From April 24 to May 4, Christie's Watches Online: The Dubai Edit celebrates spring with a rare pearl from the Orient, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 4100BA 'Maktoum Dial', dating back to 1980.

The Royal Oak, widely regarded as one of the most influential designs of all time, was originally designed by Gerald Genta for Audemars Piguet. The reference 4100 was launched in 1977 as a medium-sized version (35mm) of the Royal Oak Ref. 5402 (39mm). This time designed by Jacqueline Dimier, it was also the first Royal Oak to feature a central seconds hand. From the outset it was produced in steel, yellow gold and two-tone versions. According to Audemars Piguet, some 1977 pieces in yellow gold were made between 1988 and 2.130.

This lot has the distinction of bearing the name of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the current ruler of Dubai, who held the position of Defense Minister of the United Arab Emirates in the 80s. To accommodate his signature on the upper half of the dial, the Audemars Piguet lettering has been moved to the lower half of the dial.

The Sheikh's name has also appeared on Rolex wristwatches in the past, but we have hardly come across his signature on vintage Audemars Piguet models.

It was a common practice among Gulf royalty and prominent government institutions in the region to commission watches with their names or logos on the dial. These watches were given as state gifts or commemorative tokens to individuals, diplomats or business partners. Within collectors' circles, these watches were known as "Arabic dials" and are considered collector's items.

This Royal Oak Ref. 4100BA “Maktoum Dial” will be sold with its Audemars Piguet Extract between April 24 and May 4 in Christie's Watches Online: The Dubai Edit Sale.