Last week, we published an article that we believed was a “necessary evil”. We listed the 5 most sought-after Rolex watches currently in production and looked at their “real” market value, the reasons behind the trend and the premium you actually have to pay if you want to get your hands on these watches today. This article has been a hot topic of discussion, with many comments – most of them very interesting. For this reason, we’ve decided to also look at another brand, which is now under the same speculative bubble: Patek Philippe. So here are the hottest Patek Philippe watches now in the collection and guess what, all of them are Nautilus and Aquanaut models. Here’s what you’ll have to pay if you want to skip the (sometimes even 10-year) waiting list.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 is one of the most desirable watches on the market today, if not THE most desirable one.
The fame of the Nautilus, especially the time-and-date steel/blue dial version, a.k.a. the reference 5711/1A-010, is a topic that Frank already covered in a highly personal article. In his quest for finding an example, Frank actually ends his story by explaining why he didn’t buy one, and instead went for a used 911. The worst part is that, since we published that article, the situation has gone entirely mad – truly, deeply, insanely mad. In the same way that the Rolex Daytona has today become a trading commodity, the 5711 and anything steel Nautilus/Aquanaut have become watches desired by everyone – most of the time, not for the right reasons. Most of the time, these people don’t even know what a Nautilus is, where it comes from and why they should, arguably, get one… or not.
So here we are, with a list of seven Patek Philippe Nautilus and Aquanaut watches – we could even add two or three other references currently in production and multiple vintage or discontinued versions to the list (think 3700A, 3711G, 3712A, 5980A and more).
Note that these Patek Phillipe models are currently almost impossible to get at the listed RRP, from an official retailer, without being on a waiting list. And the waiting list, according to some sources, could easily run-up to an eye-watering 10 years! Paying a premium at a non-official watch seller is the only way to go if you want one immediately. Sadly.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711
The Patek Nautilus 5711 is today’s equivalent of Marylin Monroe in the 1950s… An object of desire for most men. Its desirability rate is so high that we no longer count the length of the waiting list – it is said to be somewhere between eight years and 12 years, at official boutiques and authorized retailers. The Nautilus 5711 is objectively a great watch, which looks good, is very nicely manufactured, wears great and has a perfect balance between sporty and dressy. It is a great watch, but not the best watch of the lot. There are dozens of alternatives for the same price and hundreds of great watches for lower budgets, which are available right now.
Still, this isn’t the question anymore. The ref. 5711 is the definition of nonsense. It is a vicious circle: the more people talk about it, the less it becomes available. The less available it is, the more people want it. The more people want it NOW, the more the prices increase. The more the prices increase, the more people become aware of the existence of this watch… And so on.
Today, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 is listed around EUR 27,500. And even though some are produced, the brand doesn’t want to flood the market with too many pieces. So for the time being, finding one at retail price is impossible, or simply requires a lot of patience.
Reality: A year ago, the average price for a Nautilus 5711 on the second-hand (grey) market was around EUR 45,000. Today, the average price for a white dial model is around EUR 55,000, and the average price for a blue dial version is around EUR 65,000. Note that a mint/unworn model, with box and papers, can easily fetch EUR 70,000. And that makes a nice 155% premium over the retail price… Also, note that no fewer than 259 steel 5711s are listed now on Chrono24. Who said scarcity?
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712
Besides the ref. 5711, the other truly iconic and desirable model in the Nautilus line up is the ref. 5712. Based on the same case and bracelet, yet with a different movement – with complications and 240-based micro-rotor calibre – this watch has always been slightly in the shadows compared to the time-and-date model. However, now that the ref. 5711 is under the spotlights, the rest of the Nautilus collection follows the same trend, especially steel models on steel bracelets. And the ref. 5712, with its unbalanced but full-of-charm dial, is today as difficult to acquire as it is expensive on the second-hand market.
The RRP of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A-001 is now around EUR 37,000 and the waiting list is also around six to eight years.
Reality: Getting a ref. 5712 in steel on steel bracelet, at retail price, is a Utopia… This means that prices are today around EUR 75,000, with a mint/unworn model, with box and papers, being close to EUR 80,000, meaning a 115% premium over retail. Note that over 200 examples are now listed on Chrono24 – only blue dial, steel case/bracelet models.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740
The Nautilus Perpetual Calendar ref. 5740 was presented recently at Baselworld 2018. And even though it’s now the most expensive and most complicated watch in the regular collection (apart from the iced versions), the desirability of the model soared immediately. This ref. 5740 is made of white gold and features a complex, fragile QP movement, which is far from the original vocation of this watch. Nothing to scare collectors apparently, as this watch is, like the rest of the Nautilus collection, practically unattainable.
The RRP of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740/1G-001 is around EUR 112,000. No words on the waiting list, but don’t expect it to be available easily at official boutiques.
Reality: Just like its steel sisters, the Nautilus Perpetual Calendar suffers from speculation. The average price is somewhere around EUR 195,000 to EUR 200,000 – even though we tend to be rather sceptical on the reality of these transactions. It could well be that these watches are listed without finding a new owner. As such, the premium is approximately 75%.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726A (new model)
A couple of years ago, the Nautilus Annual Calendar, the most accessible model, was oddly considered the “ugly duckling” of the collection. Well, the situation has changed, especially since Baselworld 2019 and the introduction of the ref. 5726, with a gradient blue dial, steel case and steel bracelet. This model is objectively a nice compromise, with a perfectly balanced dial, a steel case/bracelet, and a trendy colour. In this instance, it has become one of the hottest versions on the current market.
The RRP of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726/1A-014 is around EUR 41,000. No words on the waiting list, but don’t expect it to be available easily at official boutiques.
Reality: This specific ref. 5726/1A-014 has just been launched and demand is high. The average price on the second-hand market in approximately EUR 105,000, meaning a 155% premium over the retail price. Note that the older versions on steel bracelets, with grey or white dials, are also suffering from the speculative bubble with average prices of EUR 90,000. The steel model on leather strap, the easiest to find on the market, is currently fetching around EUR 50,000.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167
The reason for the current demand for the Aquanaut is relatively simple to understand and sadly, has nothing to do with the watch itself. Because the Nautilus is commanding such high levels of demand, speculators thought it would be a good idea to look at its aquatic sister, the Aquanaut. After all, it is a sporty Patek in steel with a case that somehow resembles the Nautilus. A few years ago, the classic time-and-date Aquanaut, ref. 5167A-001 (on rubber) or ref. 5167/1A-001 (on steel bracelet), was relatively easy to find new and didn’t sell with a premium on the second-hand market. This situation is now over.
The RRP of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A-001 is around EUR 17,900 and the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/1A-001 is around EUR 20,500. No words on the waiting list, but don’t expect it to be available easily at official boutiques.
Reality: The Aquanaut has recently started to become hot and the prices asked by second-hand market sellers are on the rise. Currently, a nice example of 5167A-001 (on rubber strap) can’t be found for under EUR 35,000. The version on a steel bracelet requires an extra couple of thousands. This results in an approximate premium of 90% over the retail price. Overall, more than 200 steel models are listed on Chrono24. The premium for the rose gold version is “only” about EUR 10,000.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164
The “travelling sister” of the time-and-date Aquanaut, ref. 5164, is in the same situation. This version, named Travel-Time by Patek Philippe, integrates a practical complication that allows the display of a second time zone thanks to an additional hand actuated by two pushers on the left side of the case. It also features an indication of the date and two night-and-day indicators. In our books, this is probably the best compromise and best-looking version of the Aquanaut. Unfortunately, it is equally hard to find and speculation does exist too.
The RRP of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164A-001 is around EUR 32,000. No words regarding the waiting list, but availability is close to zero.
Reality: even though this watch isn’t rare – close to 200 steel examples listed on Chrono24 – demand is high and prices are going up quickly. A nice ref. 5164A-001 will now sell around EUR 50,000, meaning a 55% premium over the retail price. The rose gold version suffers the same kind of premium.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968
Last but not least, Patek Philippe recently presented a chronograph version of the Aquanaut, under the reference 5968A-001. This watch relies on the same base movement as the Nautilus ref. 5980/5990 or the ref. 5960. The overall design is bold, with multiple orange accents on the dial and even an orange rubber strap included in the box – in addition to a classic black rubber strap. While we were rather sceptical of the success of this watch at first, it appears that since its presentation at Baselworld 2018, the Aquanaut 5968A is in high demand.
The RRP of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A-001 is around EUR 41,000. No words regarding the waiting list, but availability is close to zero.
Reality: just like the rest of the Aquanaut collection, and like all other steel sports Patek, the prices of the Aquanaut 5968A on the second-hand market are higher than the retail price. Most of them are now listed around EUR 80,000, meaning a 95% premium over retails.