Recently, news broke that Patek Philippe would be discontinuing their much-beloved Nautilus 5711/1A-010. Legendary watch designer Gérald Genta came up with this iconic timepiece back in the 1970s. It has since become an international hit and is one of the top 4 most popular models on Chrono24. News of its discontinuation came as an unpleasant surprise to many watch enthusiasts. After all, it’s Patek’s biggest seller and the watch that best represents the brand for many of its customers. As a result, prices for the Nautilus have skyrocketed on Chrono24. Is it just a temporary case of FOMO, or will prices continue to be bonkers for the foreseeable future? Let’s find out.
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710LN
We’ll start by taking a look at some other popular discontinued models to see if we can detect a trend. The first watch on our list is the Rolex GMT-Master II 116710LN. The 116710LN is a first-generation Rolex GMT-Master II with a black Cerachrom bezel. This bezel has made the watch a popular collector’s item, especially after its production ceased in 2019.
When the news broke at Baselworld, prices jumped from around $9,000 to more than $11,000. That’s where they remained until recently when we saw a further price increase to around $14,000. This trend shows that prices generally rise for discontinued Rolexes, especially those with no direct replacement in the current catalog. The appeal of owning a piece of Rolex history is enormous.
Unlike the watches from the other brands in this article, prices for pretty much every Rolex model rise rapidly – a unique quality of the brand. Every Rolex sports model has increased massively in price, with the Submariner and Daytona performing best, though the GMT-Master is not far behind. We expect to see further increases until the Rolex bubble bursts. If and when that will happen remains to be seen.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 25860ST.OO.1110ST.03
The second watch on our list is another icon: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph ref. 25860ST.OO.1110ST.03. This 39-mm watch was first introduced in 1997 and produced all the way up to 2012. In 2012, however, the brand replaced the original with a 41-mm version. Many Royal Oak enthusiasts prefer the original 39-mm size over the larger one, making the former a very sought-after model. It is one of the most straightforward Royal Oak chronographs with a blue tapisserie dial and a stainless steel bracelet.
When it comes to its financial performance, the model experienced an initial price drop after AP announced its discontinuation, going from around $15,500 to $11,500. In 2015, however, the Royal Oak really started growing in popularity with a larger crowd, causing prices to rebound. Over the last six years, its value has grown to around $26,000 – a rather significant sum. There aren’t very many available on Chrono24, which says something about owners’ willingness to part ways with their watches. The 39-mm Royal Oak Chronograph is undoubtedly a classic, and as such, will likely continue to rise in price thanks to its legacy and lack of availability.
Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space (FOiS) 3126.96.36.199.01.001
The Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space, or FOiS, has been an affordable entry point into the world of the Speedmaster since its introduction in 2012. The Speedmaster FOiS has always been less expensive than the regular Moonwatch, and yet it is still very much linked to space exploration and the Speedmaster legacy. The model is based on the Speedmaster that Wally Schirra was wearing while he orbited the Earth during the 1962 Sigma 7 mission.
Since it is based on an older Speedmaster model, it is just 39.7 mm in diameter. For comparison, the Speedmaster Professional is 42 mm across. However, the FOiS’ size is part of what makes it so popular. Moreover, it has the same classic design as the early generation Speedmaster CK2998, a true icon among Speedmaster enthusiasts. When it comes to price, the Speedmaster FOiS used to sell for less than its official list price of $5,300; for a long time, you could pick one up for anywhere between $3,500-4,000. However, since rumors started flying around last year that Omega was planning to retire this model, its prices have rapidly increased to $4,700 and upwards. I predict that prices will not continue to rise at the same rate they did after the announcement, but I would expect to see a steady increase similar to that of other popular models.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-010
This brings us back to the Nautilus. We have to return to 2019 and an interview between Patek Philippe CEO Thierry Stern and GQ for a hint as to why the company would discontinue one of its icons. In the interview, Stern mentions the brand’s 140 different models and how he wouldn’t want Patek to be famous for the Nautilus alone.
The Nautilus is tremendously popular, but it is by no means the most complicated or impressive watch the brand produces. Nevertheless, it has one of the world’s most iconic watch designs, and that’s why people want it. Instead of capitalizing on the company’s bestseller, however, Stern decided to cease its production. As a result, you no longer have to worry about 10-year long waiting lists and the constant frustration of not being able to buy one at its list price of $33,710.
On the downside, the Nautilus 5711/1A-010 will become increasingly hard to find, and prices will undoubtedly rise over time. People were already willing to pay up to $60,000 for a Nautilus, and after the announcement, prices increased further to between $80,000 and $90,000. So, did the discontinuation create greater demand? Judging by the ridiculous rise in asking prices on Chrono24, you would think that everyone is clamoring to get their hands on one, but this could also be down to wishful thinking from sellers.
That being said, the watch industry has gone crazy when it comes to prices for pre-owned watches. As the other models on this list demonstrate, prices have gone up rather drastically. The Nautilus 5711/1A-010 is a bigger icon than any of the other watches we’ve mentioned, so after the initial craziness dies down, prices will probably settle around $75,000-80,000. Only time will tell whether the hype continues. A lot of that will have to do with Patek Philippe’s future plans for the Nautilus.
At Watches & Wonders 2021, the brand revealed the new Nautilus 5711/1A-014 with a stunning olive green dial. While this immediately triggered enthusiasm among those who want one, actually getting one will be hard. The brand also issued a statement saying that they would be ceasing production of the Nautilus 5711/1A in late 2021, so don’t expect prices for the 5711/1A to drop anytime soon. For all we know, this new green edition may even end up more highly coveted than the iconic version with a blue dial. I expect its market value to far exceed its $34,893 list price and probably even the $75,000-80,000 mentioned above. Is it worth it? That is something only you can decide – if you can afford one, that is.