The “Personal Property of John Wayne Signature Auction”, conducted by Heritage Auctions, has just closed, with an astonishing total of $5,382,492 for the sale.
Amongst the items sold was Lot 44182, described as follows :
“An 18K Gold Rolex Cellini King Midas Integral Bracelet Wristwatch, Circa 1967. The Case: 28mm, reference #9630 (No. 557); sticker still in place; Dial: solid gold with gold “Baton” hands, sapphire crystal; Movement: manual wind; Bracelet: 18K gold integral with deployant buckle; Gross weight: 193.5 grams; watch is in working condition.”
The estimate had been $6,000 – $8,000. It sold for $26,290.
Apart from this watch having been owned by John Wayne, is there anything else special about it?
Well, Elvis also wore a Rolex King Midas Ref. 9360, number 343. It currently forms part of the collection at Graceland. Elvis’ King Midas was given to him as a token of appreciation for playing 6 days of sold-out concerts in 1970 at the Houston Astrodome Livestock Show & Rodeo.
Designed by Gerald Genta (Rolex had no idea of this, as the case was made separately in France, where Genta had found a case and bracelet manufacturer who could both meet and supply his requirements), the King Midas was a limited edition of 1000. First released in 1964, it was made from 18 carat white or yellow gold, and both the most expensive and the heaviest gold watch that Rolex were producing at the time. The words “King” and “Midas” are etched on either side of the crown, and on the clasp.
In a design move reflective of contemporary watch box designs which reflect the theme of the watch, the King Midas came in a black and red ancient Greek-styled urn. The ref. 9630 was followed by the ref. 3580 King Midas, also produced in a limited edition. The ladies’ model was named Queen Midas, ref. 3581.
The watch is often confused for the later Rolex Cellini Midas, but word “Midas” is on the dial in the traditional Greek i.e. “ΜΙΔΑΣ”, as opposed to the “Cellini”, which appeared on the Cellini Midas models. As you can see, Heritage themselves made an error in the description, by referring to it as “Cellini”.