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34 According to Shafiq Abdulhamid, Patek Philippe makes the best watches the world—which is why he has such an impressive collection of them
“I only buy the watches that I really like and that I fall in love with. And that’s to wear—i want to really enjoy wearing them. I don’t just hoard them.”
That’s the view of Shafiq Abdulhamid, an avid watch fan and the owner of what has to be one of the most impressive watch collections in the Gulf. He says he views watches as the male alternative to jewellery for women. After all, he reckons, women can wear earrings, rings, and other accessories, while men have little else in the way of accessories. Watches, then, perfectly fit the bill, and Abdulhamid has been keeping a close eye on the watch industry since he was young.
“I’ve been loving watches since I was 18, since high school. I did not start off back then with a Rolex, though!” he jokes.
However, Abdulhamid admits that when he began seriously collecting watches, later on in life, his first major buy was indeed a Rolex.
“Always, historically, all the collectors— and I’m one of them—start with a Rolex. And I do have a Rolex collection. Rolex is always a first watch for any man who wants to put on a nice watch. Rolex is the number-one watch brand in the world. It’s affordable, it holds its value, and it’s a good watch,” he explains.
However, over the years, Abdulhamid has become a proponent of another watch brand, and his collection of pieces from that brand must rival that of any inter- national collection. From pieces made for Saddam Hussein’s government officials, through vintage pocket watches, to modern-day complications, Abdulhamid’s assortment of Patek Philippe watches is a sight to behold.
Having bought his first Patek Philippe piece around 12 years ago, Abdulhamid quickly become enamoured by the brand, and has since never looked back – he views Patek Philippe as the best watch brand in the world, period.
“You want to buy something that at least holds its value. That’s why Patek Philippe has become very popular—lots of people even make money on those watches. If you notice at the auctions, there are pieces that go for millions, and it’s probably only Patek Philippe that goes over $1 million,” he explains.
“I like complications, and at the same time, the look of the watch is important for me. It has to look nice. Patek Philippe is not known for its looks and beauty – they make beautiful watches but it’s more of an impressive watch for your collection. It’s like a piece of art that you collect.”
Abdulhamid admits that he also has a soft spot for pieces from Audemars Piguet, which he says makes big watches that suit his wrist. He has a sizeable collection of Audemars Piguet pieces as a result.
However, when speaking to Abdulhamid about fine watches, it becomes clear that his heart really belongs to one brand.
“You start with Rolex, then you move to Audemars Piguet, and for your last one, once you reach maturity, you go for Patek Philippe. This is how it goes. Beyond Patek Philippe, you cannot go any further!”