***FINAL OUTCOME: Elvis Presley Omega Constellation Sells For Record $42,000 ***
Update: My inquiry to Antiquorum has been responded to. See notes in bold italics below:
Up for auction next week by Antiquorum is a black dial Omega Constellation reported to be previously owned by King of Rock N’ Roll Elvis Presley. The pre-sale estimate is $10,000 – $20,000, which seems reasonable given that, interestingly, this exact watch was sold by Heritage Auctions in December 2011 for $15,535. But I did find it mildly curious that the watch is up for auction only six months after it was purchased, so I reached out to an Omega Constellation expert for his thoughts on this watch — he was less than impressed for a number of reasons, some of which I will recount here along with my own thoughts .
While the dial appears to be original and not refinished (good) Antiquorum states that the dial has had some servicing, the watch appears to have a new 18k gold plate crown when of course it should have 14k pink gold plaque one to match the watch (see closeup below) — this fact is not noted in Antiquorum’s condition report, as it should have been, if this is in fact the case (Antiquorum confirmed the crown is replaced. I am disappointed that these important details are not noted in the condition report).
If I were buying this watch I would want to see a more proof of its provenance. Antiquorum has confirmed to me that their only evidence of provenance is the Charlie Hodge letter. While it is easy to link this watch to Charlie Hodge, what verifiable evidence carries it from Hodge back to Elvis, other than Hodge’s written letter? I have nothing against Charlie Hodge (don’t know the man), but as I learned from the fake Howard Hughes Patek Philippe that Christie’s sold, taking a man’s word is not good enough. Verifiable lineage of a watch’s provenance is needed, and for this Elvis Presley Omega, I would like to see some more proof linking it to Elvis — not just a heartfelt letter and some fuzzy photos.
Speaking of photos — I have seen or heard from two independent sources now that the watch that Elvis is wearing in the Antiquorum photos is a Caliber 503 Seamaster Calendar, not a Constellation as the Lot listing would have us believe. So, is the watch in the photos a Cal 503 Seamaster or a Constellation? And what should we take from this? When asked specifically if the watch Elvis is wearing in the photo is the same as the Omega Constellation offered for sale, Antiquorum states: “Yes, we believe so.” And on what basis was this determination made? “It appears to be the same watch when examining the watch in person and looking at the enlarged photo.” Clearly this is subject to debate, as other independent and unrelated parties believe the watch Elvis is wearing in the photo is a Cal 503 Seamaster.
Antiquorum has confirmed to me that their only evidence of provenance is the Charlie Hodge letter.
This along with the disputed photographic evidence of Elvis wearing the Constellation, I reiterate that — for me personally — this is not enough and I would like to see more proof of provenance.
Also as I alluded to earlier I find it odd to see the watch offered for sale only six months since it last changed hands, but there could be many reasons for this. These things said, I am not an Elvis memorabilia expert and I have not dug much deeper than this, so please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or insights on this watch and its provenance.
OMEGA BLACK DIAL CONSTELLATION CALENDAR PREVIOUSLY OWNED BY ELVIS PRESLEY
Lot details as provided by Antiquorum:
Omega, Constellation, Calendar, Chronomètre, Officially Certified, No. 16881537, Ref. KO 2943. Circa 1960. center seconds, water-resistant, stainless steel and pink gold-capped chronometer wristwatch with black dial and a gold-plated Omega buckle.
the watch appears to have a new 18k gold plate crown when of course it should have 14k pink gold plaque one to match the watch — look closely and you can see the color difference:
More lot details, per Antiquorum:
Elvis Presley and Charlie Hodge Charlie Hodge was a member of the Foggy Bottom Boys gospel group and a long time friend of Elvis Presley. While the two had met briefl y backstage when they both played in Memphis, Tennessee, it was when they were drafted into the army that they became close friends. They were reacquainted at Fort Hood in Texas, traveled to Europe together as bunkmates, and spent signifi cant time together while stationed in Germany, taking leave and traveling the continent together. Hodge worked for Elvis throughout the 1970s, providing back up vocals and guitar as well as supplying Elvis with water and his famous scarves during live shows. As detailed in the accompanying letter, Elvis gifted the Omega to Hodge after he repeatedly told Elvis that he admired the piece. Hodge additionally states that he ‘lived at Graceland… for 16 years until Elvis’ passing” in the letter, describing his close relationship with Elvis and his work with him through the years.
Accompanied by a letter of attestation from Charlie Hodge, shown here as sourced from Heritage Auctions Dec 2011: