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Day-Date 36 'Khanjar' Dial 18K White Gold - 1803/9

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As the Oman nation was being established, the late Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said developed relationships with Rolex through John Asprey, enabled by his close friend (and one of the richest men in England at the time) Brigadier Sir James Timothy Whittington Landon. It is believed that the inspiration for placing the Khanjar on the dial of certain watches came from Asprey himself. The Qaboos was drawn to the majesty and significance of the Royal warrants held by Asprey and wanted a similar crest to add credibility to his reign. And what better way than to position this alongside two of the most important Swiss watch brands in the world – Patek Philippe & Rolex, and later amongst others. Friendships were formed and the story goes that the watches embodying the crest of the Khanjar were handed to many different people, from dignitaries, soldiers, civil servants, through to those who may have been assisting in arranging an important meal at a restaurant. Such was the generosity of the Qaboos and it considered that this was also a way of spreading his influence and establishing the nation he ruled. These watches bore many different configurations and colours – Some considered that the colours used on the dials and emblem signified who the watches were gifted to, however this is generally viewed as a myth. The Sultan himself also became one of the world’s most important collectors and left a legacy that continues to attract attention from collectors around the world with their historical importance and limited production.

Of late these watches are becoming increasingly sought after since the Qaboos passed recently. Many unseen variants have since started to surface as recipients would not sell a watch they were gifted so not to offend the Qaboos. This particular watch is a Rolex Day-Date 1803 from 1974 in white gold with a blue dial and gold baton hour markers, gold hands and a lime green Khanjar emblem above the 6 o’clock position on the dial. This combination of white gold and yellow gold markers/hands is rather unusual and most likely supplied at a special request. We’ve not seen another version with this combination and the emblem is very subtle in green with the blue dial unlike other more blatant Day-Date versions out there. We rather like it for this reason and it will appeal to someone wanting something a little more understated.

The watch was serviced by Rolex in February 2006 and comes accompanied by the Rolex international service receipt. Also included is a manual, service invoice, manual and original fitted maroon presentation box decorated in gold printing with the Oman national emblem consisting of two crossed swords and stamped to the inside by Asprey London. The caseback of the watch is marked “KR” signifying it’s supply to Khimji Ramdas whom some of the watches were ordered through.

The condition of the watch is excellent having been worn sparingly. The bracelet is still unstretched and in excellent condition. Initially we thought the dial was later supplied by Rolex however upon examination and consultation with a number of experts it is believed it could in fact be original to the watch. Under magnification it is possible to see the watch has been re-lumed and that remnants of the original tritium lume are still visible underneath - it is possible this re-lume was done at the service in 2006 at special request by the previous owner so that the dial was not replaced with a service replacement without the Khanjar emblem.

Overall, it’s a beautiful watch with a nice combination of metals and colours making it a rare and sought after example.


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