A 1960 Omega watch that belonged to Elvis Presley, the American “king of rock ‘n’ roll”, sold for US$1.8 million at an auction by Phillips, setting a record price for the Swiss watch brand.

The 18ct white-gold, diamond-encrusted timepiece sold for 18 times the highest estimate.

RCA Records gave Presley the watch to commemorate the singer selling 75 million records.

Presley’s manually winding Omega calibre 510, adorned with 44 round diamonds, features the logo of Tiffany & Co – the company that originally sold the watch – beneath the name of Omega at 12 o’clock on the dial.

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The back case of the watch carries the inscription: “TO ELVIS, 75 MILLION RECORDS, RCA VICTOR, 12-25-60” – marking the date, December 25, 1960, when Presley’s record sales reached that landmark.

The Geneva spring auction season started on 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 had a sale dedicated to Rolex Daytonas, one of the most sought-after collectors’ models.

It sold a one-of-a-kind 1970s Rolex for 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.

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It spent years in a private collection, and on Saturday made its first public appearance at an auction. The proceeds will be donated to charity.

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