The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 was the most coveted luxury watch of 2019, 2020, and 2021. But auction frenzies, aftermarket price markups, years-long waitlists at dealers, and negative mainstream media coverage took its toll. Realizing that its most famous watch model had become a monster, Patek Philippe CEO Thierry Stern made the difficult call to discontinue the Nautilus 5711 at the end of 2021. Tonight, Tim Mosso discusses three times a luxury watch model or model line grew to subsume the watchmaker's brand itself.
Patek Philippe, a 183-year-old luxury watchmaker, was strong enough to end production of the Nautilus without undermining the watchmaker's business as a whole. First, the Stern family had been clear to promise that roughly 20 percent of its watch production would be steel and that no one model line could be more prominent than the Patek Philippe brand. Both guidelines helped to keep the luxury watch marketplace calm for a while, but by 2020, even precious metal versions of the Patek Philippe 5711 were subject to wild aftermarket speculation and obsessive customer interest.
Moreover, the Nautilus 5711 was beginning to dominate discussion of the Patek Philippe brand in the same fashion that the Royal Oak watches have come to dominate Audemars Piguet. According to some estimates, the Royal Oak and the Royal Oak Offshore collections provide over 90 percent of the profit at Audemars Piguet. That wouldn't do at Patek Philippe, so the decision was made to end Nautilus 5711 production after a year of commemorative model.
Three primary Patek Nautilus models were launched for 2021. The first was the 5711/1a-014 with a green dial and a steel case. The second was the 5711/1300A, a stainless steel Nautilus with a green dial and a bezel set with baguette diamonds. Finally, the most exclusive and most prestigious Patek Philippe Nautilus was the 5711/1a-018 "Tiffany & Co.", a stainless steel limited edition of 170 pieces with a dial in the signature light blue of New York jeweler and Patek Philippe dealer Tiffany. The dial of this Nautilus 5711 was signed "Tiffany & Co.", and a special commemorative caseback made subtle reference to Tiffany's owner Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH).
Almost immediately, aftermarket auctions of the 2021 Patek Nautilus variants hit $500,000 for the green dial -014 and $6.5 million for the Tiffany & Co. 5711/1a-018. All of this validated Thierry Stern's decision to discontinue the model. 2021 didn't mark the end of the Patek Philippe Nautilus collection as a whole, but it marked the beginning of end of the insanity surrounding the 5711.
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