Industry / Watches

Patek Philippe Stops Production of Popular Watch


Patek Philippe is discontinuing production of its Nautilus reference 5711/1A (pictured), which GQ calls “the most coveted watch in the world.”

The news was first reported by watch publication Hodinkee.

“Rumor has it that the waitlist for the 5711 is (or was) ten years long,” it wrote.

A Patek spokesperson confirmed the news but declined further comment. Other Nautilus models are still available.

The watches have long been hot items on the secondary market—regularly fetching twice their $33,710 retail price—but Patek’s move will almost surely drive that price higher. At the time of publication, several models were selling for over $100,000 on Chrono24, a secondhand-watch site.

GQ said the blue-dial model of the watch was a celebrity favorite, and called Patek’s decision to stop production “a massive shock.”

“It’s as if McDonald’s decided to stop making the Big Mac, or Jordan decided to never again release the ‘Chicago’ Air Jordan 1s,” it wrote. “Grinding production to a halt to increase a watch’s scarcity and value is one thing—and it’s not as if Patek was churning these out in droves in the first place. But taking it off the board entirely is another.”

The timepiece’s popularity was even a mystery to the company.

“Why is the Nautilus so popular?” Thierry Stern, Patek’s president, once asked in an interview, as quoted by The New York Times in March 2019. “Of course I am happy about it, but honestly I don’t know the answer.”

He noted to The New York Times that the company is “meeting maybe 10 percent of the demand, and it is going to stay that way.”

Despite all the frustrated watch seekers—who will now be even more frustrated—the company might be making the right call, says Robb Report.

“In certain high-level echelons of watch collecting, [the 5711 has] become so pervasive it’s in danger of being seen as simply a piece coveted more for its return on investment than its design,” said the publication.

Patek Philippe is among the brands exhibiting in the Watches and Wonders Geneva show this year.

Top: The Nautilus reference 5711/1A-010 (image courtesy of Patek Philippe)

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By: Rob Bates

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