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Watch It

May 14, 2018 | Other

A watch gifted to Elvis Presley by RCA Records to celebrate his sale of 75-million records sold at an auction in Geneva today for $1,812,500. It was estimated to sell for between CFH 50,000 and CFH 100,000 (about $54,000-$108,000). The watch, made by Omega and retailed by Tiffany & Co., hammered for 1.5-million CHF and with buyer’s premium totaled 1,812,318 CHF, or $1,812,500. It is the highest price ever paid for an Omega watch. It is the highlight of Geneva Watch Auction: Seven, by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo held today and tomorrow in Geneva.

The watch is 18k white gold with a caseback engraved: “To Elvis, 75 Million Records, RCA Victor, 12-25-60. It contains the manual-wound Omega Caliber 510, stamped with the OXG import code for the United States. The bezel is set with 44 round brilliant diamonds, and the dial contains no numerals, only markers, with a small seconds on the subsidiary dial at 6 o’clock. The story behind the watch is that Elvis was sitting in a restaurant when he was approached by a man who said, “nice watch.” Elvis glanced at the man’s watch, a diamond-set Hamilton, and replied, “I like your watch too. Do you want to trade?” It was consigned to auction by the man’s nephew.

Elvis Presley signed with RCA Records in 1955 and produced a string of hits until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1958. He returned in 1960 to record Are You Lonesome Tonight and It’s Now Or Never, two of his biggest songs, and by the end of that year, had reached the 75-million record point. RCA gave him the watch, along with a commemorative plaque, at celebratory charity event and concert in 1961.