Omega Speedmaster Owned by Ralph Ellison Comes Up for Auction

Out of invisibility, the timepiece that literary giant Ralph Ellison wore for nearly 25 years comes up for auction at Phillips.

For many watch collectors, exquisitely chamfered dial edges, on-dial text mishaps and even serial numbers revealing batch-of-ten scarcity can be bit-part protagonists in what makes a piece collectable: for such romantics, the story behind an individual watch gives it vastly more dinner-party wow factor than anything scrutinised using a loupe.

The Omega Speedmaster before you - which will go to sale at Phillips’s annual New York Watch Sale on the 12th December - is a one-in-a-zillion example of such a piece, as it spent around quarter of a century, from 1968, on the wrist of the late Ralph Ellison who, as the author of Invisible Man, is considered one of the most important American writers of the 20th century.

Originally sold at a Long Island estate sale after Ellison’s death in 1994, the piece which has since made its way to Phillips is 40mm in diameter, and comes with an extract from Omega archives confirming production of the piece on March 15th, 1968 then subsequent delivery to the United States. Its missing upper pusher, cross-referenced with various photographs of its illustrious author, also authenticates its provenance.


December 2021


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