ROLEX. AN EXCESSIVELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET, MADE FOR THE SULTANATE OF OMAN
ROLEX. AN EXCESSIVELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET, MADE FOR THE SULTANATE OF OMAN
ROLEX. AN EXCESSIVELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET, MADE FOR THE SULTANATE OF OMAN
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ROLEX. AN EXCESSIVELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET, MADE FOR THE SULTANATE OF OMAN
6 More
ROLEXDAYTONA MADE FOR THE SULTANATE OF OMAN REF. 6263THE PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTOR
ROLEX. AN EXCESSIVELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET, MADE FOR THE SULTANATE OF OMAN

SIGNED ROLEX, DAYTONA MODEL, RETAILED BY ASPREY, REF. 6263, CASE NO. 3'655'344, CIRCA 1974

Details
ROLEX. AN EXCESSIVELY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET, MADE FOR THE SULTANATE OF OMAN
SIGNED ROLEX, DAYTONA MODEL, RETAILED BY ASPREY, REF. 6263, CASE NO. 3'655'344, CIRCA 1974
Movement: Manual
Dial: Black with the Sultan's signature in red
Case: 37.5 mm. diam., engraved 'Apsrey'
With: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet and deployant clasp, overall length approximately 180 mm., presentation box decorated on the top with the Oman national emblem consisting of two crossed swords and the Khanjar, a traditional Omani dagger, in the middle. On the inside lid of the box is a green panel with gilt writing, which reads By Appointment. To H.M. Qaboos Bin Said. Asprey & Company Ltd., red lacquered box made for the 'Daytona Lesson One' auction and a mini 'Ultimate Rolex Daytona' book by Pucci Papaleo
Remark: One of only four known reference 6263 of this configuration
Provenance
Christie’s Geneva, Rolex Daytona ‘Lesson One’ 50 Exceptional Examples of the World’s most Celebrated Chronograph Wristwatch, 10 November 2013, Lot 26.

Brought to you by

Remi Guillemin
Remi Guillemin Head of Watches, Europe and Americas

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Lot Essay

The Rolex Cosmograph, as every watch lover knows, is one of the most desired of all vintage wristwatches. Of course, among the Cosmograph ‘family’ there are variations in manufacturing details that have resulted in fascinating rarities of which no more than a handful exist. It is these watches, of which the present watch is one of the greatest, that the world’s most exacting collectors seek to possess.

Christie’s Geneva is immensely honoured to have the opportunity to present to collectors a wristwatch that is not only an immense rarity among Rolex watches, but also that could not be improved upon in terms of originality, condition and provenance. One of only four known examples of its type, this extraordinary Asprey retailed stainless steel reference 6263 Cosmograph not only bears the signature of the Sultan of Oman in red on the dial but, as expected for such an important watch for the Sultan, the case is additionally engraved inside with the serial number and the engraved signature of Asprey on the caseback. It is without question one of the most important examples of the reference 6263 to be offered at international auction in the last decade.

Of course a watch of this magnitude speaks for itself. Made in 1974, it is a very early example of a timepiece presented by the Sultan himself and as such it has always been highly prized by its owners and as a consequence, was almost never actually worn. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say this watch is almost ‘like new’, each detail pleases the observer with its near perfection. In particular, the red signature of His Majesty Qaboos Bin Said on the dial immediately captures the attention, and furthermore it becomes apparent that this dial has been especially designed only for this model. In fact, the positions of all the graphics, compared to the standard Cosmograph layout, have been moved to make room for the Sultan’s signature. The Rolex Oyster designation, in its characteristic silver hue, has been repositioned higher on the dial. The word ‘Cosmograph’ has been moved to the edge of the central 12-hour register.

Asprey
On the inside of the caseback, in addition to the usual case maker’s indications, the serial number is engraved above the reference number. This is a characteristic that is typical of special orders and was executed by Asprey, who also engraved their name on the back. During the early years of the 1970s there were no official watch agents in Oman and so almost all of the watches made by various brands were supplied through the ultra high-end retailer Asprey in London and very occasionally through their Geneva branch. Located since 1847 at 167, New Bond Street, the Asprey name has become particularly synonymous with watches supplied to Middle Eastern royalty with special emblem dials and/or exotic gem-set cases particularly by Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet.

In regard to watches, it was really only Asprey who for generations had direct contact with this kind of exalted client and those clients trusted the company to coordinate their special watch requirements. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s and even into the 80s, outsiders, even the famous watch brands would have had almost no access or opportunity to deal directly with Middle Eastern royalty, Asprey was therefore the main conduit for that very important market.

Almost as interesting as the watch itself is the accompanying box. The lid is emblazoned with the Khanjar, the royal crest with the crossed swords of Oman, placed even more prominently than the Rolex crown itself. The interior bears the details of the Omani Royal Warrant held by Asprey: ‘TO. H. M. QABOOS BIN SAID JEWELLERS GOLDSMITHS SILVERSMITHS ASPREY & COMPANY LTD. NEW BOND STREET LONDON’.

A man of undeniably exquisite taste and also a watch enthusiast, His Late Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, owned and offered as gifts innumerable timepieces. The collaboration between Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said and Rolex started in the early 1970s with the Sultan's wish to show his gratitude to the members of the British Special Forces, SAS, who had successfully assisted him in his fight against rebels from 1970 to 1976. In the years to come he regularly ordered various Rolex models which were presented as gifts in recognition of a service rendered. It can be assumed that the degree of personalisation indicated the level of appreciation that the Sultan wished to demonstrate to the recipient. A simple merit deserves the Crest of Oman (Khanjar) on the dial or the back of the timepiece, while extraordinary appreciation is expressed with a watch featuring His Majesty's signature (the present lot). To date, only 9 Rolex Cosmograph Daytonas with all dial types made for the Sultanate of Oman are known publicly.

Reference 6263
Sporting a black bezel and screw down pushers, it inherits the legacy of reference 6240, the first of the screw down pusher Daytonas, also sporting a black bezel. The similarity is obvious, the differences much less so. As a matter of fact, however, the case design of reference 6263 is slightly bigger, and the movement is the new calibre 727, whilst reference 6240 is usually fitted with the older calibre 722 (even though early examples are known with the earlier 72B calibre, and late ones with cal. 722-1). The defining feature of both references is undeniably the presence of the screw down pushers, which make the entire watch look bigger and more sporting.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said (1940-2020)
Born on 18th November 1940 in Salalah, Dhofar, His Majesty was the only son of Sultan Said bin Taimur and Princess Mazoon al-Mashani. His education took place in Salalah, India, where he studied under Dhayal Sharma, the former President of India, and eventually in England. At the age of 20, he began his military training and joined the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, eventually serving in Germany for one year in the Scottish Rifles.

His Majesty ascended to the throne on 23rd July 1970. An absolute monarch, he proved himself a successful ruler, using the revenues obtained from oil to modernize his country. With his guidance, his country and subjects enjoyed countless advances, both social and technological. Oman has strengthened international relations, both in the Middle Eastern area, and on a more global scale. Newspapers are now permitted and schools, highways, hotels and shopping centres have been built. A substantial amount of money is now spent on healthcare and education. The Sultan also permitted parliamentary elections, during which women were allowed to vote and be elected. The parliament enjoys legislative powers. The foreign policy of his Majesty was formal neutrality. Oman has good relationships with Iran as well as Britain and USA. As a result, His late Majesty Qaboos often acted as intermediary between Iran and USA.

Beyond his enthusiasm for watches, the Sultan's interests also included music. He was an avid fan of classical music, with a particular penchant for the pipe organ. The Omani orchestra is one of the most appreciated in Middle East.

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