Four unexpected takeaways from the new Tiffany Blue 5711 – the real final victory lap of Patek’s Nautilus Four unexpected takeaways from the new Tiffany Blue 5711 – the real final victory lap of Patek’s Nautilus

Four unexpected takeaways from the new Tiffany Blue 5711 – the real final victory lap of Patek’s Nautilus

Zach Blass

Earlier this year, Patek Philippe announced that the Nautilus, the most sought-after watch in the entire world, was being retired. The acclaimed reference would have one final victory lap – which many of us believed was a pair of Nautilus watches with olive-green dials, one with a diamond bezel. VIP collectors chased after the duo, hoping to snatch their last chance at retail to acquire the king of the luxury stainless-steel sports watches. But today, The New York Times broke the news that the real swansong has arrived: a Tiffany Blue 5711.

The Patek Phillipe Nautilus 5711/1A-018 delivers a stunning Tiffany Blue lacquered dial, double signed with Patek Philippe at 12′ and Tiffany & Co. at 6′, that has contrasting blackened gold applied hour markers, blackened gold central hours, minutes, and seconds hands, and a blackened gold framed date window. Beyond the new dial, the watch is 99% the same as previous 5711/1A references. The stainless-steel case, 40mm x 8.3mm, displays a masterful symphony of brushed and polished surfaces and has a depth rating of 120 metres. Inside, beneath a commemorative etched sapphire caseback that we will touch on in a bit, is the in-house caliber 26-330 SC with 45 hours of power reserve. The caliber displays top-class finishing, with Côtes de Genève, perlage, bevelled bridges, and a circular striped solid gold winding rotor. Only 170 pieces will be made, celebrating 170 years of partnership between Patek and Tiffany’s. The watches will be delivered to three points of retail later this month, at Tiffany’s salons in New York, Beverly Hills and San Francisco.

Nautilus news always breaks the watch internet, and this is certainly no exception, so, to cut through all the hysteria, here are four unexpected takeaways from this monumental release.

Green was not the end: the real “victory lap” is this Tiffany Blue

Tiffany Blue 5711

The rumours, and later the official announcement, has created a bit of a Brett Favre vibe around the Nautilus’ retirement. The NFL Hall of Fame quarterback notably retired three times from the sport – saying he was finished as early as 2002, only to come back for more until he finally left the game for good in 2008. While this back and forth has tugged at many collectors’ heartstrings, I personally think this is a far more fitting send-off than the 5711/1A-014. Historically speaking, green does not have any major significance to the brand. When it was announced, it kind of felt like Patek just capitalised on the burgeoning green trend – offering what many would have wanted in a longer production run. This lacquered dial, however, is a strong symbol of the 170-year partnership between Patek and Tiffany’s. With Tiffany-signed Nautilus watches among the most coveted in the world, this is truly the best way to go out on a bang.

From a more superficial standpoint, dials of this sort of hue have had a big year – notably the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, for example, which sells three times over its retail price. Many have referred to its colour as Tiffany Blue, but this new 5711/1A-018 is the real deal. It also arguably results in the most modern-looking Nautilus of all time, giving it a huge sense of a youthful spirit just as its life is about to be extinguished.

The caseback Easter egg: what it says about Patek’s partnership with an LVMH-owned Tiffany’s

Tiffany Blue 5711

Ever since LVMH acquired Tiffany’s, many have wondered what the future would hold in terms of the partnership between Patek and Tiffany’s. Glancing at the sapphire caseback, you will immediately notice the “170th Anniversary” text at the top and “Tiffany & Co. – Patek Philippe” at the bottom. But it is at the centre, where the years “1851 – 2021” are etched that you need to look closer. An Easter egg was very slyly place within the numeral one of 2021 – where vertically arrayed you will find the letters “LVMH”. This, of course, is a nod to the conglomerate that now owns Tiffany’s: the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Group.

There are two ways to interpret this. The first is that this watch also marks a send-off for Patek’s partnership with Tiffany’s. The second, which I believe to be the case, is that this actually signals the partnership will remain. Just because LVMH now owns Tiffany’s does not mean there is no upside to keeping the partnership intact. With LVMH subtly printed into the commemorative text, I feel a sense of unity between all parties involved. After all, the caseback is celebrating the 170th anniversary. It does not appear to insinuate that the 170th year will be the last. Only time will tell what the future really holds.

Special edition pricing: new dial + etched sapphire caseback = $17,745 USD premium?

Patek Philippe has done their usual trick with a special edition of tacking on an additional premium due to the costs in creating limited numbered components. Normally I would say that a new dial colour and etched caseback would not be worth an extra $17,745 USD premium, but I think we all know just how collectable the 5711/1A-018 will be. At its retail price of $52,635 USD, it is still far less expensive than purchasing a Nautilus second-hand.

Then again does the pricing really matter? Only 170 people will be able to get their hands on this watch, and the allocation will be more competitive than ever. As Patek’s president Thierry Stern said to The New York Times about the daunting task that Tiffany’s will face in allocating the watches: “It may be a big problem. They may not realise how difficult it’s going to be to choose the clients.”

It may? I think we all know it will, and the inevitable frenzy will only raise the demand. As a result, $52,635 is a fraction of what the watch is really worth. What makes the special pricing so interesting, however, is that it could affect how much further bidders are willing to go in order to secure the allocation that will be auctioned off by Phillips for charity.

The Tiffany Blue 5711 is set to break the record for a steel Nautilus at auction at Phillips

So, what is the true value of the new Patek Philippe Nautilus Tiffany Blue 5711? Well, we will actually find out quite soon, as one of the watches has been allocated to Phillips to auction off. While some may construe the move as a strategic means to establish the unparalleled value premium, and provide the reference, as well as the overall collection with one final boost on the secondary market, I have to tip my hat to Patek Philippe. Sure there may be collateral gain for Patek and their collectors, but 100% of the proceeds of the auction sale will benefit The Nature Conservancy, a global environmental organisation.

After what we have seen with the green 5711/1A-014, and the Gregory Pau scandal where his green Nautilus sold for $490,000 at auction, this even more limited rendition of the Nautilus stands to raise an awful lot of money at auction. Someone with a large bank account and a serious case of FOMO is surely getting ready to drop a ton of money. Fortunately it will all be for a great cause. Just how much will be raised remains unknown, but the potential is great. As lot number “1T”, it should be the first watch to be auctioned come December 11. You can bet that the entire watch community – enthusiasts, collectors, manufacturers and journalists – will be tuning in with bated breath as the bidding unfolds.