I have actually seen that happen, although it was at a factory, not some white collar place(where the watch would be better). A man worked there for 20 years and the owner gave him a $40 watch. He certainly earned only slightly more than minimum wage those 2 decades—more than the co-workers he himself oversaw. It was quite surreal, and unfortunately the meaning of it was lost on most present. I quit that job not long after.
There is a vast, quasi-invisible economic divide in America between rural and urban. Perhaps it's always been this way.