Emmanuel Macron has caused social media outrage after eagle-eyed television viewers spotted him removing his luxury watch midway through an interview over his fiercely contested pension changes.
A television appearance on Wednesday came on a day before more than 1 million protesters gathered in France to oppose his government's decision to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
The president's interview, which was met with accusations that he was arrogant and contemptuous of public concerns, sparked further fury on Friday when critics claimed the watch, described as luxury, was €2,400 or less.
His act in discreetly removing the timepiece, while his hands were under the table during the interview, was viewed as evidence that he is out of touch with the ordinary French public and the president of the rich.
Before removing the watch, about 10 minutes into the interview, a clunk was heard as Macron rested his forearms on the table. He placed his hands under the table. When they emerged, the watch was missing from his left wrist.
The manoeuvre was picked up in France where there is widespread anger over the government's pension law, a keystone of Macron's 2017 and 2022 election campaigns. The clip has gone viral.
The president of the rich never wears his name, according to Farida Amrani, MP for the radical left La France Insoumise LFI party. The exact value of the watch is not known. French media suggested that it was made by French company Bell Ross and costed between €1,600 and €2,400.
The president didn't remove his watch in order to hide it, but was banging heavily against the table, according to a statement by the lys e. The noise is barely audible a few seconds before the beginning of the video shared on social media. An unnamed source in Macron's entourage told French media: He sported it for more than a year and a half. He has also worn it for other events including the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar and his state visit to Washington last December, as well as in his Instagram account and official photograph by Soazig de la Moissonni.