Elvis Presley’s famous diamond-encrusted OMEGA watch has just blown records out of the water at an auction in Geveva. The Geneva Watch Auction: Seven, by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, wrapped up over the weekend, with some impressive timepieces going under the hammer (though perhaps none so impressive as this one). With a price guide suggesting it’s value at between CFH 50,000 and CFH 100,000 (about AU$66,000-$132,000), you can imagine the grin on the current owner’s face when the hammer dropped at CHF 1.5 million. That’s one Toyota Yaris away from 2 million Australian De Niros.
Once buyers premium is calculated, the piece is over AU$2.4 million.
The watch, which is made from 18 karat white gold, and adorned with 44 round brilliant diamonds, was gifted to Elvis during a charity event in 1961 (despite its Christmas inscription on the back, dated 12-25-1960). The inscription also reads, “TO ELVIS, 75 MILLION RECORDS, RCA VICTOR”. The king of rock ‘n’ roll had sold a huge number of records for the label between his signing with them in 1955, and 1958, when he was drafted into the US military. Upon his return to the US in 1960, he released the tracks: Are You Lonesome Tonight and It’s Now Or Never. The enormity of their success saw his record sales figure tip the 75 million mark.
Retailed by Tiffany & Co., this rare example was RCA Victor’s way of thanking their star performer. Elvis allegedly swapped watches with a fan whilst in a restaurant once, with the fan’s nephew now putting the iconic timepiece up for auction. The hip-shaking heavyweight of the music world was known for his altruism, also regularly giving away Cadillacs.
The buyer turned out to be the OMEGA Museum in Biel/Bienne, where the watch will become part of their already impressive collection. It is the highest amount ever to be paid for an OMEGA watch.