In the build up to the splashy biopic “Elvis,” which premieres in theaters on 24 June, Elvis-mania has started to take hold.
The film got a 12-minute standing ovation at Cannes. Las Vegas chapels have been getting cease-and-desist orders to halt Elvis-impersonator weddings. Even the travel site Booking.com is getting in on the action, offering the “Ultimate Elvis Experience,” a special two-night stay at the Guest House at Graceland, birthplace of “The King” in Memphis, that includes behind-the-scenes tours of attractions like the Presley Motors Museum, chauffeured vintage Cadillac rides, an advanced screening of the movie with a surprise cast member, and a souvenir Elvis-themed Gibson Epiphone guitar.
In the world of luxury, New Orleans gallery M.S. Rau is selling swanky one-of-a-kind Elvis memorabilia. Items include a diamond-studded gold watch once-worn by Presley, priced at $495,000. The Swiss-made Ebel wristwatch includes a 14-carat yellow gold jagged wristband and a square clock face encircled by 26 round white diamonds. In 1974, he gave the watch to American gospel singer J.D. Sumner whose band toured with Presley until his death in 1977.
Other items include a blue lapis cabochon ring set in 14-carat yellow gold which Presley gave to his bodyguard, priced at $24,850.
“The jewelry is classic Elvis. A big gold nugget, heavy and over-the-top, as far away from conservative as it gets,” said M.S. Rau owner Bill Rau.
The market for vintage luxury men’s watches is hot, said Rau. In 2017, Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona broke records when it sold for $17.8 million at Phillips auction house in New York City.
But for the past few years, and especially in 2021, the luxury goods industry across most categories has seen substantial growth. Shoppers who found themselves homebound for months because of the pandemic were more flush with cash than usual and more likely to spend money shopping.
In May, Hugh Brian Duffy, chief executive officer of Watches of Switzerland Group Plc said the boom in demand for Rolex watches—and a lack of sufficient supply—has been so acute that it is driving interest in other luxury timepieces.