Rolex - Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History Hong Kong Sunday, November 27, 2016 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1972
    Reference No: 1665, inside case back 1.72
    Movement No: D573413
    Case No: 3'566'944
    Model Name: Sea-Dweller
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, 180 mm. maximum length, end links stamped 285
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex twinlock folding deployant clasp stamped 4.71
    Dimensions: 39 mm. diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed, dial furthermore stamped with ‘Khanjar’ emblem and case back further engraved Asprey
    Accessories: With Rolex punched and undated Garantie, letter from Rolex confirming the present watch was supplied to Asprey Organisation in the early 1970s, product literature, wallet, fitted presentation box and outer packaging.d outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Watches fitted with custom Middle East 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 a Rolex watch with the state symbol. In fact, many of these watches are cherished by their original owners, and passed down from one generation to the next. As a result, Rolex watches with custom dials hardly appear on the market.

    The present watch features a 'Khanjar' dial, displaying the ‘Khanjar’ symbol, part of the national emblem of Oman. Watches fitted with ‘Khanjar’ dials were made on special request from His Majesty Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the Sultan of Oman, and presented as gifts to his closest dignitaries and servants.

    Research suggests that His Majesty Al Said commissioned Rolex to create special Sea-Dwellers in the 1970s. These were presented to members of Britain’s elite Special Forces branch, the SAS, as a token of gratitude for defeating the Dhofar Rebellion. The Sea-Dwellers were either fitted with a gold Khanjar, a red Qaboos signature, or a red Khanjar, such as the present watch. Rolex scholars hypothesize that around 80 to 90 Sea-Dwellers with red Omani text were manufactured.

    Most importantly, the watches were ordered through Asprey, and it is imperative that these watches bear the retailer's logo engraved in the case back.
    We are so honored to present such a rare, historical and interesting watch that is fresh to the auction market.

    John Goldberger's Opinion

    The present watch with 3.56 million serial, correct in so many ways, is complete with its original guarantee and original box with ‘Khanjar’ logo. It is among the first batch of 'Khanjar’ Sea-Dwellers to be released. The dial is preserved in astounding condition, the red emblem exhibiting bright red tones and emblazoned above 6 o'clock.

    I am particularly fond of the luminous, which displays beautiful deep warm patina, matching the numerals, hands and seconds lollipop perfectly. The case retains sharp edges and displays crisp bevels. The Asprey logo on the case back is clear, legible and very important to the watch’s legitimacy. The inside case back is furthermore repeated with the serial number, confirming it was manufactured upon special order.

  • Artist Biography


    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.

    View More Works


Ref. 1665, inside case back 1.72
An exceptionally rare steel wristwatch with date, ‘Khanjar’ dial, bracelet, guarantee and box, made for the Sultan of Oman and retailed by Asprey

Circa 1972
39 mm. diameter
Case, dial and movement signed, dial furthermore stamped with ‘Khanjar’ emblem and case back further engraved Asprey

HK$1,600,000 - 3,200,000 

Sold for HK$4,040,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
International Department Head
+85 26 773 93 15

Rolex Milestones: 38 Legendary Watches That Shaped History

Hong Kong Auction 28 November 2016