The frankly unbelievable story of a green Nautilus donated to the Loupe This auction site is actually 100% legitAndrew McUtchen
It’s the kind of anecdote that immediately causes the eyes to squint, and all internal radars for shadiness sweep madly across the story points. A consignor sends an email to Eric Ku and Justin Gruenberg, founders of Loupe This, an online watch auction platform that we’ve covered here, saying that he wanted to “let go” of his Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/014, aka, the green Nautilus that one of our favourite meme accounts @youcanneverhaveenough would be dead in the water without.
Not just “let go” of the watch. But to donate the full hammer price to charity. My eyes are still squinting madly as I retell the story here. It’s still a faintly ridiculous proposition. Not because people don’t occasionally do nice things without a trace of an agenda. But because this is, almost officially, the most desirable and unobtainable watch on the planet right now. This isn’t just a nice thing.
This is insane.
In case the suspense is already killing you, hit the live listing right here. At the time I am writing this, the bidding is at $313,000 USD – so Justin’s hunch below is playing out. But there’s a long way to go. The auction closes in six days, after all.
I was on the journey of this unlikely turn of events since it began. Eric contacted me when the email came in. With the kind of pithy WhatsApp message I have come to look forward to, it went something like “Hey man. Call me. I have a crazy story.” So I did, and this is what was said.
Interview with Eric Ku and Justin Gruenberg, founders of Loupe This, regarding the donated Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/014
Eric Ku: So we’re really all about bringing people what they want at Loupe This. And I think we have something really exciting coming, which is this guy right here, it’s a green Nautilus 5711/014. And this will be going up on the site at no reserve.
Justin Gruenberg: I mean, when we woke up one morning and we had a consigner that had sent us an email saying that he wanted to let go of the watch, we were quite surprised and thrilled that it happened that soon, since we launched. So we’re super excited about this.
Andrew: Were you thinking it might have been some kind of hoax?
Eric: At first, we just didn’t know. I mean, we get a lot of inquiries. Most of the inquiries turn into consignments, but something like this that’s really special and really in demand, we always look at it as, “Oh, I don’t know, this could be a long-shot deal or something.” And all the cards fell into place and this really happened. It’s quite interesting too, because this watch… The proceeds from this auction are actually going to an organization that is helping with COVID recovery in certain parts of Southeast Asia, especially with the indigenous people there who have it. The community’s been hit very hard by COVID.
Justin: And so the consigner who wishes to remain anonymous was very generous in allowing all the proceeds from the sale to go to a charitable endeavor.
Eric: So there’s a layer that’s sort of surreal, we’re getting a great Nautilus. There’s a second layer of surreal, all the money’s going to charity.
Andrew: We just need that third surreal layer of: ‘And it sold for a million dollars…’ But, let me check this, it’s going up at no reserve?
The Loupe This No Reserve thing
Eric: Yeah. I mean, one interesting thing that Justin and I, when we were building the site, we were talking about, 95% of auction lots have reserves. And we were thinking about, why can’t we do something and try this without reserve? And we’re nearly 200 lots in right now, everything’s at no reserve and the results kind of speak for themselves.
Justin: We would love to continue being able to do things that are just no reserve and we’ll see what happens, but certainly this watch will be at no reserve.
Andrew: So to me, there’s two huge things about this watch. One: This is the watch that causes all the memes. There are several accounts on Instagram that would be out of business if this green Nautilus watch didn’t exist. Number two, to rewind for the people that aren’t quite as aware of its notoriety, tell me what makes this such a mythical beast, aside from the scarcity? Number three, what is this going to go for price-wise?
Justin: I mean, there are a lot of reasons it’s got all the publicity. We’ve had crazy Nautilus prices for several years now and then being the final leg of the production of the 5711 in green, I think there’s just a lot of hype around it for good and bad reasons. But I think that these price are here to stay. As for price, we give estimate of $300,000 – $400,000 USD for this watch and we think it’s going to do quite well.
Andrew: Wow. When it launches on Loupe This, is there any extra fanfare planned? And while we’re at it, talk me through the process of a Loupe This auction. BecauseI know there’s a lot of things I like about the way you guys do things, but maybe what I like the most is your transparency around the watches that are being offered in terms of the little details. Like having the Timegrapher read out so that you can see the performance of the watch. The really consistent, beautiful, clean photography. So what’s the process for a watch that gets accepted to go up?
What happens to a watch when it gets accepted by Loupe This for auction?
Justin: Like any consignment that comes through with us, there’s a process that we do which starts off with an inspection of the watch when it comes to make sure that the condition is as described, we go over that with the consigner then the watch gets photographed. And then, we write a little introduction blurb about it, talk about the condition and a few noteworthy attributes, but at the same time, all of our consignments are important to us.
Eric: You asked about what makes the green 5711 special. And I think one of the most important things is it was quite interesting that at the time when this watch was launched, we were in the middle of the deep part of COVID, if you will. And it was quite interesting that Thierry Stern was very open, talking in all these newspapers about the Nautilus, this phenomenon. And I think choosing this green colour as a kind of a going away for this generation really resonated with collectors and it’s a beautiful watch. And I think because of that and the kind of mainstream press that the release of this watch attracted, it made for like a perfect storm.
Andrew: Having spent a bit of time with the green Nautilus, how would you describe the dial colour? It’s a tricky one!
Eric: In the right light, it’s decidedly like a moss green and a really beautiful shade of green. In other lights, it just looks dark. So it’s almost like a chameleon in that the colours kind of change, depend on what the lighting is like.
Justin: When I first saw the images of it online, I heard some people say that it was too grey and then as soon as I opened the package, I was actually quite surprised at the radiance of that green colour. In the end, I’m somewhat disappointed that I didn’t buy it, that it’s a consignment. Because I do like it a lot.