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Elvis' diamond Omega watch fetches US$1.8m in auction

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[ZURICH] A 1960 Omega watch that belonged to Elvis Presley sold for US$1.8 million at an auction by Phillips, setting a record price for the Swiss watch brand.

The 18-carat white-gold wristwatch sold for 18 times the high estimate. RCA Records gave Presley the watch as a commemoration when the musician sold 75 million records.

The Geneva spring auction season started Saturday with watch sales by New York- and London-based Phillips, which has emerged as the leading auction house for rare vintage timepieces, ahead of Christie’s and Sotheby’s. In October, Phillips set the record for the most expensive wristwatch ever auctioned with the US$17.8 million sale of a Rolex that once belonged to actor Paul Newman.

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Phillips also held a sale that was dedicated solely to Rolex Daytonas, one of the most sought-after models for collectors. It sold a one-of-a-kind 1970s Rolex that fetched US$5.9 million, the second-highest auction price for the brand. Dubbed “The Unicorn,” the chronograph has a black dial and a white-gold bracelet made with a texture that mimics tree bark. It spent years in a private collection, and Saturday made its first public appearance at an auction. The proceeds will be donated to charity.

BLOOMBERG