If there is a social aspect to your watch collecting habit, chances are you’ve heard of Dubai Watch Club – a group of collectors and enthusiasts that meet in the emirate regularly. It is less likely that you’ve heard of Adel Al Rahmani, the unassuming 28-year-old Emirati who founded the club in 2014. Adel is just as happy talking to you about Gyrotourbillons as he is waxing eloquent on the utility of a G-Shock, just don’t ask him to step into the spotlight. Adel is happier in the shadows but under his watch (pardon the pun), the Dubai Watch Club has grown to more than 60 members across nationalities and horological interests.
Unlike most collectors who tend to tend to fine tune or focus their collection around specific themes, there is no such method to his ways. By his own admission, Adel classifies himself as a ‘junk collector’ – a term he picked up during a conversation with an esteemed Japanese collector a few years ago. “Basically, a junk collector is someone who collects a bit of everything,” he explains.
“The two important things that I look for in a watch is a high level of craft and the technicality, what I call ‘the cool factor’ – things like constant force escapement, the use of silicon, special escapements – it’s stuff like this that gets me really excited,” says Adel. And indeed, a peak through his collection suggests that. There is the sublime Patek Philippe Ref. 5088P – testimonial to the haute horology’s brand métiers d’art, the magnificently-complex A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange 'Pour le Mérite', a rare Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Gravées Caliber 4400/1, a couple of vintage Rolex Datejusts, and so on.
He’s got more watches than he cares to remember now but there is a Rolex Datejust that’s very close to his heart. “At the age of 16-17, I couldn’t really afford expensive watches, but I had a lot of support from my parents. Specifically my mother, God rest her soul, she passed away seven years ago. This was the last watch – a Rolex Jubilee Datejust with a diamond bezel - she gave me before she passed away. It has a strong, sentimental value. It may only be a Datejust to some, but to me it’s much more than that. Wearing this watch gives me so much pleasure,” he says.
Those who’ve known Adel over the years are quick to point out that he’s a stickler for details. “To me, that’s what being a collector or a watch enthusiast is all about – you need to know these little nuances, you need to know the little details,” he says as he holds up a Panerai PAM 315 in his hands. “To me, this Panerai still stands for a lot of things I believe in today. The PAM 351 may look like a $10,000 Radiomir GMT - very discreetly, a dot is placed in on a rotating disc beneath the small seconds hand. It’s the only thing that suggests that there is something special about this watch. You turn it around and there’s a tourbillon, visible on the caseback. This is the ultimate understatement, this is one of those ‘if you know, you know’ kind of pieces. I often wear this to Panerai gatherings, sometimes just to see if it gets noticed; it’s my stealth watch,” he laughs.
Adel confesses to being a huge admirer of Japanese culture but curiously enough, he hasn’t added anything to represent high-end Japanese watchmaking to his collection yet. “That is true, but I’m holding out for a Credor Eichi,” he says referring to the watch made in Seiko’s famed Micro Artisans Studio that many in the know consider the Japanese equivalent of the Philippe Dufour Simplicity. However, one Japanese wristwatch that he does swear by is his trusty G-Shock Rangeman. “This is everything that I need from a watch. If Berthoud, Breguet, Daniels were alive today, they would appreciate this – it really is the pinnacle of horology to me. It gives you all the information you need – it’s a full perpetual calendar, it’s got world time for every major city that you’ll ever visit, I could go on and on,” he says.
The accompanying video is the first of a series we hope to produce with our friends at Momentum Dubai. Do let us know what you think of our first effort.