elvis presley

Watches Of The King – Elvis Presley’s Notable Timepieces

Balazs Ferenczi
May 18, 2018
MIN READ
Watches Of The King – Elvis Presley’s Notable Timepieces

After the impressive auction result of the Elvis Presley Omega Tiffany, we decided to give you an overview of some of his other watches as well. We discuss two of his Omega watches (one is the 1.8mio Swiss Francs Omega Tiffany), his Rolex King Midas and the well-known Hamilton Ventura. Without further ado, let’s have a look.

Elvis Presley’s Watches

Elvis Presley was one of, if not the, most influential musician of the last century. Throughout his career, that spanned over 30 years, it was estimated that he sold over 1 billion records. He also sold out 837 consecutive shows in Las Vegas, starred in 31 feature films and musicals and had 18 number one songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 Pop Chart in the US. During his life and mostly towards the end of it he was a larger-than-life figure. He loved nice cars, expensive jewellery and one of a kind timepieces. His collection spanned from Hamilton Ventura, various Omegas, Corum, Rolex and so on, On the wake of the Phillips Geneva auction, we would like to look back on some of the watches associated with Elvis. It is not, by any means, a full list rather a collection of watches that we find interesting.

elvis presley

Omega Constellation

While the diamond bezel double singed Omega-Tiffany & Co. is clearly the most known Omega in the king’s collection it was not the only one. In the late 1950’s he wore a black face Omega Constellation that he later gifted to his longtime friend Charlie Hodge. It was a gold (capped) Omega Constellation with automatic chronometer certified movement, raised indexes and date at 3 o’clock. He wore the watch while the two were stationed in Germany between 1958 and 1960. Hodge admired the watch so much that eventually, Presley gifted the timepiece to him. When the watch was auctioned by Antiquorum in 2012 it came with a letter by Hodge stating its authenticity. Antiquorum put the estimate between $10.000 and $20.000. The watch finally sold for $52,500. Imagine how much it would fetch if it went for auction today.

elvis presley

Photo: Antiquorum

Hamilton Ventura

Hamilton (at the time still an American watch brand now part of the Swatch Group like Omega) released an electric watch in 1957, under the model name; Ventura. It was the world’s first watch using a battery quickly becoming a forerunner for the quartz watches about a decade later. Not only the movement was groundbreaking; Ventura’s case design was also unconventional at the time. This might have been the reason Elvis fell in love with the model. He wore it in the 1961 movie Blue Hawaii, as a product placement by Hamilton. Presley loved the Ventura so much that he actually bought other variants later. He also often gifted them to his friends and bandmates. Hamilton managed to purchase one of the later models the king wore at an estate auction a while ago for their collection.

elvis presley

Elvis on set wearing the Hamilton Ventura

Corum Buckingham

Something more lavish than the previously mentioned models was Elvis’ Corum Buckingham. An 18K solid yellow gold watch, made around 1960 was another one of his favourites. He wore the watch regularly until he gifted it to one of his close friends and employees; Richard Davis. According to story Elvis took the watch off one day and gave it to Davis. He told him something is wrong with the back. When Davis flipped timepiece, he found the following inscription on it: “To Richard from E.P.” The watch, with an accompanying letter by Davis and photographs of Presley wearing it was auctioned in 2016 by Antiquorum. The price estimate was between $10.000 and $20.000. The sale exceeded the estimate, selling at $22.500.

elvis presley

Photo: Aniquorum

Rolex King Midas

According to Elvis Presley historians, the king of rock n roll wore a number of different Rolex watches. Undoubtedly the coolest of them all was the Rolex King Midas. It was nothing like any other Rolex of the time – or even today. The watch had an asymmetric rectangular case, made of 18K solid gold. The movement was hand wound and it had an integrated bracelet. It looked more like a large bracelet than a timepiece. Elvis got the watch in 1970 from the officers of the Houston Astrodome Livestock Show & Rodeo according to the inscription on the back. Elvis played 6 days of sold out concerts and the officers wanted to show their appreciation by presenting him with the watch. Funnily enough, the watch was a left-handed version (as the crown was on the left side of the case) and had quite water damage.

elvis presley

Elvis’ limited edition Rolex King Midas, Photo: Jake’s Rolex World

The Tiffany Omega

If you are reading this article you probably heard of the “other” Omega that once belonged to Elvis Presley. Petros Protopapas (curator of the Omega Museum) confirmed to us that he bid on this special Tiffany Omega on behalf of the brand. The watch in question is an 18K white gold Omega with Tiffany & Co on the dial and 44 brilliant cut diamonds in its bezel. It has the Omega hand wound calibre 510 in it. The Omega was a present from RCA Records (Radio Corporation of America) to Elvis for selling 75 million records. It was an unheard-of number by any musician before Elvis’ achievement. Presley received the watch in 1961 (despite the inscription of 1960) and he wore it quite regularly for a number of years afterwards. Many on and off stage photographs of him sporting the Omega stand as proof to that.

elvis presley

Photo: Phillips

So the story goes that a man mentioned to Elvis how much he loves the watch. He was also wearing a diamond-studded timepiece, from the king’s other favorite brand; Hamilton. Presley traded his Omega for this man’s Hamilton on the spot. The current owner (well, ex-owner) of the watch was the nephew of this lucky gentleman. Phillips’ estimate for the auction was between 50.000 and 100.000 CHF but it turned out pretty quickly that the watch was on its way to set a much higher number. The hammer went down at 1.5 million CHF (1.812.318 CHF including buyer’s premium) on Petros’ bid. With it, Elvis Presley’s Omega became the most expensive publicly sold Omega to date. The good thing about this is, that you will be able to enjoy this timepiece in the near future when visiting the Omega museum in Bienne.

elvis presley

Others

As I said it at the beginning of this article, this is not a comprehensive list of every timepiece owned by Elvis Presley. There are a number of other interesting watches that we can connect with him. From Rolex to Mathey-Tissot and more. The list goes on. It’s worth mentioning that there must be a number of other timepieces we do not know of but could be connected to Elvis Presley. One thing is for sure though; this auction result set the tone for the future sales of Elvis related timepieces. Who knows, we might see another record-breaking sale soon.

 

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Balazs Ferenczi
About the author

Balazs Ferenczi

Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up... read more

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