French President Emmanuel Macron has been criticized after a video surfaced where he is seen removing his luxury watch during a television interview. The incident occurred amidst protests in France over pension reforms, which have led to clashes between protesters and riot police in cities like Paris, Lille, and Marseilles. During the interview, Macron remained firm on his decision to carry out the reforms. However, the incident allowed his detractors and opposition to call him “President of the Rich” due to his comment that minimum wage earners have never had so much purchasing power.
Macron’s office denied reports that he removed his watch to hide its value and said he did so because of the clinking noise it made. The Elysee Palace further clarified that the watch was not worth 80,000 euros as reported by some media outlets but rather a Bell & Ross BR V1-92 watch personalized with the presidency’s coat of arms, which costs around 3,300 euros or less. The manufacturer has partnered with various institutions, including the army and the security group of the presidency.
The interview has further fueled anger among French citizens, with Macron’s rival Jean-Luc Melenchon accusing him of showing contempt for workers and demonstrations. Meanwhile, his far-right rival Marine Le Pen said the interview “reinforced the feeling of contempt” felt by French voters.