Elvis Presley defined early rock ‘n’ roll. As a child, he showed an interest in music and by the time he turned twenty, he had quickly risen to fame around the globe. Although his life was cut short at the young age of 42, his music and contribution to the genre continue to inspire and influence artists today.
Elvis was born to a working-class family in a small town in Mississippi. Religion was a major part of his upbringing, and gospel music one of his early musical influences. He received his first guitar as a gift for this eleventh birthday. From that moment forward, Elvis knew he wanted to pursue music.
After graduating from high school in 1953, he worked various odd jobs while trying to work on his craft. Later that year, he cut his first demo. Before long, the owner of the record label took Elvis under his wing.
Elvis continued recording and began touring. He released his first hit single in 1954—“That’s All Right.” A year later, he signed with RCA Records. By 1956, he dropped his first number one single, “Heartbreak Hotel,” and his self-titled album also hit number one on the charts.
Elvis was a sensation. He not only dominated radio but also television and film. He was signed by Paramount Pictures, and his first project, Love Me Tender, was a major hit.
When he was drafted into the Army in 1957, Elvis put his career on hold. He returned three years later at the top of the charts with the 1960 release of the soundtrack to GI Blues—it was as if he’d never left the spotlight.
By the 1970s, issues in Elvis’ personal life began to eclipse his career. He divorced his wife and lost custody of his daughter in 1973. He also struggled with his personal health and growing addiction to prescription pills. His vices caught up with him a few years later in 1977 when he died of heart failure related to his substance abuse.
Over the course of his career, Elvis owned several notable timepieces, which helped to form his memorable style. Before becoming world-famous, he was given a Hamilton Ventura—the world’s first battery-powered watch. He wore it regularly, and the timepiece became iconic when it showed up in his 1961 film Blue Hawaii. It’s now known as “the Elvis watch.”
Elvis also wore an Omega Constellation. His model was one of the originals—pink gold with a black “sniper” dial—a rare timepiece. Antiquorum auctioned it off in June 2012. Although the watch was only expected to sell for $10,000-$20,000, it ultimately sold for over two and a half times that at a whopping $52,500.
The most impressive timepiece in Elvis’ watch collection was his limited-edition Rolex King Midas. Only 1,000 pieces of the model were produced. Elvis received this watch after playing six consecutive sold-out shows at the Houston Astrodome.
Modest in size, impressive in provenance, Elvis eclectic mix of watches reflects his creative and artistic nature. Both Omega and Rolex were highly popular watch brands during Elvis’ time (as they are today), but he owned two of those brands’ most unique and interesting models. It’s only fitting that the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll could appreciate these one-of-a-kind timepieces.
Image Credits: Header,1; Wikimedia Commons. 2; via aBlogtoWatch. 3; Antiquorum. 5-6; via Jake’s Rolex World.