‘S.M. Alzouman’ 3700 Patek Philippe Nautilus

I have never met S.M. Alzouman, but I know that he is, to use the modern parlance, an absolute G. This is a 3700 Nautilus in two-tone, as late-70s as the Nautilus aesthetic gets. But I’m fairly confident you won’t have seen this dial before, because this is the only one. Retailer signatures are one thing, but this is a name. One man’s name. Getting Patek Philippe to write your own name at 6, even back in 1978, meant you weren’t just anyone. Long time readers will remember a 3940 made for Michael Ovitz from Disney, with his crest on the dial. This is like that, just considerably more awesome. I will occasionally here use the phrase ‘not a replicable proposition in the market.’ It’s never been more appropriate.

This example comes from just two years after the Nautilus was introduced. I haven’t yet seen another personal dial on a 3700. Oman dials, as rare as they are, seem utterly pedestrian by comparison. The 3700 and its offspring are an institution today, in a way that the Nautilus definitely was not when this particular watch was commissioned. One has to assume that Alzouman was a client of Patek from well before the Nautilus was introduced, and thus this was possible. In terms of billing, Patek Philippe just casually placed Mr Alzouman here on equal footing with Tiffany, Beyer, Gübelin. That’s wild.

Very special 3700 dials always command a premium. For example, the Oman Khanjar we highlighted last October wound up hammering for 1.1M CHF at Christie’s. Now, that ties in to a historic region and was cased in full gold. Perhaps this is ignorance, but in all my time searching for a hunting early Nautilus, I’ve never seen another dial made for an individual with their name. This is a Nautlius pretty much without precedent, for me at least. The ask here is 300K US. Is that a sum that’s hard to comprehend? Definitely. Is it outrageous? As hard to believe as this is . . .probably not, actually. I just wish we knew more about who he was as a man and watch lover.

The condition is pretty killer too. The shows almost nothing, touches of wear superficially on the polished center links. Its dial has aged exactly as you would expect, to a cool greyish blue with warmed tritium. That all-important signature is scrips and clear as the day it was made. It comes from a well-regarded Swiss retailer, with extract of archive and original box.

*An update from the retailer made in the wake of this article. The signature is believed to be that of Saleh Mohammad Alzouman, a Saudi industrialist with divisions in aviation, tourism, education, real estate, and watches. The signature isn’t mentioned on the extract. It is believed that it was requested in the 80s by Mr Alzouman at Patek, according to his family, which should definitely be noted.