For this story, I obtained the chance to write about a subject close to mine heart, The Rat Pack.Recently, throughout a late-night Wikipedia binge, ns stumbled top top an obscure entrance in an write-up that win me. The entry stated, “Davis Jr. Was hidden with a yellow watch the Sinatra had provided him in ~ the conclusion that The Ultimate event Tour.” This piqued my curiosity, and also I’ve researched the recommendation and background of the watch the Sammy Davis Jr. Was supposedly buried with

Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr.

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The Ultimate event Tour

The ultimate Event

The tour kicked turn off March 13, 1988, come a sold-out audience at the Oakland Colosseum. Four shows right into the tour, Dean left due to the reoccurrence the a kidney issue. Frank and also Sammy then brought in Liza Minnelli to end up off the remaining dates and also the tourism was change the name “The ultimate Event”. If you clock the videos of the tour, you deserve to see that Sammy still had actually it.

"Press Conference come Announce 'The can be fried Event' Concert Tour through Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli and also Sammy Davis, Jr.“ ~ above editorial patent from Getty photos © /Ron Galella, Ltd.1988

The Entertainer: the Did it All

If the legend is true, sometime after the tour, Sinatra gifted Sammy Davis Jr. A yellow watch. Within a couple of months the the tour’s conclusion, Sammy felt a pain in his throat. After visiting doctors, he to be diagnosed with phase 4 throat cancer and began treatments. Sadly, it was also late to avoid the cancer and Sammy passed away might 16, 1990. ~ above Sammy’s death Sinatra responded, “from my standpoint, he need to be psychic as among the finest human us I ever before knew in my life, the course, multi-talented, he to be a wonderful boy.”

If the rumor is correct, before Sammy happen away, the must’ve asked come be hidden with the watch the Frank had actually gifted him. You’re probably thinking, this have to be one open and shut case. If Sammy were hidden with the watch, the place of that shouldn’t it is in a mystery. Anyone with an internet connection can locate where Sammy is buried. He’s in a plot at forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Follow to, Sammy is situated at Garden Crypt #5774, a locked exclusive garden situated in the Garden of honor at forest Lawn. One would intend this watch would certainly be relaxing comfortably on Sammy’s wrist, inside of his casket, buried beneath dirt and a headstone basking under the California sun.

His headstone read: "The Entertainer: he Did that All”


The research

My research study of this watch has actually taken me down some courses that i wasn’t expecting. If Sammy was buried with this watch, surely there would certainly be picture of that wearing it prior to his death. In fact, I’ve discovered plenty of picture of Sammy with gold jewelry and watches. Specifics Sammy to be a big fan of gold Rolexes. In his most well known horological picture, he’s spotted attract a Heuer Monaco in Vietnam throughout a concert because that the troops. According to an OnTheDash thread that Heuer to be purchased in ~ a Davis estate sale in 1991 for $200 and later auctioned in ~ Antiquorum in might 2010 for $21,600. The Monaco is a stainless piece, and I couldn’t find further evidence of Sammy attract this clock in the so late eighties.

SammyDavisJr. Attract his Monaco stainless stole watch

In my analysis of photos indigenous the period 1987-1990, I simply couldn’t uncover a solitary picture of Sammy wearing a watch various other than a yellow Cartier Pasha. In the image surveyed, he’s only wearing one watch, a gold Pasha. A good-looking clock that has the style is really indicative the the era. After a little of Googling, i was quickly connected with the exact watch that I retained seeing in photos.

Photo bring away March 7, 1989 in ~ the Kahala Hilton Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii together he stands wait for his car. He would certainly pass away 14 months later of throat cancer. Picture © Alan Light

Sammy, ns Luv Ya, F.A.S

Upon further investigation, I found the watch, it simply so happened to it is in Lot 251in a June 2009 Antiquorum auction. The lot to be a 18k gold Cartier Pasha Quartz two Time Zone created in 1987. In reading the description, the intrigue grew “the Cartier Pasha watch version that was a gift native Frank Sinatra to one more fellow Rat Packer Sammy Davis Jr. Still bearing the engraving by Sinatra the reads, “Sammy, ns Luv Ya, F.A.S.” Eureka!

Cartier Pasha caseback with engraving native Frank Sinatra

While Sammy may have actually owned plenty of gold watches, the one readily available at Antiquorum to be a Cartier Pasha (check) and it was provided to Sammy by candid Sinatra! ns couldn’t believe my eyes; walk I discover the watch the Frank Sinatra gifted to Sammy near the finish of his life? but wasn’t he hidden with the watch?

The numbers started to include up, the piece that Antiquorum auctioned was made in 1987 and also it had an sculpture from open minded that included the provenance i was looking for. My morbid curiosity quickly got the finest of me. IF this to be the watch the Sammy was hidden with, you would think that it would still be underground with the crooner.

Sadly, our story isn’t that simple

When Sammy died, he passed away with a reported 7 million dollars in tax debt to the IRS. Rumor has actually it, once his wife Altovise discovered out about this debt, she had actually him exhumed to remove the virtually $70,000 of jewelry Sammy was hidden with. In my research, I’ve seen assorted mentions that this exhumation, yet usually always about the “jewelry” Sammy was buried with. Over there hasn’t been a single mention the a watch gift retrieved. However, some in our community do describe watches together jewelry pieces and certainly a gold watch can stand up to the same sentiment.

Sammy’s wife Altovise passed away March 14, 2009, just three months prior to the June 2009 Antiquorum auction. Perhaps her estate uncovered the watch soon after she death and also had it auctioned.

June 2009 Auction photo via Antiquorum

Another curiosity is Matt Birkbeck’s 1994 autobiography of Davis Jr. “Deconstructing Sammy” where he writes: “During the months before Sammy's death, his employees plunder his residence of memorabilia, jewelry and also artwork." possibly the watch disappeared throughout that time.

This poses the question, is this Cartier Pasha the actual watch the Frank Sinatra offered to Davis Jr. Approximately the same day as the tour? The engraving on the earlier certainly helps point to a yes. The timeline of occasions may be a little murky. I was led to believe a clock was provided to Davis Jr. After ~ the tour, yet instead, I preserved seeing this Cartier Pasha in photos taken prior to the tourism started and after the concluded. I’m sure Frank and also Sammy exchanged countless gifts over your 50+ year friendship, but based on the photos, this watch feels favor it had actually a special ar in Sammy’s heart.

We might never know

In closing, is this the watch the Sammy Davis Jr. Was hidden with and later exhumed and resold to settle a taxes debt? We might never know. I’ll permit the reader decide based ~ above the data I have actually provided. What I execute know, is the if this legend is true, someone out there has a watch through a really storied history. This additionally raises the question, does an exhumation of things and its succeeding sale adjust the provenance or worth of a timepiece?

Unfortunately, every members that the Rat Pack have actually passed on, and out the respect because that Sammy’s family, we didn’t reach out to his estate for comment.

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Interestingly enough, in 2005, the Sinatra estate lent his likeness come a collection of Oris watches.

Oris Frank Sinatra Worldtimer limited Edition

No word on Sammy Davis Jr.’s clock line

If you have any kind of information about the watch or also a cool Sammy story, fall a line at: josh.shanks