Whether it’s a good watch or bad watch depends on the make, model, design, and technical merits. But then there are some replica watches which are much more than little mechanical keepers of time – this is one such watch. This particular little Omega, with its well-worn dial, belonged to one of the most famous men of the 20th century and someone who left an indelible mark on popular culture.
Let’s take a glance at this watch’s history before getting into the watch itself. Elvis was presented with this special Omega at in February 1961 at a ceremony celebrating him hitting the 75 million records sold mark – something never done before. Instead of something like a stock-standard Datejust or Seamaster, the folks at RCA records determined to get the King something a little more special, opting for this Omega replica with a Tiffany-signed dial and 44 brilliant cut diamonds in the bezel. In the subsequent years, Elvis would be photographed several times wearing the fake watch, both on and off stage. If you want to know more, check out our original story about this watch from when Phillips first announced it was coming up for sale.
Therefore, what’s it like holding a watch that was gifted to Elvis more than half a century ago? It’s awesome. Did you really think I was going to have a different reaction? One of the things that make vintage replica watches so interesting to me is this way in which they act as tiny time machines, if you’ll excuse the pun. You put one on your wrist and look down to check the time and you’re instantly transported back to the moments in the past when another person did the exact same thing. They wound the same crown, did the same double-take because they glanced too quickly, and nervously chewed their lip as the same hands seemed to move either too slowly or too quickly.
Supporting the historical provenance of this watch is the deep engraving on the case-back. Perpendicular to the “18k Gold” stamped between the top lugs you’ll find “To Elvis / 75 Million Records / RCA Victor / 12-25-60” in sharp relief. You’ll notice this date is several months before the watch was given to Elvis, as it notes the date he’s believed to have officially passed the 75 million record mark, Christmas Day 1960. There’s something really old-school about the execution of the engraving, with letters varying in size a bit and not being so wonderful around the edges. Today, you’d get something done by machine, but this was clearly done by hand.
It is just flat-out awesome on the wrist. It definitely has more diamonds than I typically wear, but it doesn’t read as feminine or dainty at all, even with the 32.5mm case. It doesn’t look small on the wrist above, does it? There’s something very glamorous and rock-star about it, maybe because of the size of the diamonds. They feel sized to the width of the bezel and the size of the watch, rather than having been thought about independently and been made to work regardless. The Tiffany stamp balances beautifully with the replica Omega logo and signature too. Eventually, one of my favorite things about this replica watch is how it shows its age. There are some scratches in the running seconds sub-dial at six o’clock, the dial has some other markings, and the case isn’t crazy shiny. It feels like a worn watch that you might find at an estate sale, not something that’s been treated like a relica.