Russia’s Vladimir Putin has been pulled up by his opposition group Solidarity over claims that he wears wristwatches far out of the league of his apparent $100,000 (£65,000) annual salary, in a video dubbed “Watches of a Kleptocrat”.
The video questions how Putin can afford his collection of high-end timepieces, offering that they might be evidence of government fraud.
His range of watches is thought to include a platinum A. Lange & Sohne Tourbograph worth about £322,000, as well as a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar, a Breguet Marine and a Blancpain Leman Aqua Lung Grande Date.
Boris Nemtsov, a former prime minister and Solidarity’s leader is said to have written a sarcastic blog regarding the watch collection in which he writes: “Putin, it seems, did not eat or drink for six years to acquire this collection”.
Putin is also said to be known for giving away luxury watches as gifts, often on a whim and sometimes from his own wrist.
In 2009 he gave a watch to a “stunned factory worker”, and in 2010 is said to have tossed a Blancpain watch into wet concrete while visiting a construction site.
The video then compares Putin’s collection to the sub-£500 Jorg Gray timepiece worn by Barack Obama and the £80 Swatch worn by French President Francois Hollande.
Solidarity’s efforts to highlight the collection comes only a short time after Russia’s Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, had to acknowledge that his $30,000 Breguet timepiece was photoshopped out of a picture earlier this year.