Duke Ellington Watch Sells for $1.5 Million

An extremely rare gold wristwatch owned by American jazz legend Duke Ellington sold at auction for 2.5 million Swiss francs ($1.59 million) on May 13 in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to auction house Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, the Patek Philippe split-second chronograph—one of only two ever made—was purchased by the international jazz great in 1948 at the luxury watchmaker’s boutique in Geneva.

Several bidders competed for the wristwatch, both live and via telephone. When a Swiss private museum finally bought the Patek Philippe chronograph, the room erupted with enthusiastic applause. The watch sold for almost twice its pre-sale estimate.

Ellington’s 50-year career included such hits as “New Orleans” and “Take the ‘A’ Train.” He died in 1974.

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