That time two unexpected celebrities joined the Nautilus clubLuke Benedictus
Editor’s Note: The Nautilus is back in the news, but not for the reason we’ve become used to. Lofty aftermarket prices are beginning to face a tad of a correction. It seems this brand makes news on the way up and on the way back. But this is likely of little concern to these two chaps who joined the Nautilus club earlier in the year.
Right now, if you were to pick the most in-demand watch model on the planet, the Patek Philippe Nautilus would be a sure-fire contender. Rising interest in steel sports watches on integrated bracelets ensured the Nautilus was already super-hot. And then came Patek’s announcement last year that they were discontinuing the Nautilus 5711, a move that promptly sent prices into truly jaw-dropping realms. Last July, a still-sealed, green-dial Nautilus notoriously sold at an Antiquorum auction for $490,000 USD – over 10 times its recommended retail price. Such crazy price spikes for the 5711 also caused a ripple-effect, pushing up the prices of Patek’s adjacent steel references in turn. But high demand and dizzying prices are apparently no problem if you’re an A-list movie star, judging by these two unexpected celebrities who recently joined the Nautilus club.
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As last year drew to a close, Patek announced the real swansong of the Nautilus in the form of the Tiffany Blue 5711. Celebrating 170 years of the partnership between Patek and Tiffany’s, only 170 pieces were made and demand was predictably insane. How crazy? Well, one of the pieces was allocated to Phillips to auction off for charity and promptly fetched $6.5 million USD including the auction premium.
In short, the Patek Philippe ref. 5711/1A-018 with Tiffany & Co.-signed dial was the ultimate hype-watch. Which meant that owning one became one almighty horological flex. The first celebrities to be spotted wearing one were Jay-Z and LeBron James – two megastars with famously magnificent collections.
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The latest celebrity to flash that unmistakeable light blue dial on his wrist was Leonardo DiCaprio, who was spotted last week wearing the watch at the LA Rams game against the 49ers. In some ways he’s a surprising inductee to this ultra-exclusive club.
Sure, DiCaprio is one of Hollywood’s richest actors with a net worth believed to be around $260 million USD. He’s got some background in the watch world, too, having formerly been an ambassador for TAG Heuer. Since then, he’s been spotted out and about wearing a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona and a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab among others. But while he’s hardly short of a nice watch, DiCaprio isn’t renowned for being a degenerate collector like, say, LeBron or Jay-Z.
Still, given the competition for this watch, Leo can clearly muster some serious horological pulling power. And, presumably, if you get the chance to snap up a Patek Tiffany Blue it’s not an opportunity to turn down. Or maybe he just really likes turquoise.
Meanwhile Russell Crowe was last week snapped at the Australian Open Women’s Singles final wearing a Nautilus 5712/1A Date Moon Phase. Now Rusty has always had a weakness for a nice watch as T+T knows only too well.
In 2018, when he was getting divorced, Crowe was obliged to divide up his estate and sell off most of his watch collection. Luckily, he agreed to talk to T+T to give us the lowdown on the treasure trove he was selling.
The Nautilus 5712/1A Date Moon Phase feels like a natural evolution for this particular watch lover. After all, his provocatively titled “Russell Crowe: The Art of Divorce” auction featured a host of sports watches that included a Panerai Luminor Submersible, Breitling Avenger Seawolf, Rolex Yacht-Master and a Cosmograph Daytona among others.
It’s fair to say that the Nautilus 5712/1A Date Moon Phase is a hefty upgrade on any of those. While offering the same case and bracelet as the 5711 it boasts a different movement with complications and a 240-based micro-rotor calibre. The dial is all a bit off-kilter – which will either charm or annoy you depending on your tastes – with the running seconds on a sub-dial at four o’clock, next to a second, larger sub-dial showing the date and moon-phase display at 8’, and then the power reserve at 10’.
Suffice to say it’s a very difficult watch to get hold of, although Phil Collins sold one last year for the comparatively sane figure of $70,000 USD. At any rate, having been forced to put his beloved collection on the chopping block, it’s good to see Crowe bouncing back in such magnificent style.