Few watches have created as much hype as the olive green Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/01, which replaced the blue-dialed version of the same watch earlier this year.
As WatchPro reported yesterday, they are as rare as hen’s teeth, and the first example to reach auction — lot 152 at Antiquorum’s Monaco sale later this month — will set a new secondary market price for the reference.
That price could be ten times the $35,000 that authorized dealers have to charge, a situation that Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern admits is a problem.
“Already there is talk of the 2021 green-dial Nautilus being sold on for more than 10 times its retail price,” he says in an article written for Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
Antiquorum is selling an unworn piece that is still in its factory sealed plastic bag.
That ought to be impossible because authorized dealers are instructed to remove the packaging as a measure designed to make sure the watches are sold only to people that will treasure them.
“We try to avoid selling to people who will flip the watches like this but it’s not easy to control. When I decided to do this dial, I knew demand would be high and I accepted it. People will be disappointed that they can’t get one,” Mr Stern says.
An authorized dealer speaking to WatchPro said he had been allocated two of the green Nautilus watches for his single store for the whole of 2021.
He said he is going to extreme lengths to research and decide which of his best customers would get one.
When it comes to buying a unicorn watch like the Nautilus, even being related to Patek Philippe’s president doesn’t help.
“Even my sons are asking, ‘Can I have one?’,” Mr Stern reveals. “But the answer is no. On the positive side, though, it’s part of the beauty and myth of Patek Philippe,” he shrugs.
Discontinuing the feted blue dial Nautilus 5711/1A-010 was supposed to take some heat out of the secondary market fervor, but the insanity has simply shifted to the replacement green model, and exploded.
Mr Stern defends the decision in the Telegraph article. “Some would say that deciding to stop production of the iconic blue-dial Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A-010 was a mistake, but to me it was necessary. We don’t want to produce too many of any single reference as this will lower the value, which is not good for our collectors. Another potential danger with such a strong reference is that it can turn you into a mono-product brand and that is not what I want. If suddenly the market decides that it has had enough of the design, I need to be sure that we have many others in our arsenal. But you know, I’m not stopping the entire Nautilus line, just this one reference. And, of course, I have a plan B. I’m not going to stop such a piece without having another idea — I may be crazy but not that much. You have to wait a little bit but, yes, something else is coming.”