Rolex watches with an Arabic dial? - Arabic Style 

2 bulidings with the Rolex Brand in arabic.

The variety of Rolex dials could not be more colorful. It goes from the most diverse indices to fancy colors to gemstone trim.  

When it comes to dials, creativity knows no bounds. There are even indices that originate from a different cultural space. We're talking about Rolex's Arabic Dial.

Especially on the web, there are many posts of Rolex watches with Arabic indices. In the wild, however, you don't see that many examples. Nevertheless, the Arabic dial is not a myth. But what exactly is behind the Arabic dial?   

Rolex also produces watches with Arabic indices. These are made exclusively for the Middle Eastern market. The watches with Arabic Dial are highly exclusive and addressed to a very wealthy target group. That is why all the newer Arabic Dial watches are also made of platinum.  

The Arabic Dial from Rolex

The Rolex watches with the Arabic dial were originally intended to serve a very specific niche, namely the watch market of the Middle East.   

Rolex had this idea already in the 50s, when the first watches with Arabic weekday displays were released.

The Middle East is a very large and important market for the luxury watchmaker from Geneva, and it has large sales to its credit.  

The special feature of these watches is that the regular indices for the hour displays are replaced with Arabic Hindi numbering. These numberings come from the Hindu Arabic numbering system, which is also the origin of our numbers in the West that we are used to in everyday life nowadays.  

In addition, there are Day-Date and Datejust variants, where only the day of the week or the date display is Arabic.

With the Arabic Dial, Rolex hopes above all to be able to address the market in the Middle East even better and to develop it further by strengthening their relationship with customers. After all, the target group should feel addressed and welcomed by the Arabic numbering.  


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Availability and production

The Arabic Dial chronometers are part of the production for the Middle East market. At the same time, these watches are relatively rare and highly sought after. The demand is high because the watch is not only extremely popular in the Orient but also enjoys increasing popularity in the rest of the world.

In addition, it should be noted that the brand with the golden crown has already produced some unique pieces with Arabic dial for famous personalities from royal houses, for example. These are absolutely unique pieces that will probably always be withheld from the public.

There are no specific numbers on how many watches with Arabic dials Rolex has already produced. It's only certain that the production numbers are very low.

The watches, as already mentioned, are made since the 50s. This also means that there are very rare specimens that are already decades old and are hardly traded on the markets. Once these specimens appear on the market, they are extremely sought after and will go over the counter at horrendous sums.

Generally speaking, Rolex watches with Arabic dials are extremely hard to come by. After all, these are not part of the regular product catalogue for the European market. But even if a dealer somehow gets hold of a few specimens, it would prove extremely difficult to get hold of them. It's probably even more challenging than it already is with regular Rolex watches, precisely because these models are so rare and the coveted rare pieces usually go to long-term customers or buyers with very good contacts.


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The new Arabic Dials since 2016

In fact, the joy of Arabic dials in the 1950s was to be short-lived. Because at the end of the 1970s, Rolex already stopped the production of Arabic Dials again. At that time, the watch manufacturer from Geneva probably did not see enough potential in the Middle Eastern market.

Presumably, the wristwatches in Arabic style sold too poorly at that time.   

However, in 2016, the luxury watch manufacturer reconnected with the tradition. Over the past decades, not only has Rolex as a corporation grown enormously, but so has the Middle East, particularly the desert states on the Arabian Peninsula, such as Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. A huge market has developed there, in which a lot of money was involved, making the Arabic Dial dials a welcome addition.

The new Arabic Dial watches are made exclusively of platinum, intended to cater to the extremely wealthy target group in the Middle East. This has been successful, as the Rolex watches are highly popular there.

The Problem with Custom Arabic Dials 

However, as with other specific or special models from Rolex, caution is advised with the Arabic Dial.   

Counterfeiters love to replicate these watches and sell them as replicas or even on the secondary market as authentic pieces.

But at the same time, numerous custom watches with Arabic dials are circulating on the marketplaces. These are not fakes per se, even if Rolex sees it differently. However, they are not original Rolex watches with Arabic dials that came from the manufacturer.

They are probably somehow between original and fake. In the end, it's a matter of interpretation.  

Original watches with Arabic dials are extremely expensive. A custom watch could be a cheaper alternative. However, this also comes with the disadvantage of being altered after production.

The value development doesn't look promising, and it could even be that Rolex refuses to service these watches because the company considers them as counterfeits. If it's only the dial, one should make sure to purchase a watch where the original dial is still available so that it could be reinstalled if necessary.


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Value development

We've already touched on the value development. This is grand for some models. The watches are extremely popular and at the same time very rare. It's not surprising that these watches also perform very well on the grey market.

As mentioned earlier, there are some vintage watches that are very rare. Some references hardly ever appear on the marketplaces and if they do, they are only traded at auctions and at immense prices.

Current Rolex watches with Arabic dials, such as the Platinum Day-Date or the Daytona with ice blue dial, also perform very well on the secondary market. Anyone who has had the opportunity to buy these watches at list price in the past will surely smile when they see the performance.   

At the same time, custom watches with Arabic dials do not have any special value development. They are priced in line with other custom watches after wear. Surely these watches are not worthless, but they are also not an investment. As we all know, the original condition of a Rolex is sacred and should not be tampered with.

It will be interesting to see where the Arabic dials will rank in terms of price in the future. Because with the demand and Hype for them, there's no end in sight for the time being.


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Q&A

What are Arabic Dials on Rolex watches?
These are Rolex watches with dials whose indices have Arabic numbering.

Why does Rolex make Arabic dials?
Rolex probably hopes to build a good relationship with customers in the Middle East and thus better exploit its very promising sales market.

Are Rolex watches with Arabic dials fake?
No, Rolex produces watches with Arabic dials especially for the Middle East.

How long have Rolex Arabic dials been around?
Rolex has produced watches with Arabic Dial already in the 50s. Then at the end of the seventies it was finished and only in 2016 new ones came again.

Why are the new Arabic Dial watches made of platinum?
Rolex probably wants to appeal to the exclusivity of the super wealthy buyers.

Scource cover image: Unsplash


About the author

Autor bei Gentleman-watches

Alexander Weinberger

For me, the most fascinating thing about watches is the interplay between precise craftsmanship and artistic development. In a watch movement, hundreds of small parts have to be put together precisely so that they form a large whole.


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