He may have been known as the King of Rock and Roll… but should he have also been called the King of Personalised Gifts?
Music legend Elvis Presley was notorious for having expensive taste, building his own collection of valuable watches, jewellery and cars.
As well as buying them for himself, he bought hundreds of similar gifts for others. At one stage he developed a penchant for Cadillacs, and was so prolific at gifting them to friends and family members that he was even known to surprise them on total strangers.
And, as you would expect with a man lauded the world over, the man from Mississippi had gifts coming to him from all quarters.
One such gift was to mark a very special milestone in his career.
In December of 1960, Elvis surpassed anyone else in history for the greatest number of records ever sold. His label, RCA Records, arranged a celebratory event for the occasion and presented the singer with an exclusive timepiece.
The watch was a diamond-set Omega model, made in white 18 carat gold and bought from Tiffany.
On the back was engraved: “TO ELVIS / 75 MILLION RECORDS / RCA VICTOR / 12 – 25 – 60”. This complemented a plaque which is now on display at Graceland.
The story of how it came to auction is an interesting one, as it left the Presley estate many decades ago.
The current family came in to possession of the watch through a chance encounter that their uncle had with the singer. Sitting in a bar in Las Vegas, he found himself on the stool next to the biggest act in the city.
Elvis noticed the uncle’s Hamilton timepiece on his wrist and said, “Eh, nice watch”. The uncle looked at the opposite Omega one and said, “Eh, nice watch. Wanna swap?”
And so the exchange was made.
Whatever happened to the Hamilton watch, we don’t know.
But we do know that, unlike the Omega, it is not now sitting in an auction house with an estimated $100,000 selling price.
And why is it considered such a valuable item? Well, we at Engravers Guild would that it’s not for the 18 carat gold case, it’s not for the Tiffany or Omega names, it’s not even for the 40 sapphire diamonds that surround the dial… it’s for the personal engraving.