This lot is offered without reserve.
Prospective buyers should be aware that the importation of Rolex watches into the United States is highly restricted. Rolex watches may not be shipped into the USA and can only be imported personally. Generally a buyer may import only one watch into the USA. For further information please contact our specialists in charge of the sale. Please note other countries may have comparable import restrictions for luxury watches.
Watches for the Middle East
The following 29 lots, 394 to 422, represent a very attractive and wide-spread selection of watches destined for different countries of the Middle East, including so-called presentation watches and watches made for the armed forces, dating from the early 1970s until circa 2012.
Tradition and culture of the region require the presentation of a gift in recognition of a service rendered, with watches being among the favorite offering, particularly those made by Rolex. The level of respect and gratitude towards the recipient is displayed in case material and embellishment. Thus, such presentation watches are distinguished by the precious metal cases, predominantly white gold or platinum but also yellow or pink gold, often diamond-set, sometimes fitted with coloured dials, the national crest or the signature of the ruler of the relevant country generally printed on the dial, sometimes also engraved to the case back. Noteworthy in this context is lot 420, a Rolex Datejust Ref. 116200 made for the King of Bahrain, the dial featuring the crest of the Kingdom of Bahrain, is delivered with the King's compliment card. It was sold by The Modern Art Studio in Manama, Bahrain, the Kingdom's official Rolex retailer.
Watches made for the different military forces are, by definition, of more sober appearance. Mainly cased in stainless steel, the dials feature the relevant emblem of the respective country, ministry or armed forces, more infrequently engraved crests or inscriptions to the case backs. Military watches offered in this section are made for the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Particularly noteworthy are two Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 models, dials personalized with the signature of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (lots 418 and 419), showing two of the versions available: one including the crest of the UAE Ministry of Defence and His Highness' signature, furthermore fitted the exceedingly rare navy blue bezel (lot418), the second featuring exclusively his red printed signature (lot 419).
Amongst the most popular of these "Middle East" watches are those characterized by the Khanjar dagger, the national emblem of Oman, or the signature of His Majesty the Sultan of Oman, symbol for watches made to special order for the Royal household of the Sultanate of Oman, or more precisely for the Sultan of Oman (1970 - Present): Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The collaboration between Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said and Rolex started in the 1970s with the Sultan's wish to show his gratitude to the members of the British Special Forces who had successfully assisted him in his fight against rebels. Soon other States of the region would follow his example, resulting in the creation of a special department at the headquarters of Rolex in Geneva. The design modifications requested by this demanding clientele concerned mainly the dials, precisely the lower half: Rolex designations normally found above 6 o'clock, such as "Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified" for example, were replaced by the relevant emblem. Calendar disks in Arabic scripture, both for day and date indication, were also available.
The watches were then distributed via Asprey, the distinguished London-based luxury goods emporium, at the time Rolex's Middle East representative. The case backs of watches retailed by the English firm were often engraved "Asprey" (see lots 410 and 414) and sold by Khimji Ramdas, traders located in Muscat, Oman, since 1870, today Rolex's official retailer in Oman. For a "The Hulk" Submariner ref. 116610LV and a black ceramic GMT-Master II ref. 116710 retailed by Khimji Ramdas, the case backs engraved with the Khanjar dagger, see lots 421 and 422.
Rare timepieces are highly sought after collectors' watches in today's market. Those personalized for personalities or armed forces, such as the present selection, are among the most popular species of this exclusive category.