- A Patek Philippe Nautilus watch with a Tiffany Blue face sold at auction on Saturday for $6.5 million.
- The timepiece was one of 170 made by Patek in honor of its 170-year relationship with Tiffany & Co.
- All of the auction proceeds will go to the Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit.
A Patek Philippe Nautilus steel sport watch with a Tiffany Blue face was sold at auction for a staggering $6.5 million on Saturday.
The watch was the first to be sold from a limited set of 170 unveiled on the Monday before, when Patek announced an encore for its extremely popular Ref. 5711 line.
Bidding opened at $20,000 and instantly rocketed up to $50,000 — close to the watch’s retail price of $52,635.
Soon, the price was ratcheting up by $500,000 increments until it hit $4 million, after which it increased by $100,000 per nod, then $50,000.
Just as auctioneer Aurel Bacs was about to close the deal, two online bidders jumped in to push the price to $5.25 million, then $5.3 million. Auction premiums tacked another $1.2 million onto that figure.
By the time the hammer fell, the watch website Hodinkee calculated the bidding had lasted exactly 14 minutes and 39 seconds.
The final $6.5 million price made the Patek the most expensive Nautilus ever sold — and the eighth-most expensive watch ever auctioned. All proceeds from the auction will go to the Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit.
Even with its soaring prices, the Phillips auction was probably the closest shot that the average person would get at buying this watch new.
Now, only 169 remain, and all of those will be sold through Tiffany & Co. boutiques in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, presumably to the preferred clients at those stores.
There is a chance that a few of these 5711’s will find their way to the secondary market, but they will likely list for several multiples of their retail price. Even traditional Nautilus 5711s, which retailed for around $30,000, easily command six figures at resale.
The iconic sport watch has gotten so popular that Patek’s President Thierry Stern felt it was detracting from the company’s other models.
“I have still no idea why suddenly, the success [of this watch] came so fast and went so high,” Stern told CNBC . “But what I know is that I do not want to be a mono-product company. So this is why I stopped the 5711. We made enough of it.”
Although the specific 5711 variant is ending with the Tiffany edition, the Nautilus line will continue, and Stern hinted in February that the follow-up would be “major” and follow a “logical” progression.