A very rare, well preserved and historically important stainless steel wristwatch with date and bracelet, with original guarantee, box made for the Sultan of Oman, from the son of the original owner, including a hand-written letter on the history of the watch and related provenance material

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1977
    Reference No: 1665
    Movement No: 337'541
    Case No: 5'067'180
    Model Name: Sea Dweller
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 1570, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, stamped 93150, endlinks stamped 585, max length 215mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex guarantee with Rolex green leather envelop, hand-written letter from original owner with notarized “Notice of Gift” letter, owners USN Naval Aviator certificate, squadron eight helicopter training certificate, Sultanate of Oman Commercial Pilots Licence (Aeroplanes), Sultanate of Oman Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (Helicopters), Scuba Diver Log Book, 1985 The Order of The Special Royal Emblem with metals, service papers dated 2002 and 2019, assorted photographs

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex released the Sea-Dweller model in 1967 as the ultimate divers’ watch, which established a new standard for performance and technology with its depth rating of 2000 feet or 610 meters. A leading watch for professionals and saturation divers, the reference 1665 featured the first integrated helium escape value (HEV), which allowed helium to be released from the watch during saturation dives in underwater habitats. During a deep decent, helium gas accumulated inside the watch. Thereafter, during decompression, the built-up gas posed a risk for the watch to fail with the crystal potentially breaking or popping-of under the pressure. The escape value mitigated that gas pressure and soon became an industry standard for dive watches. The very early models featured a case back engraved “Patent Pending Rolex Oyster Gas Escape Value”, and once the patent was issued, future case backs like the current example would read “Rolex Patent Oyster Gas Escape Valve”.

    The present example, with a 5.06 million serial number, is part of an extremely small group of watches delivered specially by Rolex upon order by His Majesty, the Sultan of Oman, and features the coveted “Golden Khanjar”, likely the rarest of all Omani-issued wristwatches. These watches, numbered between a 5.0 and 5.3 million serial range, were gifted to loyal servants and foreign dignitaries, and as we see from this historically interesting Sea-Dweller, in recognition of service to the Sultanate of Oman who sought to express gratitude to members of special forces who assisted him in the early 1970s. Consigned by the son of the original owner, this watch and its documented provenance provide a rich history of the original owner as well as for this extremely sought-after watch. The symbol on the dial is part of the national emblem of Oman and there are three types found on timepieces: the rarest “Golden Khanjar”, like the present watch, depicts an object of utmost importance, a red “Qaboos” signature, and the more commonly seen “red Khanjar”. Far rarer than other versions, the Gold Khanjar Sea Dweller is believed to have been produced in no more than one dozen examples. This particular example is accompanied by an unprecedented litany of documentation, photographs and other printed material that reflects an impressive provenance of Omani military service.

    The original owner of the present watch was employed by the Royal Oman Police (ROP) Airwing from 1975-1980. Due to the lack of a marine unit in either the police or Oman Navy, he organized a small group of volunteers who would provide meaningful support. During his time in Oman, he was twice called upon to assist in search and rescue operations when a royal fight helicopter (AU40- AD) crashed. In the first instance, he was called upon to dive to, locate, and recover the aircraft. In the second instance, when a police academy ROP helicopter went down with cadets aboard on March 20th of 1977, the owner participated in search and rescue for lost bodies, and later recovery of the wreck. The owner’s Scuba Dive Log Book with both of these events recorded is included in the material accompanying the watch. Extraordinarily, the watch comes with its original guarantee and service medals awarded to the original owner. In appreciation for his service, the owner was granted “The Order of The Special Royal Emblem” by the Sultan of Oman in recognition of his efforts and dedication.

    This extraordinary and rare “Golden Khanjar” Sea- Dweller, along with its rich historical documentation, will captivate both Rolex collectors and connoisseurs seeking a trophy in one of the most unique and well-documented Omani watches ever to be offered.

  • 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
A very rare, well preserved and historically important stainless steel wristwatch with date and bracelet, with original guarantee, box made for the Sultan of Oman, from the son of the original owner, including a hand-written letter on the history of the watch and related provenance material

Circa 1977
39.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed

Estimate
$200,000 - 400,000 
CHF199,000-398,000
€181,000-363,000
HK$1,560,000-3,130,000

sold for $462,500

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

GAME CHANGERS

New York Auction 10 December 2019