The Auction Hammer: Elvis Presley’s Omega Constellation
It’s Now or Never, or it will be at the Antiquorum sale of Important Modern and Vintage Timepieces in New York on December 11. If You’re Lonesome that night you might want to take yourself downtown to Madison Avenue where among the highlights will be the rare sighting of a c.1960 Omega Constellation, which was once owned and worn by a king. And not just any old king either, we’re talking about The King himself – Elvis Presley!
Charlie Hodge, a successful musician himself, became a close friend of Presley during their time together when both were serving in the US Army. The two struck up a lasting chemistry between them, and their friendship would endure until the Legend’s death, with Hodge a faithful and loyal aide and counsel, and even residing in Graceland for 16 years. Presley’s Omega Constellation regularly drew admiring comments from his friend, and eventually Hodge was made a gift of the watch as a token of their bond.
The Elvis Presley Omega Constellation features the Cal. 504 manual winding chronometer movement with date, and is presented in a pink gold-capped stainless steel case, with gold decagonal crown and stainless steel caseback with pink gold-plated Constellation motif at centre. The black dial with cross-hair division and date window at the 3, has applied gold hour indices with luminous inserts, gold text and Omega logo and is in a refreshed condition with original pink gold dauphine hands.
The case is described as ‘3’ or ‘good’, and indeed it has clearly not been gathering dust for a large part of its life. It bears the signs of a watch which has seen regular active service, although there are no notable dings or dents, just very minor pitting and scratches. The Plexiglas however does have a few more prominent scratches, but who would change that? The watch is sold on a leather strap with pink gold-plated tang buckle.
Obviously the provenance of the watch has been looked into, and an accompanying letter from Hodge, as well as photographic records with Elvis wearing the watch means there is no chance this Omega Constellation might be a Hound Dog.
Antiquorum estimate that the winning bid will fall between $10,000 and $20,000, but I just can’t help believin’ that this sale could get interesting. If you’re interested in bidding, you might want to have your Good Luck Charm by your side, or you might end up spending a Blue Christmas, in your personal Heartbreak Hotel, and ruing what might have been.
Elsewhere on the same catalog and possibly worthy of an historical footnote is a Patek Philippe Ref. 1463, an 18Kt yellow gold manual winding chronograph which was gifted in 1959 by Governor Nelson A. Rockefella to his Counsel Roswell B. Perkins for his services during the Governor’s time in office. The piece features a matte silver dial with tachymetre scale and applied gold Breguet arabic numerals and estimates are between $150,000 – $200,000
For those who missed out on Zenith’s mid-life crisis, where although the watchmaking remained cutting edge, the designs were…., let’s just say ‘challenging’, the opportunity to acquire the Zenith Defy Xtreme Zero-G Tourbillon Titanium, with its gravity-defying tourbillon and sunken decentralized dial draped in a black DLC case, might be a chance to bag a bargain, as estimates range widely from $100,000 – $300,000. That represents a bit of a fall-off when compared to the original list price of almost $546,000.
The Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon, is another which certainly qualifies as something of a horlogic ‘novelty’ with its tourbillon, and best of all a fully operational slot machine. I loved the frivolity and the technicality of this watch at the time, and on seeing it in the Antiquorum catalogue those old feelings stirred once more. Its condition is described as ‘like new’ and price estimates are between $160,000 and $210,000.
The 11 December Antiquorum auction in New York has much, much more to offer, so head on over to their website to flip through the catalogue!