Approximately $2 billion worth of sales were recorded in the Middle East in 2017
Rare watches commissioned by Dubai’s His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and former Egyptian ruler King Farouk are among the items that will hit the auction block at Christie’s upcoming auction in Dubai.
At the Friday watch auction, the specially-commissioned Rolex watch featuring Sheikh Mohammed’s name will make its debut.
The watch – a Rolex GMT-Master – was serviced by Rolex Geneva in 2017 and is presented in a Rolex box embossed with the crest of the UAE.
The timepiece commissioned by Sheikh Mohammed also includes an “artistic representation” of the watch in the form of a digital drawing applied on aluminium and signed by the artist.
“The present reference 1675 with the name of HH Sheikh Mohammed in red is an exceedingly rare example of a Rolex GMT-Master model and given that it has never previously been offered to the market,” said Christie’s watch specialist Remy Julia. “We anticipate strong interest in this timepiece from collectors in the UAE and around the world.”
Also available will be a rare, 18-carat gold Patek Phillipe 1518 commissioned by a then-25 year old King Farouk of Egypt in 1945.
The watch – which is engraved with a crowned “F” on the reverse – is one of only 281 examples ever crafted. The “F” is topped by a star and half-moon, which featured on the Egyptian flag at the time of King Farouk’s reign.
“The incredible provenance from the region adds another 25 per cent to the value,” Julia said. “‘This watch ticks all the boxes necessary to be labelled a superwatch.
It’s a Patek, it’s vintage and it’s incredibly rare,” Remy added. “It has also been seen before at auction so everyone knows it exists, and therefore wants it.”
On Thursday, Christie’s will also be holding a modern and contemporary art auction featuring artwork from several prominent Middle Eastern artists.
“The demand for quality modern art from the Middle East has made it increasingly scarce, and Christie’s will continue to focus on finding and delivering these works to collections in both our Dubai and London sales,” said Michael Jeha, managing director of Christie’s Middle East.
“In 2018 and beyond, we would like to see a commensurate increase in the quality of contemporary works coming to auction so that the market for these becomes more varied and sustainable both regionally and internationally during the next decade,” he added.
In 2017, Christie’s auction sales increased 26 percent to $6.6 billion, of which $2 billion came from the Middle East. According to Christie’s, 38 percent of purchasers in the region were new to Christie’s.