The world of watches has recently been thrown into a frenzy, with the rumour mill alleging that one of the world’s most coveted timepieces could be retiring from the retail sector for good. Instagram watch collecting legend @Patekaholic has caused a stir with the word Patek Phillipe Nautilus 5711/1a-010 will be discontinued, a sentiment exacerbated by comments made by Patek Philippe CEO Thierry Stern during an interview with French business magazine Bilan, with the Patek patriarch stating “personally, I’d like to stop producing the nautilus … We seriously think about moving to something else.” Whilst nothing has been made official nor confirmed, the thought alone of losing their chance at owning the iconic piece has been enough to drive many Nautilus fans neurotic.
A piece that needs very little introduction, 5711 is one of the most coveted, wait-listed, and illusive models currently on the market. First introduced in 1976 as the reference 3700 to a slow initial release the Nautilus has now become one of Patek Philippe’s most iconic models. It begs the question, with demand seeming at an all-time high and thousands of customers registered on a waitlist that spans to nearly a decade, why would Patek choose to discontinue it?
Whilst such a decision may feel easy to criticise or dismiss, there may be a method to this madness. If there was an official statement made tomorrow AD’s would be flooded with more calls than ever, with the ever-diminishing chance of getting one at retail price shrinking to what could be considered near impossible. Surely this is not in Patek’s best interest? To take their most popular model off the market, drive up grey market prices and force fans onto other models? Unless that model was also a Patek. The Aquanaut 5167 can sometimes be seen as the younger sibling to the Nautilus, sporting a softer design language and smaller case size. It goes without saying that if the Nautilus is discontinued fans are going to rush to the next best thing, and the aquanaut is going to receive a lot more (and in my opinion well deserved) interest.
However, it should be noted that the industry today is more affected by the grey than it has ever been before after all this is what truly determines a brand and models value. Taking this into account, don’t let watch dealers tell you this is your last chance to get a retail nautilus, just like every other time it has been discontinued it will return with an updated movement and possibly new or old dial options. Roman numerals anyone?
Do you think Patek Phillipe will discontinue the Nautilus? If they do, how will it affect not only the Nautilus market but the watch market as a whole as one of the most aggressively appreciating pieces is no longer in production.