An attractive, rare, and historically important white gold wristwatch with diamond-set bezel and subsidiary seconds, retailed by Tiffany & Co.

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  • Manufacturer: Omega
    Year: 1960
    Reference No: H6582/D96043
    Movement No: 15'926'025
    Material: 18K white gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 510, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K white gold Omega pin buckle
    Dimensions: 32.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed, dial further signed Tiffany & Co.
    Accessories: Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, Omega Extract from the Archives and a letter from the Founder/CEO of the Elvis Presley Museum, the book ELVIS by Dave Marsh and two vinyl records: "Elvis is back" and "Uncle Green 15 Dryden"

  • Catalogue Essay

    So often in the careers of great men and women of history, there came a point in time where they were told their talents were not sufficient to realize their dreams. In the case of Elvis Presley, these words came early and often – in the halls of his high school, early auditions, in the failure of his earliest acetate albums – as he was told very clearly that not only could he not sing, but also the music that captured his interest had no real value. The end of 1953 saw a dramatic change in attitudes towards Presley’s viability as a singer and performer, and by the end of the decade he was a musical phenomenon who electrified millions of attendees at his live performances and sold an unprecedented number of records under the stewardship of RCA Records, the record company he signed with in late 1955.

    From the mid-1950s until his untimely death in 1977 Elvis had an active role in creating the modern American musical landscape and the development of a unique youth culture. Elvis’ importance to the inception of rock and roll, and contemporary music as a whole, cannot be understated. His image has transcended the categories of the music he played and the movies he starred in to become a cornerstone of modern pop culture. Depicted in every material form imaginable, his estate at Graceland remains a pilgrimage site for fans of his music. In 2010, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. held an exhibit entitled “One Life: Echoes of Elvis, ” giving scope to the impact of Elvis on American history and culture.

    The recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee opened by RCA Records in 1957 remains open today, located in the historic Music Row. Elvis recorded many of his overwhelming number of hit records throughout the late 1950s and 1960s at the very same location. In February of 1961, at a charity luncheon and subsequent concert arranged by the record company with the governor of Tennessee and the mayor of Memphis present, RCA Records presented Presley with a plaque commemorating the 75 million records he had sold worldwide. Accompanying this plaque, which remains at Graceland to this day, RCA Records also gifted this Tiffany-signed Omega wristwatch to Presley. The 25th of February 1961 was proclaimed ‘Elvis Presley Day’ and the singer was made an Honorary Colonel of the city of Memphis. The concert itself was an immense success, raising $51,612 for various Memphis charities and the Elvis Presley Youth Center in his hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi.

    With regards to the watch itself, the case back inscription reads:

    “To Elvis
    75 Million Records
    RCA Victor
    12-25-60”

    Elvis is the second all-time best-selling musician, and the best-selling individual artist behind The Beatles, having sold in excess of 500 million albums. 1960 was a particularly eventful year for Elvis’ popularity, and Christmas of that year marks a peak in visibility and success. Having steadily released content recorded in anticipation of Elvis’ hiatus between 1958 and 1960 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, RCA Records was eager for Elvis to return to the studio. In March and April of 1960, Elvis recorded Elvis is Back!, released on April 8th, 1960, and then in October of 1960, Elvis recorded His Hand In Mine, released on November 10th. On December 25th, 1960, Elvis had two well-attended movies in theaters, Flaming Star and G.I. Blues, as well as both the number one single in the United States, “Are You Lonesome Tonight” and the United Kingdom, “It’s Now Or Never.” Research suggests that December 25th marks the actual date Elvis reached 75 million records, and RCA arranged the laudatory charity luncheon and concert not only to award Elvis for such a significant achievement, but also to reestablish Elvis as a performer. Elvis was likely the first artist, individual or otherwise, to ever reach 75 million records sold.

    The incredible provenance of this historic timepiece is furthermore confirmed by photos of Presley wearing the watch at the charitable concert that followed the luncheon, as well as certificates of authenticity from the Elvis Presley Museum. According to a statement made by the owner of the present lot, and part and parcel with Elvis’ modus operandi with his personal watches, the watch was given to the current owner’s uncle after he had expressed his admiration. Spotting the diamond studded Hamilton the admirer was wearing, Elvis proposed a trade, and they quickly swapped the pieces. Elvis was known to have owned quite an array of watches, and a selection of those were presented to him on particularly significant occasions. More than that, however, Elvis was known to give away his watches if someone expressed desire or admiration, such as with the gold Omega Constellation he bequeathed to a fellow musician and former US Army veteran, which sold at auction in 2016.

    Other watches owned or purportedly owned by Elvis Presley have come to auction in the years since the King’s death, either along with other Presley memorabilia or from the estates of subsequent owners. None, however, mark as great a moment in his career. Scholars largely agree the years up to 1958 and Elvis’ induction into the US Army as the peak of Elvis’ career, where his eminence as a musician, actor and pop culture icon converged to reach mass popularity and influence. Reaching 75 million records in 1960, after two years in the US Army, robbed of the chance to record and perform, was an incredible feat. Musically, the charity concert itself marks the re-entry of Elvis into the realm of live performance, a place where he was largely seen as masterful and in command, where he truly belonged as an artist and performer.

    The watch is cased in 18k white gold, housing a manually-wound Omega calibre 510 stamped with the ‘OXG’ import code for the United States, which aligns with the ‘Tiffany & Co.’ signature under the Omega signature and applied logo. The bezel is set with forty-four brilliant cut diamonds, accenting slim, elongated hour markers and an elegant silvered ivory dial. Omega confirms the movement for this piece was supplied to their American agent at the time, the Norman Morris Corporation, and manufactured in 1958. The case was made by American case manufacturer Jonell Watch Case Company, Inc., located in Long Island City, New York, which supplied cases for Omega’s American distributors until at least 1965.

    We are humbled and thrilled to present the current lot that once belonged to the man who simply said, in response to questions regarding his popularity, “All I do is sing and dance a little.”

  • Maker Bio

    Omega

    Swiss • 1848

    Omega's rich history begins with its founder, Louis Brandt, who established the firm in 1848 in La Chaux de Fonds. In 1903, the company changed its name to Omega, becoming the only watch brand in history to have been named after one its own movements. A full-fledged manufacturer of highly accurate, affordable and reliable watches, its sterling reputation enabled them to be chosen as the first watch company to time the Olympic Games beginning in 1932. Its continued focus on precision and reliability ultimately led their Speedmaster chronograph wristwatch to be chosen by NASA in 1965 — the first watch worn on the moon.

    Key models sought-after by collectors include their first, oversized water-resistant chronograph — the reference 2077, early Speedmaster models such as the CK 2915 and 2998, military-issued versions of the Seamaster and oversized chronometer models such as those fitted with their prestigious caliber 30T2Rg.

    View More Works

160

Omega

Ref. H6582/D96043
An attractive, rare, and historically important white gold wristwatch with diamond-set bezel and subsidiary seconds, retailed by Tiffany & Co.

1960
32.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed, dial further signed Tiffany & Co.

Estimate
CHF50,000 - 100,000 
€42,900-85,700
$52,900-106,000

sold for CHF1,812,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018