The OMEGA Museum has proudly acquired the Speedmaster watch once owned by the famed American novelist, Ralph Ellison. Having received intense interest at a Phillips auction in New York, the historic timepiece will now return to its original home in Biel, Switzerland, where it will be showcased for museum visitors. 

Ralph Ellison is best known for his 1952 award-winning novel, Invisible Man. Influenced by his own personal struggles, the story addressed many of the social and intellectual issues faced by African Americans in the early 20th century. The book’s genre-defying impact garnered great acclaim, and won Ellison the National Book Award For Fiction in 1953 – the first African American writer to claim the prize. 

Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO of OMEGA says, “It’s a great honour to bring Ralph Ellison’s watch back to OMEGA in Switzerland. He was a writer of immense influence and a man with such an inspiring personality and talent. This Speedmaster accompanied him through many years of his exceptional life and will be a special highlight within our heritage collection.” 

The Speedmaster watch worn by Ellison (ST145.012) was delivered to the USA in 1968, and shortly afterwards, the writer was interviewed and photographed in Riverside Park wearing it on his wrist. It is known that he continued to wear the timepiece for more than 25 years until his death in 1994, often under the cuff of a neatly tailored suit – as was his impeccable style. 

Petros Protopapas, Head of Brand Heritage at OMEGA says, “Mr Ellison’s watch provides such a wonderful connection to American literature. Indeed, the timepiece itself shows signs of an active life and its well-loved appearance helps to give it a truly authentic provenance. We’re delighted to have secured the piece and we are looking forward to sharing this story with our museum visitors.” 

The OMEGA Museum, situated at the brand’s HQ location in Switzerland, tells the in-depth story of OMEGA, covering its iconic heritage in watchmaking and innovation since 1848. The immersive showcases, movies and displays give visitors a true insight into the brand’s many passions, covering everything from space exploration, through to Olympic Games timekeeping and ocean diving. Amongst the many notable timepieces already on display are those worn by the astronaut Gene Cernan, former US president, John F. Kennedy, and the world’s favourite spy, James Bond. 

All photographs courtesy of Phillips from phillips.com

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