At the Geneva Watch Auction: Six, Phillips Watches had an Omega listed in their catalog that was quite possibly one of the first ever serially produced tourbillon wristwatches. The watch in question was a prototype, created in 1947 and fitted with one of 12 calibre 30 I tourbillon movements that were made to run in the “wristwatch” category of the Geneva, Neuchatel and Kew-Teddington Observatory trial.

Of course, the kicker to that story is that under the mastery of Aurel Bacs, the watch went on to become the most expensive Omega wristwatch sold at auction to date, at CHF1,428,500. It’s only been four months since and already it looks like Bacs and team are on their way to set the next record in the Omega realm.

The most expensive Omega wristwatch sold to date, the Tourbillon 30 I sold with Phillips Watches at CHF 1,428,500
The most expensive Omega wristwatch sold to date, the Tourbillon 30 I sold with Phillips Watches at CHF 1,428,500

For Geneva Watch Auction: Seven — to be held 12–13 May 2018 — Phillips Watches has unearthed an Omega that doesn’t just hold horological significance, but cultural as well.

The watch, is a Tiffany stamped 18K white gold piece; bezel decorated with 44 brilliant cut diamonds. Turn the watch over and on its caseback you’ll find the inscription: To Elvis 75 Million Records RCA Victor 12-25-60.

Elvis, as in, King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley.

Inscription on the back of the diamond-set Omega wristwatch formerly the property of Elvis Presley, certified by both the Elvis Presley Museum and Omega (Image: phillipswatches.com)
Inscription on the back of the diamond-set Omega wristwatch formerly the property of Elvis Presley, certified by both the Elvis Presley Museum and Omega (Image: phillipswatches.com)
Inscription on the back of the diamond-set Omega wristwatch formerly the property of Elvis Presley, certified by both the Elvis Presley Museum and Omega (Image: phillipswatches.com)

The story goes that in 1960, just after Presley was out from his two years in the army, his record company, RCA Victor, worked their cogs harder than ever before behind the singer, and even managed to get six singles out, of which three raced to the top of the charts in no time (Stuck on You, It’s Now or Never and Surrender).

The result of all that work was that December 25, 1960 Presley hit a record 75 million records sold worldwide. To mark the milestone, later in February of 1961, at a charity event, RCA, in the presence of the Governor of Tennessee, presented Presley with a commemorative plaque and that Omega watch that is currently in the Phillips Watches Geneva Watch Auction: Seven catalog.

Elvis Presley at the February 1961 press event wearing the diamond-set Omega watch that was gifted to him to mark his 75 million record sale milestone (Image: elvispresleymusic.com.au)
Elvis Presley at the February 1961 press event wearing the diamond-set Omega watch that was gifted to him to mark his 75 million record sale milestone (Image: elvispresleymusic.com.au)

The individual, who brought the watch to Phillips for the sale, shared with the auction house that his uncle — safe to assume an individual close to Presley — once expressed his admiration for the watch to Presley himself. And Presley in his kindness, offered to trade his Omega for the diamond studded Hamilton the admirer was wearing. Done deal.

Elvis Presley wearing his Hamilton Ventura
Elvis Presley wearing his Hamilton Ventura

Phillips Watches has, of course, gone the distance to further authenticate the watch with the Elvis Presley Museum and Omega.

Written statement from Founder/CEO of the Elvis Presley Museum (Image: phillipswatches.com)
Written statement from Founder/CEO of the Elvis Presley Museum (Image: phillipswatches.com)
Written statement from the Elvis Presley Museum (Image: phillipswatches.com)
Written statement from the Elvis Presley Museum (Image: phillipswatches.com)

So, what we have then is a watch, that marked a significant achievement in the career of one of the greatest musicians in the 20th century, certified by two authorities from two different spectrums. Provenance like that doesn’t come up — not even in the hands of Phillips Watches — everyday. And if this is just their first watch from the May 2018 catalog, we can expect greater things to come in the buildup to auction weekend in Geneva.

A diamond-set Omega wristwatch formerly the property of Elvis Presley, certified by both the Elvis Presley Museum and Omega (Image: phillipswatches.com)
A diamond-set Omega wristwatch formerly the property of Elvis Presley, certified by both the Elvis Presley Museum and Omega (Image: phillipswatches.com)

Daytona Ultimatum & Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN sale

Dates: 12-13 May 2018

Location: Hotel La Reserve, 301 Route de Lausanne, Geneva

phillipswatches.com

Editor’s Note: Read more about the King and his watches here.

More about the February 25, 1961 Memphis event here: elvispresleymusic.com.au