Reach­ing top the

34 Ac­cord­ing to Shafiq Ab­dul­hamid, Patek Philippe makes the best watches the world—which is why he has such an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of them

Virtuozity - - THE COLLECTOR -

“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!”

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