Elvis Presly (@elvis) was a much loved American singer and actor. The “King of Rock and Roll” has been credited by Rolling Stone as ‘single-handedly changed the course of music and culture in the mid-1950s’ . His voice, presence, dancing, clothing and sleek good looks allowed him to reach heights no artist had before him.
Given his impeccable style, it’s not surprising that Elvis held a strong appreciation for watches, boasting an impressive collection, and often using watches as a vehicle for appreciation. There are numerous witness accounts of him giving away watches as presents.
Whilst not an exhaustive list, the below gives you a good overview of the types of watches Elvis adored.
This watch made headlines in 2018 when it sold at auction for $1.8 Milliion – a record for an Omega watch. The watch was a gift to Elvis from his record company, RCA Records, for selling 75 million records. The story goes that Elvis swapped this watch to the seller’s uncle after the uncle expressed admiration for the King’s Tiffany Omega. Elvis, being the generous soul he was, offered to swap it for the uncle’s diamond studded Hamilton.
The watch is an 18K white gold Omega with 44 round cut diamonds on the bezel, Tiffany & Co stamped on the dial, 33mm case and is powered by a manual caliber 510 movement. Engraved on the back is “To Elvis, 75 Million Records, RCA Victor, 12-25-60.”
It was not out of pure chivalry that Elvis swapped his Tiffany Omega for a Hamilton. He was really quite fond of the asymmetrical design. Most notably wearing a Hamilton Ventura in the 1961 film, Blue Hawaii. Elvis reportedly owned several Hamilton’s and even gave some away as presents.
Hamilton watches have a polarizing history – you either love the design, or you don’t. The early success of the Ventura has been largely attributed to it being the first battery powered watch that the public was able to afford and the futuristic design by Richard Arbib. Hamilton re-released the Ventura in 2017 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the initial 1957 release. The new Classic Ventura features a case with dimensions 32.3mm x 50.3mm, quartz movement and a leather strap. Given the relative affordability of the Hamilton Ventura, this watch is within reach for most Elvis fans.Check out the Hamilton Ventura on Amazon
Elvis was clearly an Omega fan, with the Omega Constellation also featuring prominently during the years he served for the US Army. He was stationed in Germany with friend, and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Charlie Hodge from 1958 to 1960. Charlie often praised and commented Presley on the watch, leading to Presley eventually giving the watch to Charlie as a present. The watch was auctioned in 2012, fetching $52,500.The watch itself is an Omega Constellation with a black face, “sniper” dial with gold dauphine hands, and gold capping showing the date at 3 o’clock with raised indices and a stainless steel caseback. Movement is controlled by a Cal. 504 manual winding chronometer.
Whilst the King’s Omega Constellation probably won’t be coming up for auction again anytime soon, Omega still makes the Constellation if you share similar tastes to Elvis and want to own one yourself.
Elvis was a true watch aficionado with tastes ranging through all price points. On the more exclusive end was his collection of Rolex’s, including the Rolex Submariner “Big Crown” worn in the 1962 movie Girls, Girls, Girls. There’s numerous scenes in the movie where he proudly sports the Rolex Submariner 6538 “Big Crown”, as shown in the image above. Coincidentally, this watch became famous for being the watch that Sean Connery wore in the first Bond film, Dr No, which also came out in 1962. It’s fitting that such a revered pop icon chose to wear a watch that would also go on to become an icon in its own right.
As the nickname suggests, the watch features an over sized winding crown without any crown guards. Controlled by Rolex’s Calibre 1030 movement, the early Submariner’s dial focuses on simplicity, as they don’t have day or date functions as these only came in later models (1960 onwards).We aren’t sure what happened to Elvis’s Submariner. Given how popular the “Big Crown” is with watch collectors anyway, adding certified Elvis ownership would certainly have this watch fetching big money at auctions – perhaps even rivaling the $1.8M of the Tiffany Omega. If you want your own Girls, Girls, Girls watch, you can always invest in a modern Rolex Submariner, or for something more affordable, a Casio MDV106-1A is a solid, practical option.