“As yet more proof of this insane situation, Antiquorum has just auctioned a Green Nautilus 5711, reaching a price of EUR 320,000 (before fees).” monochrome-watches.com reckons the fact that a Patek Philippe Nautilus Green Dial sold for $378k represents a trend that’s “killing the market.” A situation that restricts sales to “flippers and so-called investors with zero interest in what this watch actually represents in terms of watchmaking and history.” Nonsense . . .
For one thing, no one knows who bought the watch; whether they’re a flipper, genuine collector or museum. For another, monochrome was wrong about the price. According to Antiquorum, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Green Dial (lot 152) hammered for EUR 400k ($473,260).
No question: that’s a significant markup on a $36k watch. And? In our capitalist system, something is worth exactly what someone will pay for it. Nothing more and nothing less. That’s capitalism’s fundamental principle. It’s as egalitarian as it gets.
If mononchrome’s Brice Goulard wants to live in a monochromatic world, a world where the government sets the price of goods and services, I suggest he consider the inescapable damage engendered by socialist and communist countries. Not to mention the drek produced by these “fixed price” economies (e.g., the Trabant above).
Second, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Green Dial auctioned by Antiquorum in Monaco isn’t just any example of the last of Patek’s 5711’s. It’s a factory sealed watch. Given that Patek Philippe forbids dealers from letting a watch leave the store without removing its condoms, there’s nothing like it. And never will be.
In his post Green Dial Nautilus 5711 Madness, our man Adams scoffed at the piece’s unique nature. “This thing will never be worn. It will stay in its bag forever, passed from one rich idiot to another. ‘Guess what I just got’ one will say to the next, ‘a sealed green Nautilus. It’s sitting in my safe right now.’ To which the other will nervously slide his cuff over his Royal Oak and change the subject.”
Maybe. As any “real” collector of Star Wars memorabilia knows, NRFB (Never Removed From Box) is the ultimate gottahave. Quite why that’s the case is a subject worthy of psychological investigation. Suffice it to say, the NRFB Patek Philippe Nautilus Green Dial holds Mariana Trench-deep appeal for collectors for whom the word “pristine” is the ultimate accolade. And not just because they’re snobs.
More than that, factory-sealing elevates the Patek Philippe Nautilus Green Dial above and beyond a “mere” watch. This timepiece is a historical artifact. An irreproducible physical representation of our current times, where wealthy collectors and yes flippers chase contemporary grail watches with unbridled zeal.
The factory-sealed Patek Philippe Nautilus Green Dial is also a work of art – the horological equivalent of the installations created by the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. wikipedia.org:
Christo Vladimirov Javacheff (1935–2020) and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon (1935–2009), known as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, were artists noted for their large-scale, site-specific environmental installations, often large landmarks and landscape elements wrapped in fabric, including the Wrapped Reichstag, The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Running Fence in California, and The Gates in New York City’s Central Park.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude described the myriad elements that brought the projects to fruition as integral to the artwork itself, and said their projects contained no deeper meaning than their immediate aesthetic impact; their purpose being simply for joy, beauty, and new ways of seeing the familiar.
A factory-wrapped Patek isn’t quite the same as the wrapped Reichstag on many levels (Christo and Jean Claude never used transparent wrapping). But the principle is the same. The auctioned timepiece offers a new way of seeing a grail watch. (The grail watch?) As such, the forever box-fresh Patek Philippe Nautilus Green Dial is worth more than any other example.
Worth being an entirely personal and relative term. Even so, lambasting the Patek’s buyer for “killing the market” is a grave disservice to both the unknown buyer and the undeniable joys of a free market. It’s ill-advised and ill-tempered. As Oscar Wilde reminds us, “The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”