The Tiffany Ref. 5711/1A-018 – The Last Unicorn? Or Simply the Next Unicorn?By Sumit Nag
Ladies and dudes, the unthinkable has just come to fruition. No, no pigs have gained wings; no cow’s made one giant hoof print on the lunar surface for all bovine-kind. No, this is more fantastical. Patek Philippe has created a 170-piece limited-edition run of Ref. 5711/1A-018 Nautilus in steel endowed with the famous Tiffany Blue® dial. Unique to these timepieces is the dual stamping of both companies, “Tiffany & Co.” at 6 o’clock paired with Patek Philippe at 12 o’clock.
The reason why we are calling it fantastical is because earlier in the year Patek Philippe launched what we understood to be the End of Series 5711 with Olive Green Dial. Specifically, the references 5711/1A-014 & 5711/1300A-001, in steel with the latter in steel with diamonds. As it turns out, Patek Philippe wasn’t completely done with the 5711 just yet.
But why is it that Patek Philippe had to make such an exception? Here are some intriguing facts: Both Patek Philippe (1839) and Tiffany & Co. (1837) were founded within two years of one another and are known to have a close working relationship from the get go. In 1851, Patek Philippe in fact assigned Tiffany & Co. to be the maison’s first official retail partner in the US. For the occasion, Antoine Norbert de Patek himself travelled to see Charles Lewis Tiffany in New York to express his commitment and acknowledgement for the volume of business that the American jeweler was clocking in for Genevois watchmaker.
This relationship was further solidified in 1876 when Patek Philippe took the bold step to appoint Tiffany & Co. as the general representative for the United States “who safeguards the interests of Patek Philippe & Cie. as if they were its own interests”.
At the turn of the 20th Century, it was of course the relationship that Patek Philippe nurtured with Henry Graves Junior, thanks fully to the work done through Tiffany & Co. that horology and Patek Philippe can make claim to some of the most impressive, complicated timepieces from the era.
Nurturing this partnership further was the work of the Stern family themselves with Henri Stern establishing the Henri Stern Watch Agency in New York in 1946, which set boots on the ground to work more closely with Tiffany & Co. This effort ultimately led to Patek Philippe’s opening of a boutique within the famous Tiffany retail venue on New York’s Fifth Avenue.
But that’s not all, as with today’s launch commemorating Tiffany & Co.’s 170th anniversary, Patek Philippe has marked several other occasions with special timepieces created for the Jeweler. These are as follows:
Previous limited editions Patek Philippe made especially for Tiffany & Co.
2001- Refs. 5150R, 5150J & 5150G – 450 watches
Launched in 2001 to celebrate the 150th year of partnership between the two companies, the Ref. 5150 Annual Calendar was the first limited edition created by Patek Philippe for a U.S. retailer. As a special feature, the month indication was shown as a numeral. A total of 450 watches were made: 150 in rose gold, 150 in yellow gold, and 150 in white gold.
2009 – Refs. 4987G-001 & 4987G-010 – 100 watches
Launched in 2009 on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Patek Philippe Boutique at Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue in New York, this art deco-inspired Gondolo ladies’ wristwatch featured a tonneau case and a guilloched dial decorated with a two-row diamond setting. Fifty watches with white and 50 with black dials were created.
2012 – Refs. 4987G-001 & 4987G-010 – 50 watches
Presented in 2012 on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Patek Philippe Boutique at Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue in New York (2013), this Gondolo ladies’ wristwatch features art deco accents and a slightly cambered tonneau-shaped case with two rows of diamonds and large rhythmically arranged Roman numerals. Its edition was limited to 25 watches with a blue sunburst dial and 25 watches with a mother-of-pearl dial.
2012 – Ref. 5396G-012 – 100 watches
This white gold men’s watch with an Annual Calendar comes in a limited edition of 100 timepieces. It displays the day of the week and the month in a double aperture at 12 o’clock and has an analog date at 6 o’clock. The back is graced with the engraved inscription “Patek Philippe – A Shared Vision – 2008-2013 – that recalls the fifth anniversary of the Patek Philippe Boutique at Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue.
The Tiffany Double Stamp
It goes without saying that the Tiffany double stamp has quite the desirability factor in today’s landscape. A quick peruse through Phillips Watches past sales will indicate the last instance of a Tiffany double stamped 5711 was a ref. 5711/1A-011in steel with a white dial at their recently concluded 2021 Fall auction in Hong Kong, where it sold for a little over USD 230,000. At the same auction they sold a rose gold ref. 5711/1R-001 that went for over USD 280,000. For a sense of the price point on a classic blue dial, ref. 5711/1A we’re going to have to look back in time to the Phillips Watch’s November 2018 auction in Geneva, where an instance sold for round about USD 135,000.
But now we’re talking about an end of series issue 5711, double stamped and in a dial color previously unseen on the reference. How bonkers are the secondary market prices going to be on these? And what more for a known quantity of just 170 pieces?
Let’s consider the two most notable sales of the End of Series 5711 with Olive Green Dial, ref. References 5711/1A-014 to date, since launch. First, we had the instance sold with Antiquorum, in Monaco on the 21st of July 2021, a day which will live in infamy. On this date, a suspected and alleged Gregory Pau sold off a sealed example of the end of series olive dial steel 5711 for close to a half a million US dollars.
The other instance that’s worth stating is an example that was sold on loupethis.com, where the winning bid was USD 369,000. If we sound a little more lenient in mentioning this sale, it’s because Justin Gruenberg and Eric Ku, the gents behind the platform made it known ahead of the sale that the generous consignor of the coveted lot wanted all proceeds from this sale to be directed towards charitable causes. The hammer amount for the lot was marked to be donated to charitable organisations working on relief efforts for the benefit of the Orang Asli people of Sarawak and Sabah in Malaysia. The Orang Asli indigenous people have been particularly vulnerable to pandemic related issues, as well as the effects of climate change.
The buyer’s fee, thereafter, was divided between Girls Inc. of Alameda County, and Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles. Girls Inc. a non-profit organization that inspires, encourages and equips all girls with the skills to navigate through economic, gender and social barriers by way of direct service and advocacy.
So how will any instances of the Ref. 5711/1A-018 “Tiffany & Co.” perform at auction? Well, speculations be damned, because Patek Philippe has already earmarked one example of the reference to be auctioned off by Phillips Watches at their 2021 New York Auction (11-12 December 2021). The watch is to be sold with no reserve.
Paul Boutros, Head of Phillips Watches in the Americas, seems to have cleared an estimated sale price “In Excess of USD 50,000” to be listed on the catalog. Mr Boutros, I think we can all say, we see what you did there. Excess is the word to focus on. We’re most likely looking at a well above a million dollar watch here, and a glorious swan song for the 5711.
Movement: Caliber 26-330 S C; self-winding; date in an aperture; sweep seconds; diameter: 27 mm; height: 3.3 mm; number of parts: 212; winding rotor: 21K gold central rotor; power reserve: min. 35 hours – max. 45 hours
Case: Steel; diameter (10–4 o’clock): 40 mm; height: 8.3 mm; water-resistant to 120 m; screw-down crown; sapphire crystal case back bearing the inscription “170th Anniversary Tiffany & Co – Patek Philippe 1851 – 2021”
Dial: Tiffany Blue®, horizontally embossed, “Tiffany & Co.” printed in black, blackened gold applied hour markers with luminescent coating; lackened white gold rounded baton-style hands with luminescent coating
Bracelet: Steel; Nautilus fold-over clasp
Price & availability: Price: TBD; 170-piece limited edition
More information: patek.com