Merry Christmas!!!

Dear fellow Bloggers and Readers,

I wish all of you a great Christmas and a most fantastic New Year. Let's hope that Santa brings many watches to you all...

P.S. I will be slowing the rate of posts here until the holiday season is over. My family and friends will be getting the most of my attention this holiday season.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the RAREST of them all..?

With the speculative bubble around the 3712 many expected that the 5712 would cause this bubble to burst. Well it did... not! It only deflated slightly. lately it seems that its price is rising again. Many hoped that the price of the 3712 would drop, to either get one for themselves or have greedy speculators and gray market merchants bite the dust. Sorry, not this time. I guest that the Moonphase Nautty will not be a bargain just yet. Yes, unbelievably the older 3712 trades at higher prices than the new 5712!

How can this be? It has been several weeks now that I have been dwelling on the answer to this mystery. At first, I attempted to put logic into an otherwise "illogical" equation. The 3712 is the rarest of all Nautilus references, ever (I am dying to find out how many were really made). It was discontinued only 6 months after being presented in Basel, about the same time when it started to reach retailers. The other reason could be the slight modification of the dial. The slightly larger and redesigned date print had a casualty, one of the smaller markers at 7 o'clock. It might not be something significant at first but for those whose focus is on detail (which incidentally are most Patek fans) this is a let down. It almost looks like a sloppy way to cut cost and much less a way to make the date a little bit more readable.

... then a few days ago I might have gotten the answer. Initially when comparing both side by side I could not comprehend why the 3712 is still so highly appreciated. It just made no sense! First I must say that the rounded hinges of the new 5712 are an absolute improvement over the older models. It gives the new Nautty a more "modern" feeling, more in touch with the times. But when examined in detail this is where the improvements end. The dial difference is negligible, if you are not a "psycho" and are not made aware of the removal of the 7 o'clock marker you will not notice that minor change. When I held both in each hand... something did not feel right. The 5712 was thicker, and the back looked... bulky? Although on paper the difference should be negligible the new case construction accentuates the thickness. That's not good. It felt sloppy. What is unforgivable is that the thicker 5712 does not improve the 60 meter water resistance of the 3712, which is one of its weaknesses.

What absolutely killed me is when I decided to put both into the hands of a lady that just happened to be shopping for her husbands Christmas present. I usually like to ask people that are not so much into watches in order to get an honest answer. This also helps me bypass my personal bias as much as possible. Well, back to our subject... she held them and her first reaction was that they where both the same. The 5712 looked better... but wait! It also feels cheaper... ouch! That "remark" really killed me. She thought that the sales person and I where testing her to see if she could make the difference between a real Patek and a really good copy. The 3712 felt thiner and more authentic, when the back of the 5712 felt a bit more... "Seikoish"? I did not necessarily agree with that assessment but it gave me something to think about. Tastes are a personal matter, I love the 3712/5712 and she did not like the Nautties to begin with. I respect her opinion since not long ago I was not a Nautty fan either. Please bear in mind that I am not putting in question the quality or the improvement of the case of the 5712 over the 3712. I am almost certain that the improvement of the new Nautilus cases are way ahead of the older models the 3712 included. Thinking otherwise would just make no sense to me. Please take these remarks only as superficial assessments.

So what will happen now? How much will the price of the 3712 keep rising? Will it reach a maximum soon? Don't know. What I know is that the 3712 is on its way of becoming to Patek what the Daytona "Paul Newman" is to Rolex. Prices will keep rising, because the moment Patek collectors put their hands on the 3712 for their collection it will hardly go anywhere anymore. The 3712 will become harder and harder to come by over the years. Darn!

The market has spoken.

AP buys part of RM?

One of the biggest pending issues for RM customers was the longevity of the brand over an extended period of time. Many people where a bit "twitchy" to spend 30k on a relatively new brand. The concern was that if RM would eventually disappear there would be nobody to service your RM properly. Now, this concern is less than before. Rumor has it that AP has recently purchased a chunk of RM. Depending on the size of the purchase, this not only would ensure the longevity but give RM access to AP's distribution network overnight. Especially interesting are markets where RM was not present, and had no plans to be there anytime soon. What is uncertain is what will happen to the existing importers. I guest that for AP to get them out of the picture they would need a bigger chunk of RM, pry them out of their cold dead hands or come to a sizable monetary agreement with them. Unless AP would buy 51% of RM this would, of course, be impossible.

I am not certain that this is good news for everybody. What I am sure that this is not bad news either. I guess that having a strong partner sets many minds at easy in the RM camp and AP insures a source of imagination that has been very successful in recent years. I am still "digesting" the news so I don't have an opinion yet. To be honest, the size of the share acquired by AP will determine their strength in RM. Anything around or up to 10% will be merely anecdotal.

More details to come soon...


Back in 1972 many laughed in disbelieve as AP presented their idea of what a new sports watch should be. Gerald Genta's creation was to most critics weird, awkward, way too expensive, way too large, had too many edges, etc... Look at the Oak today. I must admit that while I fall in and out of love with many watches all the time, the Jumbo is something special.

If I were to give specific reasons as to why I revere the Jumbo so much... this would be the list:

- It opened an era. The sport watch "theme" had until then not been addressed by the high-end guys like Patek and Vacheron.
- It is by far the most versatile watch I own. It looks good with a tuxedo, a suit, a casual shirt, a polo shirt and a bathing suit.
- It's only understood by few. If you spot somebody else with a Jumbo you know he knows his watches.
- It's very comfortable and light. Because it is so thin, it is a joy to wear.
- It's inconspicuous. Unless spotted by a connoisseur it will attract very little attention.
- Its proportions are very well balanced. In fact they are so well conceived that they have remained unchanged in now 34 years.
- It's the only thing that I know (car, building, fashion, etc...) designed in the 70's that is beautiful and still made today. Apart from a sapphire back and a more evolved clasp it's the same watch.
- With the 2121 calibre in its guts you own a piece of horological history. Many consider the 2121 calibre the 12 cylinder engine of the industry.
- It DOES NOT have a seconds hand. It has thought, the most essential things on a watch; hours, minutes and the date.

Once its success started to be apparent many have asked Genta to design them an Oak as well. Genta's creations for Patek, Vacheron, IWC and Girard-Perregaux shared some success yet nothing close to the original Royal Oak. Patek's Nautilus could be a contender yet their production limitations don't really make them a threat. In order to really compete you must have items in stock and on display. Right now the Nautilus, especially the larger models, are in much larger demand than their actual production. You can't just go to your round-the-corner Patek dealer and buy one. The other three are just dragging their feet...

p.s. Some time ago AP made this skeletonized Jumbo and it has not really done a lot of "noise" since then. Weird, it is a beautiful piece of equipment. I had the chance to hold the nº1 and believe me, it's a beauty. It is a bit thiner than the Jumbo since it holds the 2120 calibre. The 2120 is the variant of the 2121 calibre but without the date. This makes the case about one millimeter thiner.

Audemars Piguet...