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Elvis Presley's Diamond-Encrusted Omega Watch To Be Auctioned Off

Elvis Presley's customized watch will be auctioned in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday.
Elvis Presley's customized watch will be auctioned in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday.

More than 40 years after his death, the King's legacy ticks on.

On Saturday, Phillips will sell an Omega watch once owned by Elvis Presley at an auction in Geneva, Switzerland. The watch was presented to Elvis by RCA Records executives in commemoration of his 75 millionth record sale. It features an 18K white gold case encrusted with 44 diamonds in its bezel. Originally retailed by Tiffany & Co. — whose signature appears below Omega's on the watch's face — it carries a custom inscription commissioned by RCA.

The watch's inscription commemorates Elvis's record sales.
/ Courtesy of Phillips
The watch's inscription commemorates Elvis's record sales.

The inscription reads:

"To Elvis

75 Million Records

RCA Victor

12-25-60"

NPR spoke with Alex Ghotbi, head of sales for Phillips Watches in Geneva, about the story behind the watch and how it found its way to an auction more than 50 years after being presented to Elvis.

Ghotbi says Elvis liked his watch — he was photographed several times wearing it — but not enough to keep it forever.

The watch features an 18k white gold case with forty-four diamonds encircling the face.
/ Courtesy of Phillips
The watch features an 18k white gold case with forty-four diamonds encircling the face.

Elvis was wearing the watch one day at a table in a Las Vegas casino when another man sat next to him. The man complimented Elvis's diamond-studded wrist piece and Elvis returned the compliment, remarking on the man's watch, a Hamilton with diamonds of its own.

And then, according to Ghotbi, "Elvis suggests that they trade watches, which they did."

Now, decades after that momentous trade, it will find a new owner at auction. Phillips estimates the watch will fetch between $52,900 and $106,000 on Saturday.

NPR's Ian Wren produced this story for digital.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.