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.
Scuba diving is testament to mankind’s ingenuity in overcoming natural barriers, and dive watches are one of the best examples this. Combining precise engineering and looks into an accessory for an activity that humans shouldn’t really be doing is why dive watches have a soft spot in our hearts here at WKOW.
So, if you’re thinking about purchasing a dive watch for that 2019 holiday, or potentially saving for that special splurge or even ‘holy grail’ timepiece, this guide will definitely point you in the right direction without getting your feet wet.
The main functions of a high-quality dive watch is to allow scuba divers to keep a record on the dive time, under pressure by using a rotating (or analog) bezel that allows the wearer to pre-select a period of time up to 60 minutes. This allows the wearer to understand their dive time, and then calculate maximum dive time before hazardous gases build up in their blood system. Diving is by its a nature a risky sport, so the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether your dive watch is going to give way mid-dive, leaving you more vulnerable than is necessary. This is where technical specifications and user reviews come into play.
The robustness will be tested underwater. Yes, you’ve got additional pressure from water above, but watches also get banged around a lot whilst diving. This can be from rocks, coral, your own tank/gear and even fine sea particles such as sand and seaweed can play havoc to the durability of a dive watch.
This one is pretty obvious, but it’s also important to be realistic with exactly how much water resistance you really need. ie If you’ll mostly be using it snorkelling, buying a 500m water resistant watch is most likely overkill.
We all love a sexy design, but don’t just base important gear decision on looks. Instead, make sure it has the features you’re going to use the most. This doesn’t mean you need to go for the highest-price model simply because it has the most features. If you aren’t going to use the feature, you’re basically adding extra expense for no benefit.
I’m a certified diver and personally prefer a simple design when I’m diving because I don’t want to be wasting my dive time playing around with features, dials and buttons. This is time I can spend hanging out with my dorsal appendaged friends. That said, we’ve included a range of watches for different budgets, styles, preferences and dive levels (ie newly certified has different requirements than a pro diver) in the round up of our 7 favorite dive watches below:
Seiko Prospex Padi Solar
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
These Padi licensed Seiko models are water resistant up to 200 meters (656 ft), made of stainless steel and the overall look is quite appealing with a smaller form factor than some of the more bulkier dive watches on the market.
The crystal is made out of a Seiko proprietary hardened mineral crystal called “Hardlex”. This material is more impact resistant, but slightly less scratch resistant than sapphire crystal. The Lumibrite on hands and indexes allows for easy dial reading for at least 4 hours once fully charged by a light source.
The word Prospex implies professional specifications and these watches don’t disappoint the budget conscious diver that also needs precise engineering. With a lower price point, you’d be forgiven for splurging a little more on that new Go Pro you’ve been eyeing…
This is the best dive watch in our list for the budget conscious or recently certified divers that don’t want to fork out loads on their first dive watch.
Where this model really departs from its predecessors is the technology and associated attention to detail. They’ve removed the satin aluminium inserts from the unidirectional rotating bezel and replaced with scratch resistant ceramic inserts. And, perhaps the biggest improvement to design is the use of liquid metal, rather than traditional casting and subsequent machining. This produces a very precise, strong and corrosion resistant timepiece.
This level of engineering finds its way throughout the entire watch, including the movement system. Powered by the Omega 8500 caliber Co-Axial based automatic movement which has been widely regarded as a robust and precise movement system. This is a true competitor and alternative to the Rolex Submariner.
One of the main drawbacks of the new Planet Ocean’s technology is that they are a few millimeters thicker. This has left some enthusiasts shaking their head as one of the Seamaster’s long running standout traits has been its slim, elegant design. This Omega has been known to actually feel thicker than it is.
The bold design with broad arrow hands and gloss dials, works effortlessly with the well proportioned, precise engineering contained within this iconic and practical Omega that James Bond still wears to this day. This is definitely one to consider if you have the budget and want a stylish, practical and superbly engineered dive watch.
Swiss made with automatic hand movement, this Tudor has been gaining in popularity with divers since the Pelagos’ rebirth in 2012. Because it is made of titanium, it is lighter than its stainless steel counterparts, which is a great feature if you plan on this watch being your everyday “desk diver” too. The titanium case and bracelet have a brushed finished, which makes it stand out from a traditionally high-polished finish of a stainless steel and tends to hide scratches very well.
Not sure what titanium in watches is all about? Read our article on Stainless Steel vs Titanium as a primer.
In 2015, Tudor introduced its own revamped movement system, the MT56 12 with a 70 hour power reserve. The saphire crystal is completely flat, eliminating any distortion that a raised crystal provides, which is a handy underwater feature. The build quality can be felt and heard in the click of the bezel as you move it.
The Tudor Pelagos is much more than a “cheaper” version of its big brother, Rolex. The titanium build provides a sophisticated , lightweight alternative to a Submariner or Planet Ocean and is very worthy of at least adding to your diver shortlist. At least try and check out the brilliant deep blue version as we’ve found it to be very striking, whilst remaining elegant for those dinner occasions.
There are two main versions of the Submariner; with and without a date plus magnifier. The non-date version costs about $1,000 less and is arguably the more popular of the two. It was also the original as the date version only came in later.
Featuring a 40mm wide case crafted from a single block of a corrosive-resistant 904L steel, and a turning bezel made from Cerachom (a type of ceramic) which makes it extremely resistant to scratching, fading and corrosion. The movement is controlled by the in-house Rolex Calibre 3130. An important visual and functional feature is the winding crown, which closes much like a submarine latch.
This video shows the beauty of the Submariner close up in all its beauty:
The Submariner isn’t just renowned by divers (incl Navy Seals), or for precise engineering. It redefined what it meant to own a prestige timepiece. You certainly do pay a premium for the Rolex brand, but in return, you know you’re getting an incredibly engineered watch that will last for many years and is universally loved and admired. Indeed, a significant factor for many in purchasing this watch is for the status, announcing to the world that you’ve made it. Don’t let this fool you though, the Submariner is a serious dive watch and definitely worth considering.
The 41 mm case features alternating polished and brushed stainless steel, bringing a casual elegance to this watch. The biggest change in recent years has been the addition of the ceramic bezel. Similar to Rolex’s Submariner and Omega’s Planet Ocean, the ceramic rotating bezel allows this TAG to take an absolute beating without scratching, fading or corroding. This is a massive feature for a dive watch given that it’s very common to bang your hands on all sorts of rocks, corals, sand and other general underwater hazards whilst diving.
But, the Aquaracer is considerably more affordable than a Submariner or Planet Ocean, making it a great entry-level dive watch for collectors and wearers.
The Aquaracer uses a rubber strap and comes in both chronograph (three-counter calibre 16) and automatic (Calibre 5) models. The chronograph models are generally around $1,000 more than the automatic models. Both models are quality, durable diving watches.
Check out this detailed review on the Aquaracer below – FWIW, I don’t think this diver deserves any hate!
What I like a lot about the Aquaracer is that it doesn’t try and be a Submariner clone. It is bold and unique in its own right. Go elsewhere for a Submariner clone. Choose a Tag Heuer Aquaracer if you want an extremely durable Swiss-engineered dive watch that has many of the features that rival its more expensive counterparts.
The 49mm case is the largest in our roundup of favorite watches for 2019, so it’s mainly worn by men and you’d definitely want to put it on your wrist before buying. Other notable features are the ceramic unidirectional bezel which is great for resisting scratches and bumps, anti-reflective sapphire window and a date window at 6 O’clock. Aesthetically, the subtle waves behind the dial give it a smooth look against black face and the luminous indicators work well at night.
This watch definitely makes a statement, and whilst it may not have the same branding appeal as a Rolex or Omega, it is definitely a great piece of diving gear if you prefer slightly larger timepieces that won’t weigh you down. We’ve seen some good deals on these men’s models too, so don’t be afraid to shop around.
The simple, practical design with a stainless steel case and silicone strap performs very well under low light conditions, with bold, luminous hands, hour markers and graduations on the unidirectional stainless steel bezel. Bezel rotation is met with solid, deep clicks – something that is often missing in less expensive dive watches. The date function features a magnified display for easy reading.
This should be on your radar if you want a practical dive watch rated to 500m, but aren’t prepared to fork out thousands more for brand or prestige appeal. It is a very good piece for the price and worthy of consideration.
What’s your favorite dive watch to consider for 2019? Feel like we’ve left out some worthy tool watches? Let us know in the comments below. Happy diving!
James Bond wore the Omega Seamaster Professional 300m in GoldenEye. The movie represented a major upheaval for the Bond franchise, with major recasting and legal issues coming to the forefront of production. Still, the movie was a commercial success and cemented Brosnan’s role as the Gentleman Spy.
GoldenEye follows the story of James Bond and fellow 00 Agent Alec Trevelyan who are investigating a chemical weapons facility when they are caught and Trevelyan supposedly dies in an explosion. 9 Years later, the Janus Crime Syndicate has taken control of a cold-war era space satellite weapon known as the GoldenEye. James Bond is sent to investigate and ultimately stop Janus from using this weapon. James discovers that Janus is actually Agent Trevelyan who did not die in the explosion a decade ago, but felt betrayed after the whole ordeal and dedicated his life to revenge.
GoldenEye was the 17th film in the James Bond series and the first to feature Pierce Brosnan as the spy. GoldenEye was the first James Bond film I ever saw personally and came to represent the series in my mind for quite some time. This might be showing my age a little, but I also loved the Nintendo 64 version of the videogame – this was easily the best multiplayer shoot-em-up of its time. The movie was released in 1995 after a 6 year hiatus caused by legal disputes with Timothy Dalton. The movie, in addition to recasting Bond, recast the roles of Moneypenny and M for the first time. The movie made $360M on a $60M budget.
The below video is of the famous train escape scene, where Bond’s Seamaster features a laser which he uses to cut a whole through the steel train floor to escape:
The quartz movement watch requires a battery to operate. The crystal is scratch resistant sapphire. The watch is also water resistant to 300 meters, making it a quality choice if you’re in the market for a genuine dive watch. This is a beautiful, functional watch that any James Bond fan, collector, or watch lover would enjoy.
Casino Royale was Daniel Craig’s first movie as James Bond, and the 21st film in the series. It stands out because it is a complete reboot of the James Bond series, setting up an alternate universe and timeline for the character. Casino Royale made a great restarting point for the franchise, as it is the first book Flemming originally penned about the spy. It would gain the title of highest grossing Bond film of all time, with $600M – a record that would only by broken by another Craig Bond, 2012’s Skyfall.
Casino Royale follows fictional MI6 spy James Bond as he earns his license to kill and 00-status. As a newly minted 00 agent, Bond is sent on his first assignment: To track down a banker to the wealthy criminal elite, a man known as “Le Chiffre”. Bond infiltrates Le Chiffre’s organization and engages in a high stakes game of poker.