How much are you willing to spend and how long could you wait for a watch that you really, really like?
In the world of luxury watches, there are ardent enthusiasts who won’t mind splurging up to P6.5 million or wait for years to acquire a highly coveted timepiece.
Executive Class’ recent episode on the “World’s Most Desirable and Expensive Objects” features some of the watches collectors are going crazy about these days.
Three wristwatches on the most wanted list, according to host David Celdran, are the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500, and the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712.
“They’re all out of stock at official dealerships worldwide with yearlong waiting lists and stratospheric prices on the secondary market,” he says. “Hard to believe since none of these are limited editions, precious gold or platinum watches, or even rare vintage timepieces.”
Most desirable Patek
David also highlights an uber popular timepiece desired by many a collector these days: the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A. Ironically, it’s unobtainable.
What’s so special about this watch?
As per David, this Nautilus model is considered the heir to the first ever Nautilus model released by Patek Philippe in 1976—the original Nautilus 3700. This is the reason for its iconic status. “Collectors love the story of how Patek Philippe, a company known for classic dress watches and precious metals risked it all with Ref. 3700, a rugged stainless steel model with a price tag close to their gold timepieces,” says David.
The Ref. 3700 was actually Patek’s take on the more affordable stainless steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Both the Nautilus and the Royal Oak were products of the ingenuity of design engineer Gérald Genta, a detail collectors deem quite significant.
The original Nautilus was a big hit back in the 70s. Three decades after, Patek brought it back through the 5711. “Little of the original design was changed,” says David of the version released in 2016. The watch is slightly bigger though and the dial is bluer. A self-winding in-house movement was also added.
There is a huge demand for this watch now, says David, as he tries on the watch. “I can totally see why so many people have fallen in love with this watch. It’s not just a unique looking and a gorgeously crafted timepiece. As the famous collector and auctioneer Aurel Bacs said, ‘It has the comfort of sneakers but the elegance of a tailored Savile Row suit. I totally agree. In fact, he goes on to say that after many horological one-night stands, this one is for keeps.’”
The 5711’s popularity has grown immensely, leading to the production of 27 models in a variety of dial colors and designs. There’s even a ladies’ collection and rare Grand Complications.
Another popular timepiece that’s desired by many, according to David, is the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740, which has a perpetual calendar watch function. “It’s the slimmest perpetual calendar in a sports watch. And it’s really elegant, too,” the host remarks.
Everyone in the Nautilus collection is extremely hard to find, but most especially the 5711, which is ironically the simplest in the range. The stainless steel three-hander with date watch costs P1.71 million—the price is fixed, David was told—and some collectors don’t mind getting waitlisted for years just to have it.
But for others who simply can’t wait, there are actually resellers offering them online at three times the original dealer’s price—P5.6 million, excluding shipping fee.
And apparently, there are people who would instantly grab this opportunity. “This one I found on the IG account of @exquisitemanilaofficial was snapped up at P5.5M right after it was posted. With offers of 6.5M from interested buyers afterwards,” David shares.
January of this year, the brand announced they will be discontinuing the production of the highly coveted Nautilus watch.
Is the brand playing hard to get? Is this a ploy to heighten the watch’s allure?
Apparently, it’s also a business decision, as Patek Philippe’s Thierry Stern admits in a 2019 interview. “If I produce more of them, I will sell them but in two years it will stop. People will get bored about it. They will say, well, everybody owns one. I don’t like it anymore,” he says.
He also adds that betting on one product would be detrimental for the company. “Nautilus is a big trend today, but it’s limited, not everybody will get one. Yes I know and I’m sorry about it, but that’s how it is. Quantity and quality they don’t get along—I always say it,” he says matter of factly.
For those still dreaming to own a 5711, the options are to wait for the replacement model that the brand had promised, or opt for the Grand Complications, says David. Either way, you’ll have to wait.
There are also alternative watch suggestions, which have similar design and heritage, as per David. To find out what they are, check out the Executive Class replays this Sunday at 8AM and 10PM on ANC.