I first saw the rumor in a tweet from Kenny Keil, a writer at Mad Magazine:
Of all the things to be creeped out about with Ted Cruz, I'm finding the 2 watches thing to be the most unsettling pic.twitter.com/boZ4ut6Mmt— Kenny Keil (@kennykeil) February 1, 2016
Scroll through the pictures, examine them, and when you’re done quivering, ask yourself: Does Ted Cruz, the victor of the Republican Iowa caucuses, really wear two watches?
I had to find out.
Before we consider that question, though, permit a short interlude. In the grand scheme of things, it does not matter. Cruz’s plans to abolish the Internal Revenue Service or repeal the Affordable Care Act are far more consequential than his choice of radiocarpal accessory. But elections encompass far more than policy, however radical or horrifying; they are also cultural and aesthetic spectacles. Not for nothing was George W. Bush’s main inauguration-night gala dubbed the Black Tie and Boots Ball.
And besides, two watches? The whole running-for-fifth-grade-class-president thing is really more Marco Rubio’s vibe.
So with the help of Alan Taylor, senior editor of our Photos section, I undertook a thorough investigation. It turns out that Ted Cruz’s horological appurtenances are absurdly well documented.
Above, for example, is Ted Cruz’s left-hand watch, photographed while the candidate was speaking last week in West Des Moines, Iowa. Also his belt and jean rivets, though they are tastefully shorn in bokeh.