Christie's to auction Swiss gold watch owned by last king of Egypt

Zeinab El-Gundy , Monday 19 Mar 2018

King Farouk
King Farouk's rare custom made Patek Philippe watch in Christie's Dubai. (Photo:Reuters)

The UK-based Christie's Auction House has announced that it will auction off on Friday in Dubai a Swiss gold watch that was once owned by King Farouk of Egypt, who ruled from 1936 to 1952.

The 18k chronograph wrist watch, which is embossed with the Egyptian royal crest, was custom made in 1944 by prestigious Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe for the last ruling king of Egypt’s Mohamed Ali dynasty.

The watch, which is expected to sell for $400,000 to $800,000, was one of only 281 such models ever made, according to Reuters.

Ahmed Fouad II, the son of King Farouk, issued a statement in February saying that he and his family “reassert that all that had been confiscated from the [Mohamed Ali] family for the sake of the Egyptian people has become part of the cultural and historical heritage of the nation.”

Fouad, who currently lives in Switzerland, added in his statement that the successive Egyptian governments should have preserved the heritage of the Mohamed Ali family at Egyptian state museums as public properties that should never be neglected or stolen.  

"His royal highness stresses that he rises above reclaiming the watch, as he is its rightful owner, and leaves the responsibility to the Egyptian state," Fouad’s statement said.

It is unclear how the watch reached Christie's, and whether it left Egypt legally or illegally.

In 1954, the Egyptian government held a series of auctions for a number of King Farouk's personal items, including a rare stamp collection, coins as well as a number of watches.

The remaining valuable items previously owned by members of the royal family, which ruled Egypt from 1804 to 1952, are still in the guardianship of the Egyptian state, including priceless collections of jewelry and watches.

The family’s jewelry collection is permanently displayed at the Royal Jewelry Museum in Alexandria.  

King Farouk died in exile in Italy on 18 March 1965.

The king was overthrown and forced to abdicate to his infant son Ahmed Fouad II in July 1952 in a revolution led by then-military colonel and later president Gamal Abdel-Nasser.

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