Diamond Watch owned by Elvis Presley sets new world record at auction
The opulent Omega timepiece was gifted to the musical icon in the sixties
Elvis Presley fans prepare to get all shook up because an elegant piece of history that once belonged to the King of Rock 'n' Roll himself – an Omega wristwatch gifted to him by his label RCA Records in 1961, in celebration of his monumental achievement selling 75 million records – has sold at auction for a record-breaking £1,338,193.
The timepiece, which was auctioned for the first time ever as the highlight of the Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN at Philips in Association with Bacs & Russo in Geneva on 12 May, hugely exceeded its estimated value to fetch between £36,600 – £73,200. The face is set with 44 round brilliant diamonds while the case back is intricately engraved with a message to Presley from RCA, reading: ‘To Elvis, 75 Million Records, RCA Victor, 12-25-60.’ The digits refer to the date the record company pinpointed as the exact day the record-breaking sales figure was achieved – making it a once-in-a-lifetime investment for any Presley fan.
“It was a true honour to offer at auction this superb vintage Omega wristwatch owned and worn by Elvis Presley, the ‘King of Rock and Roll’" Aurel Bacs, senior consultant at Bacs & Russo said. "The world record result stems from the incredible combination of Elvis’s global appeal, its extraordinary provenance, and one of the most sought after collectors’ brands, OMEGA.”
To cement the lot's originality, a certificate of authenticity from the Elvis Presley Museum and the book Elvis by David Marsh – which includes photographs of Presley donning the piece – will also be included in the sale. The watch was gifted to Presley during a charity event and concert held on 25 February by RCA. The Governor of Tennessee also attended the event, proclaiming it, “Elvis Presley Day.”
“This was a big moment in Elvis’ life, and this watch celebrates that,” Paul Boutros, senior VP and head of watches for the Americas for Phillips said. “He had just been discharged from the Army, which had drafted him at the peak of his career, and even though he was out of the limelight, his records were still selling like crazy. He crossed the 75 million mark and was being welcomed back to record more music and make more movies. This is the watch that documents that fascinating moment in time.”
Boutros also confirmed that, despite a number of Presley's timepieces appearing at auction in the past, none have ever marked such a significant achievement in his career as this lot. “This is the most historically significant one ever to appear on the market, when you fold in its clear provenance and its great background story, it became a very compelling piece for us to sell. We love watches with great stories,” he said.
The auction beats Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo previous highest record of a stainless steel Omega tourbillon, which sold for £1,031,000 during Geneva Watch Auction: SIX in November 2017.