‘Desert Eagle’ UAE Dial 6263 Rolex Daytona

Some of the sickest, most historically significant Daytonas in the world don’t say Daytona anywhere on them. But only a handful are so important that they don’t even say Rolex. Rolex did not bow this deeply for Tiffany, Beyer, or Assad. Rolex only agreed to make dials that didn’t say Rolex at the special request for Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, then Minister of Defense for the United Arab Emirate now Absolute Ruler of Dubai. Interestingly, where most UAE Daytonas we’ve seen bear the signature of the Ministry of Defense below the handstack, this example bears the personal signature of the Sheikh.


In the 70s, it was not uncommon for UAE military defense or police forces to special order a small run of Rolexes. Rolex watches were the favored gifts of those higher up in government, both to their employees and friends. However, only a fraction of these were Daytonas. Despite the Desert Eagle nickname, it’s actually a hawk. Most Middle Eastern Daytonas are Omani, fewer than two dozen are thought to bear this Quraysh Hawk UAE Coat of Arms in polychromatic enamel at 12. No one knows exact production figures, but this is speculated from the serial numbers we know and sporadic examples that show up. The hawk’s central crest bears a sailboat, a part of the Al Maktoum family emblem.

Of that overall production, just a handful of examples are known. Most have their serial numbers in a tight range (as in last-two-digits-close). However, the examples we’ve seen bearing the Sheikh’s signature vary greatly, leading some to speculate these were each one-off orders for occasions. It should also be noted that some examples you’ll see, not this one, lack sigma signatures at 6. Those are speculated to be service dials, rather interestingly, though no one really knows for sure. One sold by Phillips in 2016 for 605K CHF. Another sold another in 2018 for 324K CHF. Yet another went through Monaco Legends in 2019 with a 266K EUR hammer. Why the disparity? I would suggest two hypothesis: first, condition. The first through the gates was the better example. Second, that initial high sale has pulled further examples out of the collector woodwork since, I have heard of two examples trading hands privately. This is an intensely special Daytona, both as a mark of UAE pride but equally of a time when Rolex had a degree of humility and the utmost respect for their clients.

This example appears to be strong on condition, but it should be noted that the hands are a latter replacement and not UV reactive as tritium is. That will effect the hammer. Equally, the hawk is exhibiting minor but still present lifting. Its case has seen a light polish but does return relatively full lugs with top brushing and a decent transition. It comes as part of Phillips spring NY auctions.