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Patek Phillippe Nautilus: A Timeless Investment

Cited as the male version of a Birkin, the Patek Philippe 5711/1A Nautilus is the must-have accessory for anyone who is someone. But, try finding one…

Created by France’s leading luxury houses, the Birkin bag is hard to come by and traded internationally – and now, so is the Nautilus. Designed and made by a leading luxury Swiss watch brand, this traditional steel sports accessory has got everyone talking.

Up there with the Riva Aquarama yacht and the Ferrari 250 GTO, prices for this must-have watch start from £23,440. But, with waiting lists of up to 10 years, most buyers resort to the secondary market, where they are forced to pay triple.

With celebrity owners including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Brad Pitt, Ellen DeGeneres, and Virgil Abloh to name a few, it’s reported that people are putting in orders at least five years before purchase.

But where did the Nautilus story begin?

Back in the 1970s, Philippe Stern took over the family-run business. Stern recognized that the world was changing and wanted to sell a watch that reflected the times. After years of research, in 1976, the 137-year-old family Geneva watchmaker business released a brand-new watch.

Crafted as one, the case and bracelet were designed with brushed and polished steel surfaces. Daring yet simple, many designers have since attempted to release similar pieces but failed. Inspired by futuristic themes, the finished item was packed into a unique cork box. Defying traditional geometric definitions, the case featured screws on either side to guarantee a watertight case. The name behind the marvel? Gerald Genta – the greatest wristwatch designer of the second half of the 20th century.

Having sold design to Piaget, he also famously designed watches for Bulgari, Omega, Audemars Piguet and IWC. Many, however, argue that the Nautilus is his best work. Described as “one of the world’s costliest watches made of steel”, neither its appearance or price is quiet. But, what made it different? The Nautilus was constructed with an active lifestyle in mind.

Yet, it doesn’t stop there as the Patek Philippe has been refreshed on multiple occasions. With anniversary models boasting platinum and diamond designs, six figures prices have also been released.

Once an unheard name, now Genta is on everyone’s lips. As the 40th anniversary passed in 2016, seven-figure prices for rare Patek Philippes were not uncommon. Whether you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a Patek or not, one thing’s for sure, it’s a timeless investment piece.

December 2009 saw a Nautilus Ref 5711 sell for $21,000 at auction. In 2016, another piece sold for $25,000. By 2017, that had risen to $43,000 and in 2018, auction prices hit $50,000. Today, figures can be seen above $60,000. Multi-millionaire and investor in Carr watches, Aaron Scott commented: “The rise in prices shows no sign of slowing in the short-term. The Nautilus is more than a simple monarch; it is a ruling dynasty and everyone wants a piece of the most interesting member of this royal family.”

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