What Makes Angela Merkel Tick

A watch says a lot about the wearer.

Angela Merkel's watch.
Getty Images
Angela Merkel's watch.

As Chancellor Merkel gave an interview to Germany's ZDF television channel last year, she pulled up her sleeve revealing a rectangular, silver framed watch with black strap. What ensued was a debate over whether Merkel was wearing a luxury watch or a simple timepiece.

A watch expert consulted by the magazine Stern speculated the watch could be a "Jager LeCoultre Reverso", worth between 4,000 and 8,000 euros, depending on the model.

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Instead, the "luxury" watch turned out to be a "Boccia", worth just 89 euros. "It's for people who want to have a clock that displays the time," a jeweller consulted by Financial Times Deutschland said.

The anecdote about the watch is timely after Germany's ruling coalition led by Merkel lost a crucial election in the state of Lower Saxony. According to some, Merkel's choice of a simple watch shows her aversion to public debt and a fiscal deficit, a stance that some have blamed for a worsening of the euro zone debt crisis and a slowdown in Germany.

"One would expect a country (like) Germany to do better. There has been too much focus on trying to balance the budget when the whole of the euro zone is going into a recession. [Germany] shouldn't have done it now," Professor Paul deGrauwe, a leading scholar of European political economy at the London School of Economics, told CNBC.

"Typical Merkel!" concluded Stern after the watch was revealed to be a frugal timepiece.

"Save she can," acknowledged the TrustedWatch website.