Comfortably in the “don’t even think about it” zone of unobtanium-grade luxury steel sports watches lands the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-018 “Tiffany & Co.” watch that is made available in 170 iterations in celebration of the two companies’ 170-year “alliance.” Did you know that, according to recent Credit Suisse data, there are 56,100,000 millionaires in the world today? Well, the latest and, in fact, “double-signed Nautilus” 5711/1A leaves 56,099,830 frustrated millionaires and broken hearts in the world — not to mention the many more millions of us mortals with the tempting options of selling internal organs to make up the apparently random price of $52,635 for one of these.
The New York Times quotes Patek Philippe’s president, Thierry Stern, as saying: “We’ve been working so long with Tiffany, it’s our oldest retailer in the U.S. I grew up with Tiffany, and I’m not even talking about business; it was a part of my family.” Mr. Stern said he wanted to signal to Tiffany that “you have been doing a good job,” especially now that the important step of Tiffany & Co.’s sale to LVMH has been taken.
But “I’m not sure it’s a gift for [Tiffany],” he added. “It may be a big problem. They may not realize how difficult it’s going to be to choose the clients.”
This just goes to show that although such a launch is, indeed, $52,000 in the bank 170 times over (some $9 million in quick revenue), it is also a PR difficulty — to put it mildly — for all involved. There simply is no way that Patek Philippe, let alone when combined with Tiffany & Co., would only have 170 important clients. This means that there are bound to be hundreds and probably thousands of them left without the watch they would expect to receive, each growing ever more impatient and frustrated, a sentiment on these famed companies to put right.
It is known that the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 will retire in 2022, which can be understood as one of the most drastic measures imaginable to end this PR situation. Whether or not it will suffice to burst the ginormous luxury steel sports watch bubble is yet to be seen, but we wouldn’t in good conscience be recommending that you hold your breath on that one.
Available exclusively in the Tiffany & Co. boutiques in New York, Beverly Hills, and San Francisco that carry the brand, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-018 “Tiffany & Co.” bears on its sapphire crystal caseback the actually highly impressive 170-year inscription. The business arrangement between the firms dates all the way back to 1851 when Tiffany became the watchmaker’s first authorized dealer in the United States. Over the years, this partnership has survived numerous ownership changes, including the Stern family’s purchase of Patek Philippe in 1932, as well as the, ahem, turbulent $16.2-billion acquisition of Tiffany & Co., completed in January, by LVMH.
Specifications include a brass dial with Tiffany Blue® lacquer and with horizontal Nautilus embossing, black printed Patek Philippe Genève, and Tiffany & Co. signatures (hence the term double-signed Nautilus), applied hour markers in blackened 18k white gold, a touch of luminous paint and baton-style hands. Hidden under that trademark blue dial is the Patek Philippe Caliber 26-330 S C, a self-winding movement with a power reserve between 35 and 45 hours – lagging considerably behind more advanced movements of the day engineered to provide between 60 and 72 hours of power reserve. Still, the movement is impressively thin, cramming 212 components into a space of 27mm by 3.3mm. This feat allows for the Nautilus case to take on its signature slimness, measuring in at just 8.3mm-thick.
Being so incredibly rare and, therefore, geared to upset masses of collectors destined to be missing out on one, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-018 “Tiffany & Co.” is quite the fitting swan song for the 5711/1A. It is an appreciably bold-looking rendition of the steel Patek Philippe Nautilus, perhaps even the brand itself having a bit of fun as it bids farewell to one of its most iconic, successful, and yet controversial references.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-018 “Tiffany & Co.” is priced at $52,635, the trademark blue color entailing an $18,000 premium over the olive green-dialed version. You can learn more at the brand’s website.