DUBAI: Following a string of successful watch auctions in Hong Kong and Geneva, Sotheby’s will be displaying and selling some of its rarest and most sought-after timepieces in Dubai on Sunday.
Featuring 159 watches that range from brand new to vintage, sourced from all over the globe, the Dubai watch auction will include precious, gem-set timepieces for men and women, from an array of brands such as Audemars Piaget, Patek Philippe and Rolex.
“People from the Middle East really enjoy high-end timepieces and luxurious gem-set watches,” Frederic Watrelot, a senior watch specialist for Sotheby’s based in Dubai, told Arab News.
“Because the Gulf is generally safe, collectors feel comfortable wearing expensive watches. Plus, they have the taste and the means.”
There are plenty of Arab-inspired dials that are sure to grab attention. Made for Middle Eastern dignitaries between the 1970s and 1990s, these timepieces are distinguished by dials that boast the emblems or coat of arms of countries or institutions in the region.
“It’s a frequent thing in the Gulf that governments and royal families will request specially made pieces from brands,” said Watrelot.
Watch aficionados will certainly covet Lot 78, a yellow gold Rolex wristwatch commissioned by the sultanate of Oman in the early 1970s.
The timepiece features the Khanjar crest, the emblem of the Gulf country. The bezel and bracelet’s middle links are elevated with a bark finish.
Other pieces up for sale that are sure to delight include a special-edition Patek Philippe wristwatch that was created specifically for Istanbul, and a small Rolex made in honor of the 50th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence.
“Collectors love to have these special, limited-edition pieces because they’re extremely unique and hard to come by,” said Watrelot.
The piece de resistance is a highly complicated Greubel Forsey watch that displays the Earth, rotating at the exact same time and speed as the actual planet.
It is the first time that this timepiece from the Swiss horlogerie house, which only produces about 100 watches per year, goes on sale. To put that into perspective, Rolex produces about 1 million watches per year.
Other sought-out watches include a Patek Philippe perpetual calendar, a diamond-embezzled piece that boasts moon phases, day, night and leap-year indication. Watch this space.