If Patek Philippe is attempting to calm the feeding frenzy for its soon-to-be-discontinued Nautilus 5711/1A, it is going about it a strange way.
The 5711 is currently on the sort of final world tour that Elton John would be proud of and, like the veteran artist, is cranking out modern interpretations of classic hits that send fans delirious.
The bangers keep coming.
First the rumour that Patek Philippe was discontinuing the three-handed Nautilus sent prices on the secondary market into orbit for the blue-dialled version; confirmation of the rumour in February caused another spike in prices.
Then at an online version of Watches and Wonders, Patek Philippe announced an olive green version of the watch, priced at £26,870 / $35,000.
Now Patek Philippe has turned the volume up to 11 with the unveiling of the 5711/1A-018, a Nautilus in steel with its dial in the famous Tiffany blue and double signed by the watchmaker and its long-standing retail partner.
The watch has been launched to celebrate a partnership between Patek Philippe and Tiffany that began 170 years ago.
That anniversary set the production run of this limited edition at just 170 pieces.
It’s like throwing fresh red meat into a crammed pool of crocodiles.
The coup for Tiffany — now owned by LVMH — will not come without its challenges, as Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern, acknowledges. “I’m not sure it’s a gift for them. It may be a big problem. They may not realise how difficult it’s going to be to choose the clients,” he said in a call with Forbes last month.
5711/1A-018 has its Tiffany blue dial embossed in the usual horizontal style.
It has baton hour markers as well as baton hour and minute hands, all in blackened white gold with luminous coatings.
Its steel 40mm case houses the automatic 26-330 S C movement, presented through a sapphire crystal case inscribed with “170th Anniversary 1851-2021 Tiffany & Co. – Patek Philippe“.
It is on sale only at Tiffany boutiques in New York, Beverly Hills, and San Francisco priced at $52,635.
Tiffany & Co. will also auction one of the commemorative watches with Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo in New York on December 11th, with 100% of proceeds benefiting The Nature Conservancy, a global environmental organisation.
Phillips has the watch listed without a reserve price or estimate. The lot merely asks for bids “in excess of $50,000”.
They could probably charge $50,000 just for people to be allowed to wear the watch and take a selfie.