Today's offering showcases this elegant and rare vintage small size Asprey watch made by Baume & Mercier that was owned and worn by the "King of Comedy", the late Jerry Lewis.
In the 1960's like today, one of the finest names in British luxury was Asprey, similar in essence to Tiffany & Co. and Cartier. One of their special offerings to their discriminating clients was a line of watches emblazoned with the Asprey name on the dial. Although the maker's name was often hidden, the retailer contracted with a number of the world's fine watch and jewelry making firms to produce these treasured timepieces, just like the practice followed by Tiffany and Cartier.
This rare and distinctive Asprey was owned and worn by Mr. Lewis, who had a strong preference - perhaps an exclusive preference - for midsize watches. At times he wore ladies model watches, and all of the watches we have seen and purchased from his estate were all midsized or women's size watches.
Like on the Cartier Tank Americaine and Tiffany watches we sold of Mr. Lewis', this watch also features a white Roman dial and 18K gold case.
It has all of its original parts and is in pleasing condition, and we have left the case unpolished just as we received it. It comes with the band and buckle that was on it when we acquired it installed. Interestingly the buckle is an original 18K gold Cartier deployment clasp (buckles like these sell for about $1,000 alone). It didn't dawn on us until after we had already sold Mr. Lewis' Cartier Tank that this buckle was probably the one that came on that watch when he purchased it new and was switched at some point.
One of our watchmakers has disassembled it down to its last screw and cleaned and oiled the movement making it ready for immediate enjoyment; otherwise we have left the rest of the watch untouched as it came from Mr. Lewis.
Included with the purchase is a one-year C.O.T. international warranty on the movement and its function, a custom printed Connoisseur of Time Certificate of Authenticity, and a new timing certificate.
Accompanying it is a Certificate of Authenticity and Provenance from a well-known auction house. Jerry Lewis:
Born as Joseph Levitch, Jerry Lewis, was a legendary American comedian, actor, singer, filmmaker and humanitarian, nicknamed "the King of Comedy" and "The Total Filmmaker".
Lewis' career took off in 1946 when he and fellow singer Dean Martin began performing together. They quickly rose to national prominence, first with their popular nightclub act, then as stars of their NBC radio program The Martin and Lewis Show. In 1950 they signed with NBC to be one of a series of weekly rotating hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour, a live Sunday evening broadcast.
By 1951, with an appearance at the Paramount Theater, they were a cultural phenomenon, attracting crowds rivaled only by Frank Sinatra earlier and later by Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
Between 1950 until their breakup in 1956 they starred in fourteen movies. Their films were consistent financial successes for Paramount and hugely popular with audiences.
After a successful show singing on stage, the first time he had sung alone on stage since he was five years old, at his wife's pleading, he used his own money to record songs on a single. Decca Records heard it, liked it and insisted he record an album for them. The single of Rock-a-Bye Your Baby went to #10 and the album Jerry Lewis Just Sings went to #3 on the Billboard charts, staying near the top for four months and selling a million and a half copies. He released several albums as a singer, selling millions of records.
After his breakup with Martin Lewis launched his solo career as a filmmaker and comedian. In 1959, a contract between Paramount and Jerry Lewis Productions was signed specifying a payment of $10 million plus 60% of the profits for 14 films over seven years.
This contract made Lewis the highest paid individual Hollywood talent to date and was unprecedented in that he had unlimited creative control, including final cut and the return of film rights after 30 years. Lewis' clout and box office were so strong (his films had already earned Paramount $100 million in rentals) that Barney Balaban, head of production at Paramount at that time, told the press, "If Jerry wants to burn down the studio I'll give him the match!"
Throughout the 1960's he continued to make movies and in 1962 took on being the guest host on "The Tonight Show" during the transition from Jack Paar to Johnny Carson.
From the 1970's through the 2010's continued to star in movies, work as a director, producer and screenwriter.
Lewis was also a world-renowned humanitarian, philanthropist and "number one volunteer" who supported fundraising for research into muscular dystrophy. Throughout his career, he raised awareness for muscular dystrophy, while as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
In late 1966, the live annual Labor Day event of The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon (also referred to as Jerry Lewis Extra Special Special, Jerry Lewis Super Show and Jerry Lewis Stars Across America) debuted in syndication and would air each year.
For decades, the broadcast originated from different locations including New York, Las Vegas and Hollywood and was the most successful fundraising event in the history of television. The show, with Lewis as its iconic host and emcee and help from a legion of top celebrities and entertainers, raised billions of dollars during the years. In 1977, Lewis was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the charity. In its first year, the show raised over $1 million. In his lifetime Lewis raised an estimated $2.6 billion in donations for the cause.
Lewis was also known for his friendship with Sammy Davis Jr. Our new Celebrity Collection:
I'm excited to have recently launched a new collection that is composed of 42 watches owned by 23 iconic celebrities. It may be the largest current collection of celebrity-owned watches in the world. It will be constantly changing and is currently headlined by watches and clocks owned by some of the most legendary Hollywood actors and actresses, musicians, comedians, and entertainers:
- The King, Elvis Presley. (Just sold)
- The King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
- The King of Comedy, Jerry Lewis.
- Hollywood icons Steve Martin, Burt Reynolds, Olivia Newton-John, Bob Hope, and Mickey Rooney.
- Legendary musicians Johnny Cash, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, and Hank Williams, Jr.
- Further filling the current collection are watches from King Edward VIII and the Duchess of Windsor, beloved Hollywood host Ed Sullivan, heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey, Academy award-winning actresses Loretta Young and Doris Day, Emmy award-winning actress Valerie Harper, fashion designer to the stars Nolan Miller, and Green Bay Packer Mike Bucchianeri.
- It also includes rare watches given by heads of state: A prototype 18K gold Buren Microrotor gifted by His Royal Majesty Ibn Saud, former King of Saudi Arabia; a Felsa given by former Libyan Colonel and Head of State Muammar Al Qathafi; and a Longines given by Highness Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa former Prime Minister of the State of Bahrain. All three watches are new-old-stock in presentation shadow box frames with photos.
Recently sold was a watch given a handful of years after the Civil War concluded by the Vice President Elect to honor an Army commander who went on to receive the Medal of Honor.
This is a significant, exciting, and constantly changing new collection you won't want to miss! Stay tuned over the coming weeks for photos of other special pieces from the collection!
To view the first few already up for sale follow this link: https://shop.connoisseuroftime.com/collections/our-celebrity-owned-historical-event-watches?page=1&sort_by=created-descending
Country of origin: Switzerland / U.K.
Maker: Baume & Mercier
Year made: c. 1960's
Functions: Hours, Minutes
Case material: 18K gold
Case markings (outer): Asprey registration numbers 356972 38227
Case condition: Excellent with fairly light wear and tiny pin pricks in the back, left just as we acquired it. It has never been polished. A light polishing could make it close to mint.
Dimensions: 17mm diameter (excluding the crown) by 32mm long lug tip to tip.
Dial: Off white with painted black radial Roman numerals, signed Asprey, original and untouched, mint condition
Movement type: Baume & Mercier for Asprey, gilt finished, handwound, shock protected
Band: The strap that Mr. Lewis has on the watch. It appears to be crocodile and currently fits a wrist up to approximately slightly over 7 inches. Interestingly the buckle is an original 18K gold Cartier deployment clasp (buckles like these sell for about $1,000 alone). It didn't dawn on us until after we had already sold Mr. Lewis' Cartier Tank that this buckle was probably the one that came on that watch when he purchased it new and was switched at some point.
Crystal: Mineral glass, mint condition
Serviced: One of our watchmakers has disassembled it down to its last screw and cleaned and oiled it making it ready for immediate enjoyment.
Timing: Timed to precision on a state-of-the-art computerized system. It is running strong and true.
Warranty: 1-year international C.O.T. warranty. Please email email@example.com for details. Your watch is important to us, and we will take care of it for its lifetime. We provide the best after sale care in the business with an experienced team of watchmakers both of whom each have over forty years of experience and a large number of parts.
Box/Papers: BOX - Connoisseur of Time watch presentation box; PAPERS - Custom printed Connoisseur of Time Certificate of Authenticity; Certificate of Authenticity and Provenance from a well-known auction house.
Returns: 7 days full refund. 100% satisfaction guarantee