Patek Philippe 6711 Boutique Only

7
477

Patek Philippe 6711

“The replacement to the Ref. 5711 will be quite major,” Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern tells nytimes.com. “It will be better than the Ref. 5711.” Internet wags have declared that there will be two versions of the new watch. The scuttlebutt says it will look like the old 5711, only larger (41mm). One will boast a titanium case and bracelet with a blue sunburst dial, the other a platinum case with a black dial. We shall see. The more disturbing news . . .

Patek Philippe 6711 dealer London

Initially, the new Patek Philippe 6711 will only be sold “at our own salons located in Geneva, Paris and London. It is not the perfect solution, and it will be a nightmare for them.” Ya think? It’s actually worse than that. All those disappointed 5711 wait listers have been wiped from the slate. New watch, new waiting lists.

Customers of the Geneva, Paris and London Patek boutiques have a higher priority than any customers of any other Patek boutique anyplace else. In other words, customers who kissed the Patek ring at an authorized dealer (i.e., bought a large number of non-5711’s to boost their chances of getting a 5711) outside those patek-owned store have no inside track on the new timepiece. They have to jockey – again – for a shot at the new watch.

Patek ad for luxury watches

Realizing the turmoil he’s created, Mr. Stern prevaricated. “That is my suggestion right now, but we will listen to our store managers.” I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to be handling authorized dealer enquiries at Patek HQ. Or from frustrated customers at the dealer level. “Authorized dealers have told WatchPro in recent years that it requires full time employees to field [5711-related] persistent inquiries.”

That said, authorized Patek Dealers must be relieved they no longer have to deal with 5711 calls or police against flippers. By restricting initial sales to three capitals, the watchmaker has made the new Patek Philippe 6711 out of pure unobtanium. Authorized dealers can simply shrug their shoulders and say “How about a stainless steel 5212A World Time? I can get you one of those in less than a decade. Or so.”

Will disappointed 5711 buyers be spending their money with Patek on something else, despite Stern’s decision to cancel their aspirations? Or will they move to other brands – as suggested by our man Franz. That remains to be seen. The first part of the watchmaker’s famous tagline – “You never really own a Patek Philippe” – might end up being prophetic.

Patek tattoo - not the Patek Philippe 6711

Patek would have been better advised to allow dealers to add a huge markup to reduce 5711 waiting times, as our man Adams suggested for Rolex. Think of it this way: after the steel 5711, what halo watch does Patek have? Killing their most famous model in favor of the Patek Philippe 6711 – whatever that may be – removes a lure (not to mention Patek’s allure).

Meanwhile, there’s joy in mudville. Non-Patek brands – Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-leCoultre, F.P. Journe and others – must consider this move a major opening. Assuming, that is, they have something to sell. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas, for example, has a two-year waiting list for its blue dial Overseas. And growing. F.P. Journe’s quartz watch is a similar sell-out.

But neither watchmaker has any plans to kill their most popular models. Why would they?

7 COMMENTS

  1. Patek will be fine in the end, unlike a lot of the watch brands out there that are relying on blackout drunk US fiscal and monetary policy for solvency, but this strategy is pretty interesting.

    Don’t want to make steel watches? Then don’t make steel watches. And definitely don’t use gimmicky titanium. Just use gold and platinum. And kill the embarrassing Aquanaut. That would be a lot simpler than all this silliness. Because of the amount of metal involved a gold or platinum Nautilus on a bracelet can have a six-figure or close MSRP and not be out of line with the rest of the Patek lineup. And that MSRP will keep sales naturally limited compared to ~$25k Calatravas, instead of having pretend waitlists and leaving money on the table for the second hand market.

    The embarrassing truth for Patek, and the reason they are going to still make non-precious metal Nautilus and Aquanaut watches, is that even in this historically unparalleled frothy economic environment its complicated, most expensive watches sell at a discount grey. Want a Patek split seconds chronograph? Jomashop has it at an 18% discount to retail (don’t forget to use the code for free shipping). But if you buy one at retail it might just get you a steel Aquanaut. But it and another complicated, dust gathering Patek at retail and maybe you get a titanium Nautilus.

  2. This is a perfect example of a good idea getting buried by having no actual plan behind it and absolutely inept PR.

    Error 1: Announcing its discontinuation before the replacement is out. This is kind of the anti-Osborne effect where everyone grasps for the 5711 because the general thought is that the replacement is going to be worse or at least more expensive.
    Error 2: Letting information come out in dribs and drabs, which just fuels more speculation.
    Error 3: Thinking out loud in the press. You’re the president of the g-d–n-d company! You should NEVER admit that you don’t know what you’re doing or don’t have the final say.

    Whatever they announce now is guaranteed to tick off about half of their customer base. And all they had to do was wait until the new one was ready to go, announce it all in one go, and sit back and watch the money roll in.

    Mr Stern, please take President Chirac’s immortal advice and not miss this opportunity to shut up.

  3. I … Don’t get any of this. In what circumstance does wearing this particular watch confer an advantage? And what advantage is conferred? And how is that advantage unique from the one conferred by any of the dozen or so comparably priced watches? I mean I follow that this one has Dem Dere Authenticities but why would anybody born after the original was released care?

    • I am also an unenlightened philistine lacking the appreciation for the sublime wonder of this magical design. Though I’ll never be master of the universe enough to own one, if I could just bask in one’s glory I would surely stop calling it a disco-era porthole watch and start to sing its praises.

  4. I have read something about an interview to a Saudi Arabia Prince, who’s said something as controversial as “my sons will be riding camels in the future”.
    His reasoning was as follows, more or less.
    My grandfather used to ride a camel.
    Hard times make strong men.
    My father grew strong. He remembered that his father used to ride camels.
    He worked so much to make me drive a Rolls Royce.
    No matter what I do, my sons will be driving Rolls Royces and Ferraris.
    Affluent times make weak men.
    This is why they will be riding camels again in the future.

Leave a Reply