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.


Velociphile said...


Speedmaster said...

That was a great post, thanks!