An exceptionally rare stainless steel wristwatch with "Qaboos" dial, date, helium escape valve and bracelet, made for the Sultan of Oman and retailed by Asprey

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1972
    Reference No: 1665 inside case back stamped 1.72 with repeated serial number 3'566'977
    Movement No: D554216
    Case No: 3'566'977
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller "Qaboos"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 580, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex twinlock deployant clasp stamped 4.71
    Dimensions: 39.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: The present watch is prominently illustrated in “A Journey into the Deep” by John Goldberger and Daniel Bourn, pp 76 to 79.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Watches fitted with custom dials were often presented as gifts to ambassadors, dignitaries, or staff, as a token of gratitude or respect. It was an honor to be presented with an Omani "Special Issued" watch. Many of these timepieces are cherished by their original owners, and passed down from one generation to the next. As a result, Rolex watches with custom dials do not appear on the market often.

    The present Sea-Dweller displays the "Qaboos" signature at 6 o'clock in lieu of the usual depth rating. It is our understanding that this variant is one among three models that His Majesty Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the Sultan of Oman, offered to British SAS officers as thanks for helping defeat the Dhofar Rebellion. The other variants display either a red Khanjar symbol or gold Khanjar symbol at 6 o'clock.

    These special Sea-Dwellers were ordered through the retailer Asprey. The case back bears the "ASPREY" engraving, as well as a drilled hole on the outer edge of the case back. Furthermore, the case number is engraved on the inside case back.

    This particular example is preserved in excellent condition with crisp, sharp bevels and robust proportions. Furthermore, the Asprey engraving on the caseback remains deep and legible. Even parts of the black varnish on the outside case back engraving still remain present, attesting to the originality of this timepiece. The dial has aged wonderfully, and the luminous material displays warm patina, further enhancing the appearance of the dial.

    Please note the winning bidder of the present watch will receive a copy of A Journey Into the Deep by John Goldberger and Daniel Bourn.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

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Rolex

Ref. 1665 inside case back stamped 1.72 with repeated serial number 3'566'977
An exceptionally rare stainless steel wristwatch with "Qaboos" dial, date, helium escape valve and bracelet, made for the Sultan of Oman and retailed by Asprey

Circa 1972
39.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF250,000 - 500,000 
€220,000-440,000
$256,000-512,000

sold for CHF324,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 89
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT

Geneva Auction 10-11 November 2018