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Details & Cataloguing

Important Watches

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Geneva

Rolex
'KHANJAR NO. 9' DAY-DATE, REF 1831 PLATINUM AND DIAMOND-SET WRISTWATCH WITH DAY AND DATE MADE FOR THE SULTANATE OF OMAN CIRCA 1977
Dial: silvered sunburst Khanjar, diamond-set indexes
Calibre: cal. 1556 automatic, 26 jewels
Movement number: DD'336'518
Case: platinum and diamond-set 'Oysterquartz' case, screw-down crown and back
Case number: 5'086'936
Dimensions: 40mm
Signed: case, dial and movement
Accessories: none
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Catalogue Note

Rarity is a very valuable feature in any wristwatch, and this is especially so when it comes to vintage Rolex. However given the nature and scale of Rolex production (a production that today constitutes around a million watches a year), rarity in this instance still usually refers to the manufacture of pieces numbering thousands.   To find a Rolex, then, that may have been limited to just as few as nine pieces is particularly noteworthy and incredibly desirable.

The watch in question; a Rolex Day-Date automatic reference 1831 with Khanjar dial and housed within a solid platinum case. Interestingly the case is not the standard Day-Date Oyster, but in fact shares the same design as the automatic 1530, 1630 and Oysterquartz references.  These watches are known, and indeed have appeared at auction in the past achieving fantastic results.  However at this time, all known examples being individually numbered on the case back, it was suggested that these were in fact limited to only 8 pieces. The present lot however, its case number serially coinciding with its predecessors, is individually numbered No. 9 - in the same manner as the previously known examples.

This example may also represent a departure from current understanding that the series was produced by Rolex at the request of the Shah of Iran.  These watches, one through eight, feature stellar dials; so how, then, does the watch above come to bear the emblem of the Sultanate of Oman? This is a question particularly difficult to answer and perhaps may remain a mystery.  However through the current owner Sotheby’s has learnt that the watch may have been gifted in the late 70s by Sultan Qaboos bin Saïd of Oman to the first Premier of Djibouti upon gaining its independence from France. The watch was then gifted by Premier Assan Gouled to the family of the present owner.

It has become clear also that the Platinum bracelet was unfortunately sold at some point in the watch’s history. However for the new owner of this exceptional timepiece Sotheby’s has especially commissioned the production of stainless steel end links, now fitted, allowing the watch to be worn on a leather strap.

Important Watches

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Geneva