does not have a 3 on the dial – but Don’s wristwatch clearly did. He definitely wore a Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox at least once.

Rolex Explorer

Rolex Explorer

Rolex Explorer

Later, it became obvious that he was also wearing a Rolex Explorer I. For a TV show so highly praised for its historical accuracy to the period, it was surprising to me to see Don Draper wear a 36mm Oyster Perpetual without a date. Unlike the Cadillac he bought, the Rolex Explorer is simply not something an American would have known about in 1964.  At the time, Rolex was pretty much unknown in the US and steel-bracelet watches were not in fashion for men of Don’s position.

Moreover, when he lights a cigarette, pours a drink, or browses through his  portfolio, it is clear that Don’s watch is a sapphire crystal (probably Ref. 114270 or something similar out of the 1990’s). However, Rolex did not introduce the sapphire until the 1970’s with their Beta Quartz and Presidential Day-Date models.

Don Draper Watch Omega Seamaster De Ville

Don Draper Watch Omega Seamaster De Ville

Omega Seamaster De Ville

Another watch that was clearly visible on Don’s wrist was the Omega Seamaster De Ville with a date indicator and a black dial. With its  34mm diameter and an automatic caliber 562 or 563, it was considered as one of the better automatic caliber watches that Omega manufactured during the sixties.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

Don Draper with a gold Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso

Don Draper with a gold Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso

Personally, one of my favorite watches that made several appearances on the show was the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. For those of you who are not familiar with this classic watch, the Reverso was originally introduced in 1931 as a Polo Watch. British Officers who played polo in India kept complaining about broken glasses on their wrist watches.

Gold Reverso and Cufflinks Don Draper in Mad Men Season 3

Gold Reverso and Cufflinks Don Draper in Mad Men Season 3

Therefore, the watch importer César de Trey informed the manufacturer Jacques-David LeCoultre of the difficulty. In collaboration with his Partner Jaeger and the engineer René-Alfred Chauvot, the Reverso was developed. The rectangular design allowed the wearer to flip the dial so it was protected during the game. The patent was filed on March 4th, 1931, and shortly thereafter, the watch was manufactured. Despite its sporty character, it soon became popular with all kinds men around the world.

Interestingly, after Don Draper is promoted in season 2 of Mad Men, he upgrades from a silver to a gold Reverso. In February 2012, Jaeger LeCoultre released a limited edition Mad Men Reverso that can be seen here. Apparently, the watches for the Mad Men show were partly sourced here, so see if you can find something you like.

Don Draper Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering

Don Draper Sunglasses by Randolph Engineering

Don Draper’ Sunglasses

In the show, Don Draper wears the Aviator model from Randolph Engineering Sunglasses. We tested the RE Sportsman sunglasses in the past, we can safely say that the workmanship is excellent, in addition to the spot-on accuracy of the style. The squarer shape of the lens clearly complements Jon Hamm’s angular features.

Don in Sportscoat and gold cufflinsk with blue stone

Don in Sportscoat and gold cufflinsk with blue stone

Cufflinks of Don

Don wears his white, double cuffed shirts with genuine 1960’s cufflinks. Generally, the cuff jewelry back then was larger than it is today and the styling is typical for the era. Don wears flat, rectangular, matte silver cuff links or rounded triangulars in gold. Also, he wears stones in black or even blue with his sportscoat in Rome.

Pocket Squares

Part of the Mad Men Look is, of course, the pocket square, though Don does not always wear one. If so, it is a white linen of cotton square that has always worn in the standard TV fold.

Don Draper Zippo Lighter

Don Draper Zippo Lighter

Zippo Lighter

As a passionate smoker, Don Draper trusts his Zippo lighter, which will set you back just $15.

The accessories that were chosen for Don match his character and are mostly plain and simple. In combination with our How to Dress Like Don Draper overview, I hope I provided you with enough inspiration for a true Don Draper Man Men outfit. Accessories are always a great way to ease into incorporating period or vintage pieces into your look.

In case you think I missed something, please leave a comment, and I will happily add it to the article.

8 replies
  1. Ahmed Sajeel
    Ahmed Sajeel says:

    Impressively thorough … shall we say, as always. I do have an Omega Seamaster DeVille in pink gold (sans date aperture) and will share the picture separately

  2. Dave
    Dave says:

    Great article, but I disagree slightly with your comments about the Rolex Explorer. Rolex watches, and in particular the steel sport models, had benefited from quite a bit of indirect publicity by the early 60’s, going back as early as the 1950’s. For one, Ian Fleming featured them in several of the Bond novels, and by 1964 Goldfinger was in theatres, featuring a close-up shot of Bond’s Rolex Submariner in the opening sequence. Considering the huge popularity of the novels and films, I think it reasonable to assume the Draper character knew about Rolex sport watches.

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  1. [...] of subtly patterned grey suits, single breasted, 2 or 3 buttons, slim lapels, simple narrow ties, straight white pocket squares, and white shirts with cufflinks. As a lead character with such an intense following, the costume designer could easily make him the [...]

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