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Swiss watchmaker Fortis hopes to fill a gap consumers didn’t know existed by launching an automatic wristwatch featuring Arabic-language numerals, according to Business Emirates 24/7.

The completely automatic B-42 Al Tayar features full Arabic calligraphy, including day and date information and its Dubai-based designer describes it as the world’s first luxury product of its kind.

“I’ve lived in the Arab world practically all my life and I wanted a watch that was completely Arabised,” Mahesh Shahani, who was born in India but raised in Morocco, was quoted as telling Emirates Business.

Shahani is also managing partner of Gems World, UAE distributors for Fortis.

The watch, which has been specially developed for this market, made its debut in Dubai recently, ahead of an international roll out later this year.

Al Tayar could be loosely translated from the Arabic as ‘The Aviator’, and was so named because the model has been specified to aviation industry standards, with a separate specification developed for the marine industry.

The Middle East is one of the fastest-growing regions for Fortis, currently accounting for approximately 10% of its worldwide business, according to Max Peter, Business Development Manager at the Swiss brand.

The Al Tayar has been developed over the course of two years, at a cost of £70,000 (NZ$145,000).

It uses the standard Gregorian calendar for its day and date functions, but this is written in Arabic. Just 200 watches have been produced and with advance orders for some 30 pieces, Shahani – speaking with his retail hat on – believes they will easily sell out.

By the end of the year, the line will also be available in international markets such as South East Asia, Japan and Germany, where distributors have already expressed an interest in stocking it, the report said.

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