Any true watch lover would agree that along with death and taxes, the only other certainty in life is that a Patek Philippe will appreciate in value. For this reason – and countless others – owning a timepiece from this esteemed brand is an aspiration for most, if not all, watch collectors.
A Patek Philippe can enter one’s life a number of ways. For some, a watch of this caliber is lusted-after for years before becoming the pièce de résistance of a meticulously curated collection. For others, it’s handed-down to them after merely being looked after by previous generations. For Alex, it was none of the above: He got his Nautilus only three months after making up his mind to buy one. Alex’s quick turnaround on a Nautilus has a lot do with his – and others – confidence in the brand equity of a Patek Philippe wristwatch.
If you’re really into watches, like Alex is, you read the latest blogs and follow like-minded, passionate watch enthusiasts on Instagram. Take it one step further: Alex is actually part of a local watch collector community. What does that mean? Fellow watch junkies – from beginners to aficionados – are rounded-up through social media and come together – over drinks of course – to share their personal watches with one another and recount stories about their horological experiences.
At one of these gatherings three months ago, Alex found himself in the company of two gentlemen: One – a young professional, the other – a seasoned collector. Although their ages differed, their exquisite taste in watches was the same: One had a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712G; the other a Patek Philippe Calatrava 5296G. The pressure-free, welcoming atmosphere of the get-together was the perfect setting for Alex to savor the fine details of the high-quality timepieces they unveiled. Between the perfectly synchronized time that both displayed, to the hand-finished engraving on the movements, Alex was mesmerized. He confessed “That did it.”
Prior to this interaction, the thought of owning a Patek Philippe seemed unfathomable to him: It was a brand he assumed was ‘out of his reach.’ But after this up-close and personal encounter, he was spellbound. The wheels were set in motion: Alex was going after a Patek.
Alex’s eyes were first opened to haute-horology manufacturers several years ago by an Audemars Piguet connoisseur he met. Through the invaluable mentorship of his watch-guru friend, Alex went on to purchase – not one, but two – Audemars Piguet watches. This was Alex’s first taste of another echelon of watchmaking craftsmanship.
One of the Audemars Piguet watches Alex bought was the Royal Oak ref. 15300. He soon learned about acclaimed watch architect, Gérald Genta: The man whose impressive résumé not only boasts the legendary Royal Oak design, but also the much-coveted Patek Philippe Nautilus.
Alex’s current watch collecting philosophy is all about having “a little of a lot.” This means continually reassessing his watch-lineup to make sure that it includes watches he truly loves wearing, but also contains watches with a specific purpose. Furthermore, after dabbling in a few ‘gateway’ watches – Panerai to name just one – the other criteria Alex’s watches must meet, especially since he knows his propensity to trade-up, is a high-likelihood of having a strong return-on-investment.
So, with a Patek in his crosshair, Alex just had to pull the trigger on a model. His current lineup included a Rolex Explorer I – his “beater,” a solid-gold Rolex GMT – his “Vegas” watch, a “rugged-sporty” style: Audemars Offshore Diver, and a “dress” watch: Audemars Royal Oak.
In his mind (and probably most people’s) a Patek Philippe falls more in the “dress” category. In order to keep his collection well-rounded and maintain his “quality over quantity” standard, Alex decided to trade his Royal Oak for a Patek Nautilus: The sophisticated cousin of his Royal Oak.
Armed with great trade bait, he made a few inquiries on the gray market. Before long Alex negotiated with a dealer in Texas to take his Royal Oak – plus cash – for a brand-new Nautilus. With the arrangement agreed upon – and due diligence performed – Alex headed to the bank and did a wire transfer. Then he went to FedEx and dropped-off his Royal Oak.
Up to this point, he has never even tried on a Nautilus, yet he still felt fine doing the deal. Not even his self-described “frugal’ nature caused him to get ‘cold feet’ on such an expensive purchase.
Alex’s confidence and faith in a Patek Philippe Nautilus gave him reassurance. After all, this was a super-sought-after watch. Barring finding a brick in the box instead of a shiny new Patek Philippe, the worst-case scenario was it didn’t fit right or just didn’t strike him the way he had hoped.
Buying a Patek Philippe – especially a spanking-new Nautilus – is about as safe as putting your money in an FDIC savings account. For those concerned about ‘breaking-even’ or making a profit: It’s a heck of a better financial strategy than plunking-down cash for your average luxury automobile or designer duds. Alex understands this. And while he, nor any of us, has a ‘crystal ball’ to see what the future holds, a strong trend is that a worthy alternative asset to hold is definitely a Patek Philippe (or vintage Rolex). His Nautilus is as liquid as cash: If he’s ever in a jam or simply needs money for something else (house, children, etc.), his Nautilus is a darn-good insurance policy.
For now, Alex couldn’t be happier that he went ahead with getting a Patek. The watch has surpassed his wildest dreams and he looks forward to the wrist-time to come.