INTERNATIONAL - A 1960 Omega watch that belonged to Elvis Presley sold for $1.8 million at an auction by Phillips, setting a record price for the Swiss watch brand.
The 18-carat white-gold wristwatch sold for 18 times the high estimate. RCA Records gave Presley the watch as a commemoration for selling 75 million records.
The Geneva spring auction season kicked off Saturday with watch sales by New York- and London-based Phillips, which has emerged as the leading auction house for rare vintage timepieces, ahead of Christie’s and Sotheby’s. In October, Phillips set the record for the most expensive wristwatch ever auctioned with the $17.8 million sale of a Rolex that once belonged to actor Paul Newman.
Phillips also held an auction of Rolex Daytonas, one of the most sought-after models for collectors, amassing $22.2 million total. The top piece was a one-of-a-kind 1970s Rolex that fetched $5.9 million, the second-highest auction price for the brand. Dubbed “The Unicorn,” the chronograph has a black dial and a white-gold bracelet made with a texture that mimics tree bark. It spent years in a private collection, and the proceeds will be donated to charity.
Sotheby’s, which held a $6.6 million watch auction Sunday, sold a stainless-steel Rolex Daytona Paul Newman for $948,000, more than double the high estimate. The timepiece’s three smaller dials, originally black when the watch was made in 1969, have naturally faded into a toffee brown.
Christie’s holds its watch auction Monday, with highlights including a Rolex Oyster and two timepieces by Patek Philippe, all of which are estimated to be worth as much as $1 million.
The Geneva season will then turn to jewelry auctions over the following two days. The top lots on offer include an oval 51.71-carat diamond ring that’s expected to sell for as much as $9 million at Sotheby’s and a 50.47-carat Harry Winston diamond ring that may fetch as much as $7 million at Christie’s.