The present watch is from the exceedingly small series of so-called “Green Khanjar” Daytonas made for the Sultan of Oman, to be presented as token of appreciation. To date, less than 10 examples of this model in stainless steel are known to exist, references 6263 and 6265, featuring silvered or black dials. The present specimen bearing serial number 3’048’923 is believed to be the earliest known “Green Khanjar” Daytona known to date.
Very recently discovered and one of the exceedingly few true “hidden treasures” to appear in public in recent years, this ref. 6263 is distinguished by a variety of rare features. Most remarkable and noticeable is doubtlessly the prominent green “Khanjar” symbol to the upper half of its dial, the emblem of the Sultanate of Oman, a distinctive characteristic of watches presented by the Sultan as a gift – in this instance to the present owner, a now retired British Airways pilot who flew the Sultan and his entourage on one of his first state visits on a charter flight from Muscat to Rome’s Ciampino Airport on 28 March 1974, the airline at the time still called BOAC. Shortly before the landing, one of the Sultan’s ministers entered the cockpit offering a cream/green box to the captain with the words “a little present from the Sultan”. The pleasantly surprised pilot took possession of the gift, delivered his passengers safely to Ciampino and returned to London the same time where upon arrival he declared the watch at customs and paid the amount of £10 for duty and tax. He carefully kept the original declaration and receipt dated 28 March 1974, now illustrated in this catalogue. His flight from Muscat to Ciampino and then to London on this day is registered in his Personal Flying Log Book, the relevant page published in the illustration. A professional pilot/captain from his beginnings in 1956 at BOAC (which became British Airways coincidentally also in 1974) he retired in 1989, the published image showing him in the cockpit during his last flight wearing his “Green Khanjar” Daytona.
Safely stored away until January 2017 when it was consigned for this auction, this sensational discovery impresses with its superb, unspoilt condition. The full bodied case has most likely never been polished, over time the colour of the luminous dots on the untouched dial has changed to a uniform cream tone, matching the luminous material on the hands. The presence of the original accessories such as the sales tag, the box marked with the reference number 6263, a/b for “acier/bracelet”, “steel/bracelet”, and a small white dot indicating a silvered dial, period guarantee form and brochures enhance the overall appeal of this watch.
Utmost rarity combined with private provenance and a captivating history render this “Green Khanjar” a superb trophy for the connoisseur of exceptional timepieces.
For an illustration of a “Green Khanjar” reference 6265 with black dial see The Ultimate Rolex Daytona, Pucci Papaleo Editore, pl. 497.
Qaboos bin Said (born 18 November 1940, Muscat and Oman), Sultan of Oman
The 14th-generation descendant of the founder of the Al Bu Sa'idi dynasty, Qaboos bin Said Al Said was educated at Bury Saint Edmunds, Suffolk, England, and at Sandhurst, the Royal Military Academy, in Berkshire. In 1970 Qaboos took over the palace in a coup with British support and exiled his father. He immediately undertook a range of ambitious modernization projects, including constructing roads, hospitals, schools, communications systems, and industrial and port facilities. He abrogated his father's moralistic laws and established a Council of Ministers (cabinet). He also made considerable progress in ending Oman's isolation by joining the Arab League and the United Nations, aligning his country with the moderate Arab powers.
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. The dials of these watches featured the Khanjar symbol predominantly in colours red and white, few examples in gold or green.