The Rolex King Midas: A Myth Made of Gold

In the world of vintage watches, few timepieces command the same reverence and intrigue as the Rolex King Midas. Born from Rolex and the mind of the visionary watch designer Gerald Genta, the King Midas represents a fusion of innovation, craftsmanship, and timeless elegance. This article delves into the history, design, and cultural impact of the Rolex King Midas, exploring its evolution from conception to coveted collector's item.rolex king midas gold

The Origins

The genesis of the Rolex King Midas can be traced back to the early 1960s when Rolex sought to diversify its collection with avant-garde designs. Enter Gerald Genta, a watch designer whose creative genius would leave an indelible mark on the world of horology. Genta's taste for bold, unconventional designs caught the attention of Rolex, leading to a collaboration that would redefine the entire vintage watch industry.rolex white gold king midasIn 1962, Genta unveiled this masterpiece, the Rolex King Midas, drawing inspiration from the magnificence of the Greek Pantheon and the legendary King Midas, whose touch turned everything to gold. The design was a bold departure from traditional watch aesthetics, featuring an angular case crafted from solid 18k gold, with a crown positioned on the left side, reminiscent of the sun.

Design and Features

Debuting in 1962, the Rolex King Midas made an immediate impression with its distinctive rectangular case and integrated bracelet, seamlessly combining a futuristic yet classically rooted design.rolex white gold king midas The sleek and minimalistic dial featured the applied Rolex logo and printed Rolex and Midas/Cellini writing, while the bracelet featured intricate geometric motifs inspired by ancient Greek architecture.rolex king midas yellow gold celliniOne of the most remarkable features of the King Midas was its weight and heft, weighing between 150 and 200 grams, making it the heaviest men's timepiece of its time. This massive weight, paired with the sculpted design and opulent gold construction (each piece was made using a single gold bar), ensured that the King Midas stood apart as a symbol of extravagance and exclusivity.

Limited Production and Rarity

Despite its iconic status, the production of the Rolex King Midas ran for a limited time, with only a select number of examples ever made. The initial reference, the 9630, had a total production run of just 1000 pieces, while subsequent references like the 3580 and 4315 were produced in higher numbers. rolex king midas white gold celliniEach watch maintained a unique numbering system engraved on the bracelet and they were showcasing the iconic “King Midas” writing engraved on the side of the watch.

Other 2 extremely rare version were made, the Queen for ladies and the Princess for even thinner wrists. rolex princess midasProduction numbers are extremely limited, but I had the opportunity to see one during the last edition of Rolliefest. Click here to read how was attending the biggest vintage watches G2G in New York. rolex cellini midasOriginally introduced as an independent line, the King Midas later transitioned into the Cellini collection, marked by the replacement of the Midas inscription with the Cellini logo on the dial. This evolution reflected Rolex's commitment to innovation and adaptability, ensuring the continued relevance of the King Midas heritage in the ever-evolving Cellini line.

Cultural Icons and Celebrity Endorsement

The Rolex King Midas transcended its status as a mere timepiece, becoming a symbol of status and prestige among the elite. Legends like Elvis Presley proudly adorned their wrists with the King Midas, further elevating its cultural significance and cementing its place in history.Elvis Presley Rolex King Midas The history tells that the organizers of "The Houston Livestock Show" gifted Elvis with a Rolex King Midas to honor him following his six consecutive sold-out performances in 1970.

Elvis expressed immense delight with the gift, evident from numerous photographs capturing him proudly wearing with the Midas watch.

The watch, with serial n.313, is now on display in Graceland at Memphis, Tennessee, as part of the collection of Elvis memorabilia.

The Exquisite Presentation: The King Midas Box

As if the opulence and new shape of this watch weren't extraordinary enough on their own, the box that was designed for it needs a mention because could be considered a collectible by itself. rolex king midas boxWhile most Rolex watches come in a green box with a light velvet inlay, the King Midas is presented in a box with a shape resembling an ancient Greek amphora. The box for the King Midas is made of black wood with leather and red embossing in the style of Greek paintings and reveals the stunning timepiece inside, nestled on red velvet.

Rarity, Collectability, and Future Prospects

Today, the Rolex King Midas remains a highly coveted collector's item, sought after by enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. Its timeless design, multitude of dial combinations, and association with cultural icons have cemented its place in horological history.rolex midas diamond pave Despite its rarity, examples of the Rolex King Midas occasionally surface at auctions and some high quality examples are still available for sale.

As vintage watches market continues to grow, we have anyway witnessed a rising interest on shaped watches from the 70s and 80s over the past few years.

Whether admired for its design, cultural significance, or rarity, the Rolex King Midas stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Rolex and the visionary genius of Gerald Genta. As collectors continue to clamor for these rare and exquisite timepieces, adding the most beautiful and sought-after pieces to their collections, we anticipate a rapid rise in demand, resulting in fewer quality pieces available on the market.

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