This week, the watch world was anxiously expecting what the outcome of “lot 1T” would be, and not whether it would break the record for the highest hammer price for a 5711 Nautilus, but rather by how much. Watching the auction live, even remotely, you could sense the electricity and passion in the room. For over twenty minutes, bidders competed for their spot in watch history. Who would get the “honour” of owning the last and the most expensive Nautilus 5711 ever sold?
Within seconds, it had outperformed its $52K retail price, and within minutes, it had surpassed the $490,000 sale of a Gregory Pau green Nautilus, which had previously held the world record. With each passing offer, the value of the auction seemed to rise and rise, and it seemed as though the auction would close at USD 5,150,000, much like a boxing match. Nevertheless, a remote bidder in Miami extended the celebration a little longer before Aurel could call the knockout ten count and hammer the hammer. So stunned at the time, Aurel exclaimed: “can we postpone the remaining 80 lots till tomorrow? I need to recover from that”.
After a little more back and forth, as many predicted, the new Patek Philippe x Tiffany & Co. Nautilus 5711/1A-018 smashed the record for the most expensive 5711 ever sold at auction, final hammer price a staggering USD 5,350,000. After the buyer’s premium, the entire costs for the winning New York bidder came in a final fee of USD 6,503,500. Could you fathom paying that much money on a stainless-steel Nautilus? What will this entail for the other 169 owners of the 5711/1A-018? In the aftermath of this remarkable result, will the temptation to flip or resell be too big, too enormous a sum to resist?
Interestingly, before going to the following lot, Aurel Bacs finished lot 1T with the closing statement, “Watch collecting is all about this,” he says.” Many would beg to disagree and say that “hype” is the main component in this attained outcome rather than a love for horology. However, he may be, sadly, accurate. When it comes to watching collecting, this is, in fact, the new normal — FOMO, excitement, and flexing are all part of the package. There has been a dramatic increase in popularity in recent years when it comes to collecting timepieces. We can all take heart in the idea that The Nature Conservancy will be putting the money to good use, regardless of how you feel about that last note or the ultimate hammer price.
Regardless matter whether you are a frequent MONOCHROME reader or just an admirer of timepieces, you couldn’t have missed the momentous news that broke on Monday. According to the press release, Patek Philippe and its long-time retail partner Tiffany (now owned by LVMH… hence the logo on back) released a highly anticipated Tiffany-Blue dialled edition of the Nautilus 5711 wristwatch. The watch, which was created to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the New York-based jeweler, will be limited to 170 pieces and is, without a doubt, the most sought-after timepiece of the moment. Moreover, if you still have doubts, consider that Phillips recently auctioned the first of the models for a charitable cause, and it sold for an INSANE sum of USD 6,503,500 (plus fees), setting an all-time high price for a Nautilus 5711.
Aside from the somewhat controversial color of the dial – which, although appropriate for Tiffany, is not universally embraced – the most contentious aspect of this watch has to do with earlier comments and the olive-green edition. Patek Philippe announced in April this year that the olive-green edition of the Nautilus 5711, designated as reference 5711/1A-014, would be the last of the model, which would be produced for a year to commemorate the end of the model first introduced in 2006 and the beginning of a sequel to be released in 2022. However, it was not the last of the 5711 to die. Against all odds, this watch, the 5711/1A-018, has been awarded the distinction of best in class.
The Nautilus 5711’s present price situation is well-known to us. The latest (nearly) available, the olive green 5711/1A-014, retails for roughly USD 35,000. Still, the few available watches are priced far beyond the USD 400,000 mark, with one example being auctioned for EUR 416,000 at a watch auction in Switzerland (with fees). It is undeniably an uncommon but not extremely rare timepiece, especially given that this edition is not restricted in quantity and will be made for a whole year. Keeping this in mind, there was a lot of excitement around the current Tiffany-Blue 5711 sale…. and it didn’t let me down in this regard either.
Earlier today, the first appearing double-signed Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-018 Tiffany-Blue sold for USD 6,503,500 at Phillips, the world’s leading auction house. Reference 5711 has set a new world record, with reference 5711 being around 100 times its retail price. The fact that the sale proceeds will be donated to a nonprofit organization is a positive development in some ways. Nonetheless, in all honesty, it is not reflecting the actual worth of this watch (which retails for USD 52,635), but rather merely conjecture about a look that has evolved into something much more than a timekeeping device and has now become an investment vehicle. It’s a little depressing.
Phillips New York has recently completed the sale of the very first Patek Philippe Tiffany & Co. 5711/1A-018 Nautilus, which is a piece of watchmaking history. The watch quickly soared to its retail price of USD 50,000 before blasting off into the six digits, increasing by USD 100,000 with each bid, before finally reaching its final retail price of USD 1,000,000. Despite the high first bid of $3.5 million, the price continued rising until it was eventually sold for USD 5.35 million to a bidder in New York.
When the auction premium is considered, the ultimate price for this watch comes to a whopping USD 6.5 million, with all earnings going to the Nature Conservancy. Whether you despise or like it, this transaction represents yet another watershed moment in the history of the luxury watch business.