PATEK PHILIPPE CREATES BABY-BLUE NAUTILUS 5711/1A-018 FOR TIFFANY’S 170TH ANNIVERSARY
The highly limited Tiffany Blue Nautilus comes with a mysterious easter egg.
Patek Philippe has recently announced that it is making a special version of its most popular watch in partnership with Tiffany & Co.
It was a surprise to many as Patek announced to discontinue the manufacturing of the famed watch, known as the Nautilus Ref. 5711, causing demand and prices to skyrocket.
"I have still no idea why suddenly, the success [of this watch] came so fast and went so high," said Patek CEO, Thierry Stern, about the watch series that was launched in 2006. "But what I know is that I do not want to be a mono-product company. So this is why I stopped the 5711. We made enough of it."
The previous olive green 5711/1A-014 was retailed for around $30,000 each, and it involved long waiting lists, even for preferred Patek customers. The price for the pre-owned Ref. 5711s soared to more than $150,000 online. Even auction house Sotheby's managed to sell one for $484,000 in 2020.
The possibility of buying the new upcoming Ref. 5711/1A-018 would be even nearer to the term "impossible". Patek said it is making only 170 of these special edition watches with a Tiffany-blue face that will be sold for around $52,000 and only be available at the Tiffany boutiques in New York, Beverly Hills, California, and San Francisco.
The perfect gift
The Nautilus Ref. 5711 in signature Tiffany blue was created to honor the 170-year partnership between the Swiss watchmaker and Tiffany, which explains the number.
Patek Philippe also revealed that it was a gesture of celebration as Tiffany gained new ownership under French luxury giant LVMH.
"This was my little gift to say congratulations on buying Tiffany," Stern said. "For me, it was quite clear I had to choose something unique and exceptional. This is really the last round for this watch."
The two brands do have a deep history as Tiffany was Patek's first official retail partner in the U.S., officiated back in 1851 as Antoine Norbert de Patek met with Charles Lewis Tiffany in New York on his first business trip to the U.S.
Both also share mutual values as the two companies are family-controlled with plans to pass leadership to the next generations. The Swiss Stern family has owned Patek since 1932, and the brand has been part of many select Tiffany boutiques, co-stamped with "Tiffany & Co.".
LVMH, in addition, is controlled by Bernard Arnault, the world's third-richest person has long been exploring the potential of adding one of the Big Four watch brands, namely Rolex, Patek, Audemars Piguet, and Richard Mille, alongside Tag Heuer, Zenith, and Hublot in LVMH luxury watch brands stable.
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To commemorate LVMH's $15.8 billion deal to buy Tiffany, Stern even took Alexandre Arnault, the 29-year-old family scion recently named Tiffany's executive vice president of product and communications, to the virtual presentation meeting.
"First, I told them, 'gentlemen, please stay seated because you will be quite surprised,'" Stern said. "As soon as I showed them the drawings, they were very excited."
Arnault, on a separate occasion, said that Tiffany is "proud to introduce this special edition featuring Tiffany Blue dials to our most discerning clients."
"I had to warn Tiffany and I said 'listen, this is a fantastic gift, but it's also a poisonous one because you will have only 170 pieces and the choice to sell it to the final client will be yours. There will be 170 people who are very happy and the rest will be unhappy,” Stern added.
“I hope they sell it to the right people. This is really the most important for me. When you do such a watch, it has to go to the right person."
Surprise within surprise
Atop the special Tiffany-blue colored dial is the Patek Philippe stamp at 12 o'clock and the "Tiffany & Co." stamp at 6 o'clock. The sapphire-crystal case back was inscribed with "170th Anniversary 1851-2021 Tiffany & Co. - Patek Philippe."
"I put something secret in the back of the watch," Stern said enigmatically. "It's quite funny."
Patek usually makes around 60,000 watches a year and refuses to increase production as it might compromise quality. Stern said it takes 10 years to train a good watchmaker who can master the intricate parts and fabrication of a Patek watch.
"Quality will always be at the top of my wish list," said Stern. "I don't need to rush, I don't have any shareholders pushing me. I'm not interested in increasing quantity to have bigger numbers. I'm more interested in longevity and beauty."
It has been announced that Tiffany will auction off one of the special edition watches at Phillips on December 11, with the proceeds going to The Nature Conservancy, a charity chosen by Arnault.
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