Phillips New York is auctioning off an Omega Speedmaster that once belonged to Ralph Ellison, the author of Invisible Man, this weekend.
The 40mm Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 SP from 1968 is one of 166 lots in up for auction in the two-day Phillips 2021 New York Watch Auction.
The watch, which was the final reference to be powered by Omega’s original 321 chronograph movement, is secured on its original stainless steel bracelet and comes with an Omega Extract From The Archive outlining its history. Ellison wore the watch for 25 years and was frequently photographed wearing it.
The watch, missing the top chronograph pusher, was purchased by its current owner at a small auction house in Long Island City in 2016. While the watch was listed as being from “The Ralph and Fanny Ellison Charitable Trust” no-one at the time connected it with the famous author.
Watch journalist Michael Clerizo tracked down copies of the couple’s insurance statements in the Ralph Ellison Archives in the Library of Congress, which listed the serial number of Ellison’s watch and confirmed its identity.
The watch is described as “crisp, though the dial has experienced minor ageing that is typical in these references.” The movement has been cleaned and adjusted and a period-correct pusher fitted to replace the missing one. A new crystal and gasket were also added to ensure water resistance, although the original crystal is included in the lot.
Lot 138 of the Phillips 2021 New York Watch Auction has an estimate of between $10,000 USD and $20,000 USD attached.
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