OMAN: The Significance of a National Emblem and Rolex

O M A N 
T H E   S I G N I F I C A N C E   O F   A   N A T I O N A L   E M B L E M   &   R O L E X

The Oman coat of arms national emblem has been imprinted on many variations of vintage Rolex sport models such as the Sea-Dweller 1665, and Submariner 1680/8 documented by Stefano Mazzariol. In the world of vintage Rolex,  it is a known reality of an exclusive tag aligned with Rolex Oman models. Rare, desirable and intriguing. From the Netherlands, Philipp Stahl wrote on the Oman dial at RolexPassionReport.com – entitled The Rolex Oman Story of Special Rolex Watch Deliveries to the Sultan of Oman. Other related articles include ryan5446’s research on Sea-dweller reference 1665 Qaboos dial. Daniel Bourn (UK), of Vintage-DB.com have inked an article based on a true story featuring SAS defeating numerous insurgents in Oman in the 1970’s, covering factual events that involved outnumbered military personnel in unfamiliar territories. 

In this article, what follows is a coverage of Oman logos on Rolex watches respective to design, history and an edited English translation of Stefano Mazzariol’s Oman: A Sea-Dweller with Swords article to outline the relationship between Oman and Rolex. All the above articles are highly recommended if you are interested in learning more about these coveted and highly desirable Rolex Oman dials. 

▼ P A U L   N E W M A N   C O S M O G R A P H   O M A N   D I A L

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▲ P H O T O : P H I L I P P   S T A H L ,  R O L E X P A S S I O N R E P O R T . C O M   

What significance does the Oman have on a Rolex signed dial? How many Rolex wrist watches with the Oman national emblem logo was actually made? Perplex far fetched questions intertwined with numeric-accuracy makes this an intricate matter to deal with. One thing for sure: there are mixed opinions on the significance of the Oman emblem on a Rolex watch. To a collector, the rarity factor will command a desire to own a Rolex watch with Oman logo. In my interview with Stefano Mazzariol back in May 2012, Oman was probably the most repeated [# hash tag] I had for this committed vintage Rolex specialist. 

Q: How many green Oman logo on a 6263 Daytona at 12 o’clock position were produced? The beauty of vintage Rolex watch collecting, is the uncovering of the history details behind each timepiece of rarity. Assumption: If this number can be affirmed, what of price tag will be an Oman emblem Daytona? Trending are rising prices for Oman insignia Rolex sports models over the past 3-5 years, and are in close comparisons to the higher value echelonic articles at Christies or Antiquorum.

As far as the true vintage Rolex collector, if one can take position-and-ownership on a rare timepiece aforementioned, the watch speaks for itself. Value or not, that lies in the eye of the beholder – beauty & significance of the Oman emblem on a Rolex. There have been many variances in terms of ‘liking’ or ‘disliking’ degrees in accordance to behavioural analytics based on interview coverage on the Oman logo on a collectors’ wristed timepiece. Much beyond the Oman logo lies the national association, history of men in action, and a collaboration between a country and a Swiss watch manufacturer in an agreed limited quantity production. 

 ▼ S E A – D W E L L E R   R E F   1 6 6 5   R E D   O M A N   D I A L 

▲ P H O T O : D A N I E L   B O U R N ,  V I N T A G E – D B . C O M 

O M A N   E M B L E M  :  I L L U S T R A T E D

oman-red-smallA picture speaks a thousand words. Delay your optics by focusing at the Oman emblem • • • from a design perspective, this logo sits so brilliantly well on any Rolex watch dial. From the 4-corner arches of the 2 swords layered on a Khanjar dagger in a shealth, to the colour of choice in bright red, luminous green and dazzling gold ink print. At one time, when I was closely observing the overall architecture of the RED Oman logo, a resemblance with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge aka Golden Gate at dusk or dawn with celebrating curves. The kriss-krossing X patterns within the borders adds more depth to a logo, and within those Khanjar daggers on the coat of arms logo – creates an effect of a Big X engulfed with small x. The deep red paint depicted on the above 1665 dial by Daniel Bourn without standard 2 liners on the 6 o’clock set off by a deep orange tritium markers, is a remarkable work of art especially in the eyes of the vintage Rolex collector.  

▼ G O L D E N   G A T E   B R I D G EGolden_Gate


▼​ S H O W C A S E : R O L E X   O M A N   W A T C H E S  

 ▼ G M T   M A S T E R   O M A N   D I A L 

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▲ P H O T O : P H I L I P P   S T A H L ,  R O L E X P A S S I O N R E P O R T . C O M  

Featured above is a GMT Master reference 1675 with the Oman emblem at 6 o’clock position. Every sighting of an Oman dial is just simply put – scarce and rare. Shift your focus now to the lower half of the dial including the bezel insert ‣ from 6 to 18 bezel gauge. The pepsi bezel is a iconic representation of the maiden NY flight out to London when Rolex first introduced for the primary purpose of dual time zone telling. What captivates the eyes are 3 colour elements: the Red Oman insignia, tritium plots of a creamy yellow tone, and the red portion of the insert. Against a black matte background with contrasting white fonts on the foreground. This was an ingenious design that goes way back decades ago. True artisans working on watch parts at the headquarters of Rolex have much residual history of fresh perspectives to tell. 


▼ S E A – D W E L L E R   R E F   1 6 6 5   G O L D   O M A N   D I A L

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 ▲ P H O T O : M O N D A N I   E D I T O R E ,  C O L L E C T I N G W A T C H E S . C O M 

The Sea-Dweller reference 1665 with gold Oman emblem above 06:00 index marker. This particular sports model is manufactured in 1977 bearing the case no. 533, xxxx. On a creamy tritium dial as above, the contrasting effects between the golden Oman insignia is immediate visually. Minimalism of the dial is achieved with the absence of the 4 usual lines: SEA-DWELLER, 2000 ft – 200m , Superlative Chronometer, Officially Certified. The 2-liner below the Rolex crown of ROLEX, Oyster Perpetual with the Oman logo is a representation of how “less is more” can be effective in optical attraction. 


▼ P A U L   N E W M A N   C O S M O G R A P H   O M A N   D I A L 

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▲ P H O T O : P H I L I P P   S T A H L ,  R O L E X P A S S I O N R E P O R T . C O M 


▼ P A U L   N E W M A N   C O S M O G R A P H   O M A N   D I A L

Omani-Daytona-Gold-Dial-by-Stefano-Mazzariol▲ P H O T O : S T E F A N O   M A Z Z A R I O L ,  V I N T A G E W A T C H E S . I T 


▼ S E A – D W E L L E R   R E F   1 6 6 5   R E D   O M A N   D I A L

oman1▲ P H O T O : S T E F A N O   M A Z Z A R I O L ,  V I N T A G E W A T C H E S . I T 


▼​ O M A N : O V E R V I E W

▲  G R A P H I C S : A L A N   K O H ,  A D A P T E D   F R O M   W I K I P E D I A . O R G


H I S T O R Y   O F   T H E   R E G I O N

Below excerpt from ‘British Counter-Insurgency Campaigns and Iraq’ by J.E. Peterson provides an indepth look into the Oman and Aden regions.

Oman

Since the 19th century, Oman had been divided between a hereditary régime, the Sultanate, based on the coast and a semi- independent theocracy, the Imamate, in the interior. It was the intention of the coastal ruler, Sultan Sa‘id bin Taymur, to peacefully reassume control over the interior upon the death of the theocracy’s highly respected religious leader. But the latter lived until 1954 when external Arab politics intruded on Oman. 

The leader’s replacement was heavily influenced by his brother and a prominent tribal leader. The Sultanate’s small, British- officered forces easily captured the Imamate’s capital in late 1955 and its leaders either capitulated or fled the country. But they returned in 1957 with Saudi and Egyptian help and briefly regained control of the interior before being forced to retreat to a plateau high in the mountains.

Although the local forces faced no resistance from the general population, they were unable to dislodge the small core of Imamate leaders and followers from their aerie, from which they regularly descended to plant mines and carry out other acts of sabotage. It took two squadrons of Britain’s Special Air Service 

(SAS), just completing their operations in Malaya, to ascend the mountain and force the hard-core to flee to Saudi Arabia. This action brought the insurgency to an end although minelaying and other sabotage continued on a low-level until 1970.

Aden

Aden at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula had become a British crown colony while a network of treaties of protection bound the various tribes and petty rulers in the surrounding hinterland to Britain as the Aden Protectorate. A strong labor movement emerged in Aden and adopted political overtones as some of its leaders opposed a continued British presence.

The attempt to create a Federation of South Arabia to unite urban Aden and the undeveloped Protectorate never achieved its intended legitimacy and the start of a serious insurgency was marked by an attempted assassination of the British High Commissioner for Aden in 1963. With the declaration of an “emergency,” attention focused on the mountainous region of Radfan north of Aden. British attempts to pacify the area faced increasingly violent opposition, fueled by Egyptian assistance and enhanced by sanctuary in neighboring North Yemen.

A struggle for control of the insurgency emerged between the Egyptian- backed FLOSY (Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen) and the more radical NLF (National Liberation Front). The insurgency increasingly employed terrorism against British targets in Aden itself at the same time that it was busy displacing the traditional rulers across the Protectorate. By 1967, the British Labor government announced that, despite Aden’s importance as Britain’s last major base in the Middle East, it would withdraw its forces and negotiate with the NLF on the terms for independence.


rolex-oman-640-F1Oman: A Sea-Dweller With Swords by Stefano Mazzariol
Edited & translated by Alan Koh | Original Article in Italiano @Blogspot

Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 1The Arabian Sea was an important geographic location for navigating to India. Especially since the source was coal bunker oil from ships and stations, coal was an essential commodity supplied to ships. Under British rule since 1839, Port of Aden (South Yemen) was one of the most prominent transit points.

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Following World War II, Britain started to withdraw troops from previously colonized territories – even if bounded and protected by England. During the 1950s and 1960s era, a series of coups revolutionized nations with ousting of leaders in Syria, Libya, Egypt, Iraq and leaning towards Soviet Union (USSR). These Union nations became a rallying point for dissident groups from the remaining monarchies, so as to organize coups in the other Gulf states. 

Port of Aden became a strategic point where the revolutionaries attacked indiscriminately without precise objectives – inflicting both civilians and military personnel. In a vicious attack, a British officer was killed in action by a local after which all troops were withdrawn from Crater – centre of Port Aden. Under the command of Col. Colin Mitchell, special troops were sent out to ensure and secure the withdrawal of troops processes. England, at this time, has decided to gain back the control of the city and Port of Aden.

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The British were fighting against the National Liberation Front (supported by the Soviets) and the Front for Liberating South Yemen (supported by Egypt and North Yemen). As the nearing of withdrawal of British troops approaches, wars between both revolutionary groups ignited after independence.

Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 10

In 1967, British troops withdrew and National Liberation Front succeeded power. The nation was declared as the first Arab state associated with Marxist People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). The new regime with help from Soviet bloc and China began providing aid to Oman dissidents.  

Oman was led by Sultan Sa ‘id ibn Taymur, an autocratic ruler enforcing policies such as the banning of education. The dissidents organized by the Soviets called themselves the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman (PFLOAG) guerillas – fightning to free themselves from dictatorship. coup d’etat was executed successfully as Sultan Sa’id was deposed by his son, Qaboos ibn Sa’id with a westernized education in English trained at the military academy.

Sultan of Oman (1970 – Present) : Qaboos bin Said Al Said (Arabic:  قابوس بن سعيد آل سعيد  born 18 November 1940)

Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 11

The Qaboos succession, a move-away from his father’s radical policy, began developing and modernizing Oman of today. As persistent rebellion continued at the outer front, Qaboos requested for Britain’s assistance. Two SAS squadrons were deployed (each squadron comprising of 4 units, 32 men in each).

In the southern region of Oman, insurgency was escalating in Dhofar. SAS soldiers were sent to occupy and secure the key positions of surrounding stations.  

Doctors and engineers were introduced in part of an operation “Hearts & Minds” of healing, teaching and earning respect of the premises, as the Muslims are opposed to the ideologies of the Marxist rebels.

Over the months, many locals move to the British’s side, and were organized as counter-gangs trained by the SAS to stabilize the situation faced by Qaboos.

Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 12The use of knowledge of places and people proved to be indispensable. The rebels decided that their only hope was to crush the SAS at their bases. In the city of Mirbat, south of Oman, there was British Army Training Team (BATT) house, which housed the nine SAS soldiers, and a contingent of local police. At 6 am on 19 July 1972, the PFLOAG (Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman) with more than 250 rebels (aka Adoos) launched an attack on BATT. These trained rebels were equipped with weaponry such as: light and heavy mortars, grenade launchers, an 84mm anti-tank missile from Gustav. After 3 hours of battle, there were 80 losses of rebels against 2 SAS. 

The rebels did not attempt another attack on the SAS and the rebellion ended three years after. This battle of Mirbat has been described in detail in a book written by an SAS survivor entitled, “Soldier”.  In the culture of Oman and the Gulf countries there cq ‘tradition of giving something and for some reason Rolex watches seemed to be one of the favorite gift. level of respect shown towards a person is judged by the value of the gift offered. This means that often are models in gold and precious stones.

At the headquarters of Rolex in Geneva, a special department was created to deliver the changes required by these special clients. Most of these changes is effected to the 6 ‘clock quadrant where all the normal production writings are replaced with Oman coat of arms emblem. Qaboos is well-exposed to the English-British culture and military life knew that solid gold watches were not normally worn by soldiers. Instead, the Sultan of Oman requested an innovative Rolex sports model – Sea-Dweller reference 1665 where his national emblem would be fixated. 

Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 12Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 13Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 14Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 15Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 16Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 17Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 18Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 19Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 20Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 22

Legend has it that of all the Oman dial Rolex watches given out, officers would receive the gold emblem whereas the red emblem were presented to soldiers who have survived battles. 

Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 23Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 24Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 25Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 26Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 27Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 28Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 29The British military regulation prohibits the reception of gifts for the performance of proposed duty. However, in this case as not to offend a different culture, this rule was not applicable.  Rolex had its distributor in the Middle East Asprey, the famous luxury goods store at Bond Street, London which brands the dial with its own logo. All boxes were customized with the logo of Oman, and the guarantees were delivered in white colour.

Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 30Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 31Stefano Mazzariol - Oman 1665 Article 32

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Subsequently Rolex built a distribution of Asprey watches with Oman logo  sold by dealer 539, Khimji Ramdas, Sultanate of Oman. In the years after the signing Qaboos has also been put on Sea Dweller and 6263, but that’s another story … – Stefano Mazzariol

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A F T E R W O R D  

rolex-oman-640-4The Oman national emblem firestarted this desire to learn more; right from the first time I laid eyes on this chilli red insignia on the Sea-dweller 1665. Bold, angular yet minimalistic with depth, all present in an uncluttered dial exhibiting a Rolex crown insignia, 2 liners of letters, and the Oman coat of arms. If these watches were to be revived through a new order by the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos, how will the general collectors’ market react? The power of politics slides on a double-edged sword. In an ideal world, a table discussion void of politics could very well make way to the appreciation of design fundamentals. As I continue in my search for a Oman 1665, I am sure a trail of collectors are on a journey to seek the same ownership dream. A Rolex watch is not just a tool for telling time, the stories behind their strategic alliances spurs passionate Rolex collectors on with each and every differentiated variation – a mystery no less. I would like to extend my gratitude to the following vintage Rolex specialists, for without their research, and images, this article would not have been possible:

▲ D A N I E L   B O U R N ,  V I N T A G E – D B . C O M ,  U N I T E D   K I N G D O M
▲ M O N D A N I   E D I T O R E ,  C O L L E C T I N G W A T C H E S . C O M ,  I T A L Y​
▲ P H I L I P P   S T A H L ,  R O L E X P A S S I O N R E P O R T . C O M ,  T H E   N E T H E R L A N D S
 S T E F A N O   M A Z Z A R I O L ,  V I N T A G E W A T C H E S . I T ,  I T A L Y
4 Comments
  • Mike
    Posted at 09:46h, 04 June

    WOW. AWESOME. This is a great post. Thank you for all the hard work and effort. Your posts are always the best.

    V/R

    Mike

  • Alessandro
    Posted at 18:46h, 15 June

    Molto interessante, grazie per l’articolo.

  • Calvert
    Posted at 12:21h, 19 May

    What a story. I was in Salala, Oman in early seventies. We did a show for Sultan Quaboos and after the show, the Sultan presented my husband with a solid gold dress watch. I have not been able to find any watch similar to the one I have.. It has an Oman national emblem.

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