Qaboos Khanjar 666A IWC Ingenieur
IWC first marketed the 666 Ingenieur with the tagline ‘For the man who expects the impossible from his watch’. Perhaps that line has never been more true than with this example, minus the casual sexism. This very first Ingenieur is a classic with innovative engineering, elegant design, and understated 37mm proportions. First designed to take on the Railmaster and Milgauss, IWC’s take on the anti-magnetic watch was much more classic. The subtle exterior belied the iron cage and robust movement within. This one, though, has an additional story to tell.
The khanjar is a traditional J-shaped dagger which is a symbol of pride in Oman’s history. In watch collecting, the emblem is most frequently associated with Rolex or Patek commissioned for Omani royalty. But it does not stop there. Back in the early 1970s one could buy in volume a small handful of custom dial watches for family and friends (with wealth as an obvious proviso) from a variety of watchmakers. The absurdity of that request and relatively rare number of examples make any highly collectible today. Ingenieurs have been seen with khanjars very rarely, and those that do surface are usually the latter integrated cases. This 666A is among the earliest IWCs ordered for Qaboos.
This dial was commissioned for former Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said Al Said. Qaboos is something of a search term amongst Rolex collectors, as demonstrable provenance has become of increasing importance. Qaboos would occasionally sign his watches in red script, creating an even more personal attachment. To my knowledge, though, all his IWCs were khanjars. Often, these khanjar or signed watches were given as tokens of gratitude for services rendered in state roles (including military, mercenary, and police). Clear provenance for each watch’s history is often difficult or impossible to ascertain, though it’s unlikely to be mundane.
This example has a clear and crisp signature with an undegraded dial (all-important here). I implore my readers, as always, to perform their own research. This khanjar comes from a well-regarded small retailer who is very knowledgable. That said, Qaboos or khanjar dials are not territory for the novice collector. The recent proliferation of fraud in this dial niche alone is enough to make the most veteran enthusiasts cautious. I see nothing out of place with my eye. Normally, papers can aid is supplying provenance but we don’t have that luxury today. Aside from my cautions, the condition report is great. Lugs are full, the tritium is all present, and the watch even comes on its original Gay Frères bracelet. The retailer has strong feedback and is very knowledgable, I direct to them for further inquiry.
FInd this Qaboos 666A here from Vintage Times Amsterdam for 19500 USD.