This Patek Philippe watch sold for $6.5m - 124 times its retail value at auction

The stainless steel piece is one of 170 limited-edition pieces commemorating the Swiss watchmaker's exclusive relationship with Tiffany & Co.

The limited-edition sports watch celebrates the 170-year alliance between Patek Philippe and luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co. Photo: Patek Philippe

Swiss luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe sold the first of its co-branded Patek Philippe Tiffany & Co Nautilus watches in New York on Saturday for more than $6.5 million, about 124 times its $52,635 retail price, at an auction held by Philipps.

The limited-edition stainless steel "Ref 5711/1A-010" model sports watch bought by an identified buyer in New York, is one of 170 timepieces that celebrate the 170-year alliance between Patek Philippe and jewellery company Tiffany & Co.

It also marks the acquisition of the US retailer by French luxury house LVMH, the Geneva-based watchmaker's chief executive Thierry Stern told CNBC.

The watch features a Tiffany blue-coloured dial for the first time and is also double stamped with the Tiffany & Co signature at 6 o’clock and the Patek Philippe logo at 12 o’clock – both in black print. The back of the watch is inscribed with the commemorative 1851 – 2021 stamp bearing the LVMH logo.

Proceeds from the auction will go to the Nature Conservancy, an environmental non-profit organisation.

The remaining 169 Patek Philippe watches have been sold by Tiffany at its boutiques in New York, Beverly Hills and San Francisco, or allocated to its customers.

One of the watches has made its way to Jomashop, a New York luxury retailer that is selling the timepiece for $2.5m.

“The Tiffany Blue Nautilus is, without a doubt, among the most exciting, exclusive and coveted examples of a Nautilus ever offered,” said Paul Boutros, head of watches at Phillips Americas.

Earlier this year, Patek Philippe announced it was discontinuing the 5711 model that came with a gradient blue-black dial and was considered the holy grail among watch collectors.

That watch had a decade-long waiting list, which led to it selling at a 40 per cent premium above its $30,000 retail price. Once the company said it was discontinuing the timepiece, its price rose steeply on the secondary market to more than $100,000.

The same discontinued 5711 model sold for $280,980 at the auction on Saturday alongside the Tiffany version and is selling for as much as $358,358 on Chrono24, an online watch marketplace.

“I have still no idea why, suddenly, the success [of this watch] came so fast and went so high. 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,” Mr Stern told CNBC.

“We are doing this for our clients who already own a Patek Philippe and to protect our brand from becoming too commercial,” Mr Stern told the New York Times in February.

The Nautilus Ref 5711 watch features a Tiffany Blue-coloured dial for the first time. Photo: Patek Philippe

The Nautilus 5711 is the modern iteration of the first luxury sports wristwatch by Patek Philippe, launched in 1976 as the "Ref 3700".

Having made its debut in 2006, the 5711 updated the Nautilus for modern times with new innovations such as an exhibition case back and an in-house, self-winding movement with centre seconds.

Tiffany & Co remains the world’s only retailer whose name appears on a Patek Philippe dial, making any Tiffany-signed timepiece extremely sought after, according to the watchmaker’s website.

The swiss watchmaker has pitched its timepieces as trust funds for future generations and the brand's most famous advertisement line is: "You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation".

The backside of the co-branded Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co Nautilus. Photo: Patek Philippe

Meanwhile, a Rolex Daytona chronograph wristwatch with a Paul Newman “John Player Special” dial was sold for $1.24m during the auction.

About 77 per cent of industry executives judge the 2022 outlook for the Swiss luxury watch industry as positive, according to study by Deloitte this year.

Twenty-four per cent expect the industry to achieve pre-coronavirus sales volumes by the end of 2021, with 36 per cent predicting sales parity by the end of 2022.

Updated: December 16th 2021, 2:34 PM