The gold-plated Universal Genève, manufactured in 1955.
PHOTO BY SUPPLIED
DUBAI – What if you bought a vintage watch from an auction in Europe and later find out that the watch actually belonged to royalty?
This was exactly what happened to a Dubai-based collector who stumbled on the most surprising find at an auction in Europe: a special watch that once belonged to Sheikh Zayed!
The collector, who requested anonymity, told WatchTime Middle East that he couldn’t believe his luck when he found out that the vintage watch he bought was actually a watch given by late Saudi King Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father.
The gold-plated Universal Genève, manufactured in 1955, has a silver dial with applied gold hour markers and the coat-of-arms of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia printed in black just below the 12 o’clock marker.
The dial also features an Arabic signature which translates to ‘Saud’, a reference to the Saudi king who ruled the country from 1953 to 1964.
“I have a few ‘Arab dials’ in my collection and didn’t think much about picking this one up at the auction,” the European collector said.
“What piqued my interest was the unusual serial number etched on the well-worn caseback – 1745471 – a palindromic number is unusual and suggested that this was a special commission,” the collector said.
The Archives Department of Universal Genève confirmed that the watch maker “made this special serial number with the number 7 for his Royal Highness Sheikh Zayed.”
Tariq Malik, a vintage watch expert and co-founder of vintage watch boutique Momentum Dubai, said that special watches like this are commissioned by governments to mark special events and not sold publicly, making them highly collectible. GAD/Expat Media
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