This weekend at Watches & Wonders Miami 2018, we had the opportunity to peruse and photograph one of the most important celebrity-related timepieces to come up for auction. We are talking about the Omega watch gifted by RCA Records to icon Elvis Presley in 1961. This historically important watch, will be sold at the upcoming Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN taking place in Geneva, Switzerland on May 12th and 13th of this year. The watch once belonging to Elvis Presley is a highlight of this upcoming auction and it's the watch which was owned and worn by the rock and roll icon after it was gifted to him in 1961 by RCA Records to commemorate his remarkable achievement of having sold 75 million records.
Having steadily released pre-recorded content in anticipation of Elvis’ hiatus between 1958 and 1960 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, RCA Records was eager for him to return to the studio. By Christmas of 1960, Elvis had two blockbuster movies at the theaters, "Flaming Star" and "G.I. Blues", as well as both the number one singles in the United States and the United Kingdom "Are You Lonesome Tonight" and "It’s Now Or Never", respectively. Research suggests that December 25th of 1960 marked the actual date Elvis reached 75 million records sold, which, after two years of not having the chance to record, was an incredible feat at the time.
Likely the first artist in history to reach this impressive milestone, RCA arranged a celebration charity event and concert on February 25, 1961 not only to award Elvis for such a significant achievement, but also to reestablish Elvis as a performer. Present at the event, the Governor of Tennessee proclaimed the date “Elvis Presley Day” and RCA presented Presley with a plaque commemorating the 75 million records he had sold worldwide. Accompanying this plaque —which remains at Graceland—, RCA Records also gifted Elvis Presley an 18K white gold Omega watch diamond set bezel that was purchased by them at Tiffany & Co. As living proof of this memento, the case back of this watch is engraved with the words: “To Elvis, 75 Million Records, RCA Victor, 12-25-60.”
This Omega watch cased in 18K white gold, housing a manual wound Omega calibre 510 stamped with the ‘OXG’ import code for the United States —in accordance with the “Tiffany & Co.” retailer signature beneath “Omega” at 12 o’clock. The bezel is set with forty-four round brilliant diamonds, accenting its vibrant silver dial. The watch will be sold with certificates of authenticity from the Elvis Presley Museum and a book titled “Elvis,” by Dave Marsh, which includes images of Elvis Presley wearing this watch.
Offered at auction for the very first time ever, this particular watch was given to the current owner’s uncle after he had expressed his admiration for Elvis’s watch. After Elvis spotted the diamond studded Hamilton his admirer was wearing, Elvis proposed a trade and they quickly exchanged timepieces. Elvis is well known to have given away watches he purchased or was given, and a small number of these have appeared at auction in the past. However, no other Elvis Presley-owned watch that marked such a significant achievement in his career has been previously offered for sale. The incredible provenance of this historic timepiece is furthermore confirmed by photos of Presley wearing the watch at the charity concert, as well as certificates of authenticity from the Elvis Presley Museum.
Fitted with a relatively small case, it was simply incredible to strap this watch on our wrist and think about the hundreds of times Elvis Presley danced around with it on his wrist. An incredible sensation to experience history through a watch, because every watch has a story.
The estimate for this watch has been set by Phillips at CHF 50,000-100,000 Swiss Francs —approximately $54,000-108,000 USD. For more info on Phillips Watches click here.
Disclaimer: Since Phillips Watches is the only one that can provide you with a 'Condition Report' for any of the watches in their auctions, our live photography or verbiage regarding these watches is for your viewing/reading pleasure only. Our images or verbiage, should never be used in lieu of a condition report from Phillips. Regardless, these live photographs have not been subject to retouching or manipulation. Therefore, dust, the actual wear on watches and lint or fingerprints left from perusing the watches will be present in our images and we apologize in advance for it.