It is no secret that Patek Philippe is one of my favorite brands and one that I am proud to wear frequently. In the last two years, we've seen the secondary market prices for Patek Philippe timepieces skyrocket like never before and it looks like this trend is not going anywhere. While Patek Philippe makes incredibly well made timepieces and most of their references are living icons of fine watchmaking, the current prices in the secondary market for the Nautilus ref. 5711/1A are just way out of control and have finally reached an unrealistic level. No matter how bad I want a watch, it is a matter of principle for me to not pay above retail.
As the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of one of the world's leading publications on luxury timepieces and luxury lifestyle, I like to often check the secondary market 'For Sale' listings across the most important watch fora to get the pulse of the market and stay up-to-date on what's going on in the pre-owned arena and in the industry in general —as the secondary market is a good reflection of what's going on with authorized dealers and the brands.
Therefore, today, I ran a quick search to check the most recent 'For Sale' listings on Patek Nautilus watches and to my surprise, I ran into a highly desirable just serviced and still sealed reference 5711 listed on Timezone for $50,000 USD. Yes, $50K and it is not a typo.
While a BNIB —Brand New In Box— Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711/1A retails for $29,800 USD, this fabulous listing offers one the opportunity to acquire what is today the most coveted watch with probably a five-year long waiting list. And of course in the seller's mind, if you are one of those guys/gals that feels that paying 67% percent above retail for a just serviced watch is still a good deal —so you can brag and showoff on Instagram—, he'll let you have it and make a huge profit with your hard earned money. Even when this watch is still in its sealed plastic pouch from service —in like new condition—, how bad does one need to have a watch to pay almost double of its retail price?
While some collectors have enough money to buy all of their watches way above retail and some luxury timepieces could even be priced higher than what they are at the authorized dealers, what is currently happening in the secondary market with certain watches like the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLRO or this Nautilus 5711 is simply alarming.
We all know that when the demand is much higher than the supply prices tend to increase; however, here we are not talking about lemons nor apples. Despite that the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A is not necessarily one of the most expensive watches out there, it is not that cheap either and a watch that most watch collectors won't even get to own in their lifetime.
Considering that the production of this watch is adversely affected by the lengthy and complex process behind the manufacture of its intricate bracelet, us in the industry know that things won't get better as far as supply of the Nautilus 5711 goes. For those with their names already on those long waiting lists, all I can say is that patience is a virtue. To those wanting one real bad, if you are not a waiting list there's really not much you can do other than paying above retail or going with a barn find —very slim chances and probably easier to find a needle in a haystack.
Since none of us can blame Patek Philippe for the low supply of the reference 5711, is there anyone else that could be blamed? Not really. Opposed to other brands, Patek Philippe does a fine job at enforcing the distribution, allocation and sale of their timepieces through their authorized dealer network to may sure that their watches are not going through the backdoor. And while there still might be a few unscrupulous ADs out there, the grey dealers can't be blamed either —they are just trying to make a living like everyone else.
In reality, there's no one in particular that can be blamed. In my opinion we can only blame it on the frenzy and desirability caused by watch collectors that post their 5711s on a daily basis on Instagram. These posts that are just like dangling a carrot in front of a horse, are one of the main reasons why some watch collectors want one so bad. Even though the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711 is one of the most iconic and beautiful watches ever designed by the genius Charles Gérald Genta, in my book there's no room left for paying above retail for anything.
For now you can agree or disagree with me, but the last thing I can tell you is that if you want one real bad, sooner or later you'll play this nonsense game. Now, don't forget to keep in mind that at this price point in the $50K range, there are plenty of other much greater Pateks you could always buy including a ref. 5168G in 18K white gold priced at $38,650 or even better a 5164R in 18K rose gold priced at $51,030, just to name a couple.
Sticker Price $29,800 USD. For more info on Patek Philippe click here.