Rolex or Omega? Islamic Leader's Flashy Watch Creates Buzz

Monday, 07 Jul 2014 11:22 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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As people listened to self-proclaimed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi give his first public speech Friday, many were blinded not by his message, but by the gleam of a shiny, expensive-looking chrome watch on his right arm.

Baghdadi clad himself in black robes and a turban as a reflection of the last caliphs to rule from Iraq, reports The Telegraph in London. But the shiny watch, with its dark face, may have blinded some to his message from Mosul's Great Mosque, when he called on the Muslims of the world to "obey" him as the "leader who presides over you."

His watch is believed to be either an expensive Rolex, Sekonda, or the Omega Seamaster, which retails for nearly $6,000.

Story continues below video.

The shiny timepiece, to many, conflicts with his message that the Islamic State will return the Muslim world to "dignity, might, rights, and leadership."

"I am the wali [leader] who presides over you," he said, "Though I am not the best of you, so if you see that I am right, assist me. If you see that I am wrong, advise me and put me on the right track, and obey me as long as I obey God in you."

But that message, posted on YouTube and disputed by the Iraqi government, prompted discussion about the watch as much as is it did by his declarations of being a world Muslim leader.

He called on professionals like doctors, judges, engineers and experts in Islamic jurisprudence to help develop his caliphate.

On social media, people from around the world speculated on the watch, however, with some serious and not so serious tweets on the subject, reports the Al Arabiya Network.

Luay Jawad Al-Khatteeb said: "All wrong, the brand is: ISIS," while Youssef el Deeb wrote: "Death watch." And even journalists chimed in, with Ayman Moyedin, an Egyptian-American journalist for NBC News asking if the watch keeps "a countdown clock of when the drone strikes on him will begin."

Baghdadi's organization is considered one of the most feared terror groups in the world, but his recorded appearance Friday was one of the few known sightings of the mysterious leader. Only two other photographs exist, including one dating from his holding in a U.S. detention camp in Iraq, when he famously promised upon his release: "I'll see you guys in New York."

The Iraqi government disputes that the man in the video even is Baghdadi, and says the real Baghdadi was wounded in a military operation.

"We have analyzed the footage, and found it is a farce," Brigadier Gen. Saad Maan, an Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman told Reuters.

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