The first of the new limited edition Patek Philippe Tiffany & Co. Nautilus watches sold at auction on Saturday for $6.5 million — more than 120 times its retail price.
The sale cements the reputation of the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711, which was discontinued earlier this year, as the ‘holy grail’ of sports watches and suggests that the craze over trophy watches shows no signs of slowing.
The watch, auctioned off by Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo in New York, was the first of 170 limited edition Nautilus Ref. 5711’s that will be made and sold at certain Tiffany boutiques. The watch will officially retail for around $52,000. Yet because demand far outstrips supply and it is the hottest new watch, wealthy collectors were willing to pay far more for the first to come up for sale.
“The Tiffany Blue Nautilus is, without a doubt, amongst the most exciting, exclusive, and coveted examples of a Nautilus ever offered,” said Paul Boutros, head of watches at Phillips Americas.
Proceeds from the sale will go to the Nature Conservancy.
Launched in 2006, the Nautilus Ref. 5711 has become the king of stainless steel sports watches. But as its popularity threatened to overshadow other models in Patek’s stable, the company decided in January to discontinue the Ref. 5711, sending prices soaring online for preowned models.
Yet Thierry Stern, president of Patek Philippe, said he wanted to create a special watch to honor LVMH’s purchase of Tiffany and to celebrate Patek’s 170-year-old partnership with the famed jewelery company. So he designed a Ref. 5711 with a Tiffany Blue face and decided to make 170, as the very final production of the Ref. 5711.
“This was my little gift to say congratulations on buying Tiffany,” Stern told CNBC in a recent interview. “For me, it was quite clear I had to choose something unique and exceptional. This is really the last round for this watch.”
Since the other 169 models are sold out or already allocated by Tiffany to their top VIP customers, others waiting for a Tiffany Blue Nautilus will have to wait for the next one to come up for sale online. Already, the secondary market for older versions of Tiffany-stamped Nautilus’ are soaring, with one listed on Chrono24 for $337,000.