With the Nautilus 5711 watch from Patek Philippe, the Swiss brand managed to do what every business on earth dreams of: creating a product that everyone wanted. The model, a shapely steel watch with a dark blue dial and a simple date function, was so coveted by collectors it was rumored that the wait time to get one could be up to 10 years. So what did Patek Philippe do? Increase production of the watch to $ 33,710 to increase profit margins? Create special editions of the piece to sell an even wider variety? No. Instead, the brand does the unthinkable and completely discontinues the 5711.
The news, first reported by Hodinkee and confirmed by the representatives of Patek Philippe at GQ, comes as a huge shock. It’s as if McDonald’s decided to stop making the Big Mac, or Jordan decided to never release the Air Jordan 1 “Chicago” ever again. Stopping production to increase the rarity and value of a watch is one thing – and it’s not like Patek is mass-producing them in the first place. But removing it entirely from the board is another. (Imagine if you’ve been waiting patiently for just nine years to discover this overwhelming news.) As watch trends have become more relaxed over the past decade, the 5711 has become Patek’s flagship model. It is the watch most likely to be seen on celebrities, and the piece that collectors want above all else.
The fact that the watch has become so popular might actually explain Patek’s decision to shut it down. While Patek CEO Thierry Stern was pleased with the model’s huge sales, it’s clear the piece was never her favorite, and the spotlights it received almost seemed to irritate her. “We make around 140 different models at Patek Philippe, and the basic benchmark. 5711 steel is just one of them ”, he said to New York Time in 2019. “We have a lot of other models which are more complicated and arguably more beautiful.” It is possible that Stern wanted to redirect attention to these 140 other models. Of course, this is entirely speculative. This may be just the first step towards introducing a similar, improved in Patek’s eyes, version of the 5711.
Those who still hope to get their hands on a Nautilus still have a lot of options to choose from. The watch is coming nearly 30 different styles, ranging from yellow gold editions set with diamonds to stainless steel models with chronographs. Still, the 5711 was loved because it is (was ??) The Nautilus in its purest form. The watch will be impossible to replace in Patek’s catalog, and the part prices in the aftermarket, where the watch is already selling for more than double its selling price, will now only continue to soar.