Earlier this year, collectors were crushed when Thierry Stern, president of Patek Philippe, announced that the company was discontinuing its most sought-after watch: the Nautilus Ref. 5711. People waited for years, the waitlist was rumored to be 10 years long, to get their hands on the 5711-1A-010, a steel model with a distinctive blue dial. Why? “The Nautilus is a horological icon. Without any doubt, it’s one of the greatest designs of the 20th century in watches,” says Paul Boutros, head of watches, Americas for Phillips auction house, which does a large business in secondary market timepieces. “In the past four or five years, we’ve seen explosive growth and demand for any type of Nautilus watch, especially the 5711.”
Shortly after confirming it would be discontinued, Stern promised a swan song for the model. In April, Patek Philippe unveiled a collection of 5711s with olive-green dials. That was the end of Ref. 5711, and a frenzy ensued as those who had missed out on an opportunity to buy one. However, it turns out that Stern had one more trick up his sleeve. Today, Patek Philippe announced a new limited-edition 5711 with a blue dial. But, this time, it’s Tiffany blue, and it really is the final 5711.
Why Tiffany blue? In the US, Patek Philippe does not operate standalone boutiques. Instead, it sells watches through authorised dealers. Many would be surprised to discover that one of these salons is located inside one of New York’s most iconic stores: Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue. In fact, Tiffany & Co. was Patek Philippe’s first official retailer in the US and began selling Patek Philippe timepieces in 1851. Since then, the partnership has evolved from just distribution to limited-edition watches stamped with both the Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co. logos.
Tiffany & Co. is the only retailer in the world with the right to co-brand timepieces with Patek Philippe. These watches are even more difficult to acquire than the elusive 5711. “It’s extremely rare to find one with a Tiffany stamp,” says Boutros. “It’s the prestige factor, and it’s that extra magic on the dial of a Patek Philippe watch that collectors covet so greatly.”
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A-018 celebrates the 170th anniversary of the partnership. The dial is Tiffany’s trademarked blue hue, and both logos appear on the dial: Patek Philippe at 12 o’clock and Tiffany & Co. at 6 o’clock. It has all of the signature Nautilus design details: Gerald Genta-designed case, horizontal relief embossing on the dial, and luminous baton hands and hour markers. It’s powered by the precise self-winding caliber 26-330 S C. The caseback is inscribed with “170th Anniversary 1851-2021 Tiffany & Co. - Patek Philippe.” There will only be 170 pieces made, and as the truly final 5711, it’s sure to go down in Patek Philippe history.
“Tiffany & Co. is honored to partner with Patek Phillipe on this special timepiece to mark 170 years together,” said CEO Alexandre Arnault in a statement. “The Nautilus is one of the most iconic designs offered by Patek Phillipe and we are proud to introduce this special edition featuring Tiffany Blue dials to our most discerning clients.”
If you miss your chance to acquire one in stores, which you likely will, Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo will auction off one watch on 11 December with all proceeds benefitting The Nature Conservancy.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A-018 retails for $52, 635 and is available at Tiffany & Co. in New York, San Francisco, and Beverly Hills.
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