I guess at MONOCHROME we do not have to tell you about cultural differences; however, there’s one that stands out for people who are passionate about horology and wristwatches in particular. Watch collectors uniting in a club-like manor is something that did not happen, or hardly, in mainland Europe. Most European watch collectors prefer to fly under the radar and do not feel any urge to share their, often pretty expensive, collection with others. That is until Instagram came along and made it easy to meet like-minded collectors, in complete anonymity. And that’s how I got in touch with @Watchesbelike. He’s a 34-year old finance professional and watch collector who lives in Paris and can be found under this alias on Instagram. We exchanged quite a bit about watches in general, collecting and his love for his Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711A. Although he’s been asked to, he would never sell it. He explains why.
@Watchesbelike – In 2013, I said (…) that even for 100k€, I wouldn’t consider selling it. Now I proved it.
Frank, MONOCHROME Watches – What is it you love so much about the Patek Philippe Nautilus?
@Watchesbelike – Just to be clear, I appreciate Patek Philippe because the Nautilus is a Patek Philippe, not the other way around. That being said, it is difficult to explain the sensation that I felt the first time I saw this watch in the flesh. The dial is just hypnotic; the colour changes depending on the brightness. The bracelet is very thin and well-executed. The overall aspect is harmonious, chic and sporty. This watch makes me feel such strong emotions. Some people reduce stress through meditation; I reduce it by contemplating my 5711! In addition to all these aesthetic aspects, I think some technical aspects also contribute to making me appreciate the watch. It is a three-hand plus date watch and has no complications, but for me, the really technicity of this watch is its high degree of robustness. This makes the watch easy to wear on any occasion. It is not a fragile watch, and robustness is not a common characteristic at this level.
When did you discover Patek?
I read about Patek Philippe on Forum a Montres, a French forum dedicated to watch enthusiasts. First, I discovered Rolex during a professional meeting when I saw a participant’s wrist in 2013. Then I searched for information on the internet and found this awesome forum. Over time, I explored the high-end section of the forum and discovered Patek Philippe and more precisely, the Nautilus. By the way, I would like to have a special thought for Joël Duval, the founder of Forum a Montres, who passed away at the end of January 2021.
I read about his passing. Very sad! Luckily he left a magnificent legacy behind with the Forum a Montres, where you discovered the Nautilus. May I ask when you bought your Nautilus?
I heard and read a lot about the Nautilus from 2013. During my lunch break on 19th February 2014, I noticed a 5711 in a second-hand dealer’s window. I entered the shop to try it on. It was love at first sight! I really enjoyed the feeling on my wrist. I took dozens of pictures with my phone. I said to the seller that I would probably consider purchasing one within two years. During the following days, I spent all my time on these pictures. On the 21st of February, I decided to purchase the watch; it was impossible to wait for years the way I planned. The seller accepted EUR 12k plus my Reverso GT and a Panerai PAM0005. On the 25th of February, the Nautilus was mine!
Do you wear your Nautilus a lot?
Yes, it gets a lot of wrist time, and two main reasons explain that. First, I love that watch, so I quite often choose it in the morning. Secondly, it is water-resistant, and I can wear it even if I plan to play sports (i.e., take a shower) during my lunch break. I love going to the gym for running, cycling, weight training or swimming.
Do you ever get reactions if you wear or show the watch?
To be honest, I have not got any reactions on my Nautilus yet. It is quite an under-the-radar watch compared to other sports watches. For instance, I get many reactions to my Royal Oak 15202ST; I think it’s more visible because of the bracelet and the shape of the case. And you know, it doesn’t bother me. My relation with my watches is very selfish. I wear watches for my own pleasure; I just appreciate the aesthetics of this watch on my wrist. I prefer to have no reaction. However, I love sharing my passion with other collectors or watch lovers, and these exchanges are very important to me. We discuss our opinions on different watches, argue in defence, or criticize a model. We also share the experiences we have with boutiques and retailers. But I find it unsettling to express my passion with people who do not share my feelings for watches.
Do you know the current market value of the watch?
As a reminder, the discontinuity of the 5711a was announced a few weeks ago. I think no one has a real idea of the current market value, because of the price volatility since that announcement. Today, Chrono24 estimates the price at EUR 95k. Years ago, the 5711A price was around EUR 20k, but at the time I said I loved that watch and even for EUR 100k I wouldn’t consider selling it. Now I have proved it. Recently, I received a DM on Instagram, but I refused to sell it. I did not even discuss the price!
Is there any watch on your wish list today?
Yes, I have a watch in mind. I really like the Lange Odysseus. Lange has always attracted me, but I was held back by the too dressy style of their watches. Now, this sports watch fits all my expectations. I really like the dial of this watch. I recognize the design language of Lange, which is quite unique. Lange accepted to allocate me an Odysseus; I hope to receive it before June. It was the first time I directly contacted a manufacturer concerning a watch purchase. It was very important for me, and I really appreciate the watch and the review you guys did of it does not help me forget this Odysseus. I appreciate the contact with Lange, and I am very happy to have been allocated a watch. Once I obtain the watch, time will tell if I will love it as much as my Nautilus or my Royal Oak. I do not have the answer for the time being.
Do you have tips for other collectors?
If you’re after the 5711A, it will be very difficult to get one now, given the model’s discontinuation. I think they have to pay the second-hand-market price, which is quite high… And for other watches… well, I mainly focus on the emotions that I feel once I put the watch on the wrist, but that is my criterion. I would recommend they identify their own criteria (technicity, complications, aesthetics, history…) and base their choices on those.