NEWS: Patek Nautilus for under retail


De Bark & Jack.

Esta entrada se publicó originalmente en Bark & Jack el .


During the most recent Christie’s Rare Watch auction, on July 20th, 2020, the giant that is Patek Philippe finally gave in. Two examples of the watchmaker’s most recognizable watches, that is the Nautilus, not their World Time or Calatrava, sold for less than RETAIL! Yes, you read that right two stainless steel Nautilus were sold at a Christie’s auction for less than £23,300.

More specifically, the two watches reached a hammer price of £21,100 and £23,230, respectively. Both were the 3800/1 reference with the cheaper one is a 1989 watch and the other one a 1996 while their case size was a very attractive 37mm. The reference and their -somewhat- small case are for some people deal breakers but not enough to justify their significant drop in price. Imagine someone saying to you last week that you could have bought two stainless steel Nautilus for less than the going rate of the more modern 5711!

Now, you might think well, they are damaged or have aftermarket work done on them but, NO, that’s not the case. Both these examples were in mint condition, fully original with box and papers as well. However, even then you might not be fully convinced and say that it was a poor auction with poor results but that’s not the case either. In the same auction, a handful of Paul Newmans were sold exceeding the half-million mark while a 1920 Cartier Santos with a redone dial -and historic significance though- sold for over its estimate and incase you didn’t know vintage Cartier doesn’t get appreciated as much as they should in auctions, making this lot even more interesting. Even some modern Panerai watches were sold and were surprisingly close with the steel Nautilus leaving me scratching my head and wondering if it’s 2003 all over again.

These results beg the question: Is the Covid-19 crisis finally creeping its way into the watch world or is the hype train slowing down with these luxury, tool, sports watches? 

Well, while the first surely holds some truth but it certainly can’t be the sole cause of such a significant price drop and even then, how do you justify the market for Paul Newmans and even other, dressier, Patek Philippe references? I think it’s safe to assume that the second case stands then which was inevitable really. Right?

Prices for Submariners, GMT II, Royal Oaks, and Nautilus were driven so high because of young people that found themselves swimming in money before even reaching drinking age yet. These watches are very incapable of passing under the radar even to someone that is not bothered by watches in general and that’s exactly what the youth wants, to show you how much they have achieved, they seek attention and reassurance.

What better way to do that than with a Rolex that everyone recognizes or a Patek Philippe that is gold from top to bottom.

No vintage Cartier or Patek Philippe ref 2526 or 3448 does that because these type of watches have been designed and built to make sure that only those that should notice them actually do! It’s exactly like a tailored suit and a suit from Gap. Those who should know can distinguish between the two and appreciate one a little -or a lot- more than the other. And that’s not a bad thing, it is fact the opposite of a bad thing because it lets everyone set their priorities in line with who they are and what the like.

Let’s cross our fingers and hope that this is, in fact, true and it’s not -just- because of Covid-19 because not many people can buy a £60,000 sports watch and to be honest many people don’t want to either. The retail is set at £23,440 for a reason let’s not forget that… 


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