A moment of pride

Provenance, or the history of ownership, is one of the most important factors when determining the value of an object, and this is particularly true in the case of watches.

In 2005, the Rolex Marilyn Monroe had specially engraved and presented to John F. Kennedy on his a birthday in 1962 was sold at auction for $120,000.

The same value and appreciation applies also to special collections, one-offs or limited edition watches manufactured to order to mark certain momentous occasions.  Such as the Rolex gifted to Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India, on 26 January 1950, on India’s first ever Republic Day.

Over the years I have come across several made to order, stand-out pieces from the region, and from the Emirates.

Following the formation of the UAE in 1971, for over a decade, there have been several limited editions issued by brands such as Omega, Longines, Tudor, Chopard, Bulgari, Franck Muller and Rolex, at the request of high ranking UAE officials.

These limited edition watches were manufactured to be presented as gifts to foreign dignitaries on special occasions and diplomatic visits, but also to honour those in the military service of the UAE.


On Rolex watches in particular, the dials were customized to feature logos and effigies, such as the UAE Armed Forces, the UAE Air Forces, the UAE Eagle, the Abu Dhabi Government, and, on a few very exceptional collections, even the leadership of the UAE, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, HH General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Mubarak Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan.

While it is difficult to estimate the number of collections issued as far as the UAE is concerned, it’s fair to say they are very rare, very difficult to source and very sought after. For Emiratis these watches represent a rich piece of history and a token of pride.

Last year we were able to source several pieces, including a Rolex Datejust with the name of Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan engraved in Arabic on the dial. We received countless calls and requests for purchase within minutes. We look forward to showcasing some unique pieces this year as well, on the occasion of the UAE National Day.

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