Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator chooses the pieces she’d most want to see in person.
The King’s Omega Watch Sets an Auction Record
Elvis’ white gold and diamond wristwatch went for $1.8 million, setting a new record for an Omega at auction.
Geneva--The watch given to the King of Rock and Roll to mark a major milestone is now the most expensive Omega timepiece sold at auction.
As part of the “Geneva Watch Auction: Seven” sale held over the weekend, Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, offered the historically important Omega “Elvis Presley” watch that RCA Records gave the singer in 1961. It sold for CHF 1.8 million ($1.8 million).
Phillips beat its own record for most expensive Omega timepiece ever sold at auction, previously held by a stainless steel Omega tourbillon that sold for CHF 1.4 million during “Geneva Watch Auction: Six” in November 2017.
Presley signed with recording label RCA Records in 1955, launching a career that would make him a music phenomenon who would go on to sell an unprecedented amount of records.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served from 1958 to 1960, but RCA continued to release songs that had been pre-recorded in anticipation of his absence.
By Christmas of 1960, Presley had two movies in theaters as well as the No. 1 music single in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Still, RCA was eager for his return.
According to Phillips, Presley reached a record 75 million albums sold on Dec. 25, 1960.
To celebrate this event and re-establish the Memphis resident as a performer, RCA planned a celebratory charity event and concert on Feb. 25, 1961, which the governor of Tennessee dubbed “Elvis Presley Day.”
It was there RCA presented Presley with the 18-karat white gold and diamond Omega wristwatch, which was purchased at Tiffany & Co. The case back, as seen below, is inscribed: “To Elvis, 75 Million Records, RCA Victor, 12-25-60.”
According to Phillips, the watch was given to the current owner’s uncle by Presley, who traded him the Omega for his diamond-set Hamilton.
Phillips said Presley was known to give away some of the watches he bought or was given, with a few of them coming up at auction in the past, though Phillips noted this one is unique in marking such a significant achievement in his career.
Presley was photographed wearing the watch at the charity concert, and the Elvis Presley Museum also gave it certificates of authenticity.
The sale in which the timepiece was sold was part of an auction weekend that brought in a total of CHF 45 million ($45 million) for Phillips.
In addition to the Elvis Omega, records set over the weekend included the $5.9 million sale of “The Unicorn” Rolex at the Daytona sale, which became the second most expensive Rolex sold at auction, and the highest result achieved by an A. Lange & Söhne timepiece at auction with the sale of a unique stainless steel “1815 Homage to Walter Lange” for CHF 852,500 (about $849,700).
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