Last Week (in Watches) Today: 7 things you should know

 

A quieter week for watch releases though the watch industry still witnessed waves made, with Patek Philippe’s green Nautilus selling for 14 times its retail price. We also have Grand Seiko offering a trade-in program, Omega opening an Olympic theme boutique, interesting trends in engagement watches, Swatch Group rejoining a trade fair, and releases from G-Shock and Panerai. These are the top 7 things from the world of watches, let’s get into it.

Green Nautilus sells for 14 times retail price

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It appears the flipping issue in luxury steel sports watches is at an all-time high. The latest Patek Philippe Nautilus with an olive green dial (ref 5711/1A) was sold this week at Antiquorum’s auction in Monaco for US$490,000, fourteen times its retail price. What is especially noteworthy is the fact that the piece that was sold came with its factory seals intact, something that the brand requires authorised dealers (ADs) to remove upon making a sale. Patek Philippe has increased pressure on ADs over the years to prevent selling its watches to flippers and has even terminated ADs distribution rights if they’ve been found to flout its wishes. This latest record sale would definitely be in violation of the brand’s directives. Then again, if Watch Collecting Lifestyle is to be believed, that may not actually matter at all if the AD has already closed down. My personal take? There’s a world of far more interesting watches out there that you can actually buy. Go for those.

Grand Seiko partners with Crown & Caliber to offer trade-in deal

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The past year has seen brands take a greater interest in the second-hand luxury watch market and offer initiatives like trade-ins and authenticating services. Grand Seiko is the latest brand to join this movement. The brand announced a partnership with Crown & Caliber to offer a trade-in program for used Grand Seiko watches. Briefly summarised, interested clients could offer their Grand Seiko watches to Crown & Caliber in part exchange for the purchase of any new Grand Seiko piece. While I personally believe you would always be able to get better value for your watch by selling it directly to interested buyers, this trade-in program offers the convenience of a back-to-back transaction with a dealer that is trustworthy, thus taking all the risk out of the equation. That is something that everyone has to put their own price on. It is interesting that this arrangement comes just a couple of months after Hodinkee’s purchase of Crown & Caliber and the former’s relationship with Grand Seiko might have something to do with pushing this partnership through.

Omega’s Olympic Venue in Miami

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Omega’s partnership with the Olympics has seen difficult times with the event having been postponed a whole year, which tends to mess with a planned release schedule. However, that has not deterred the luxury watch brand from its Olympic-linked watch releases and marketing. Omega has this week transformed its Miami Design District boutique into an Olympic-themed two-storey venue. The boutique will serve to immerse visitors into the brand’s history with the Olympics with a series of pop-ups and displays. The experiential setup will include an underwater view of a swimming race, along with interesting pieces from Omega’s participation in the Olympics like the first starting pistols used by Omega in the Olympics. For those interested and able to visit, the exhibition will last till 29 August 2021.

Interest in engagement watches rise 41%

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While this may not be of interest to many, it is me having just gotten engaged at the end of last year. Lyst, a global shopping platform, revealed this week in its Wedding 2021 Report that searches for “couple watches”, “engagement watches” and “wedding watches” have risen by 42%. According to a content analyst at Lyst, it appears that more couples are opting for watches in place of the more traditional engagement ring. I for one cannot think of a more meaningful symbol than a pair of watches to mark the start of the rest of your life together, and fully approve of this shift in mindset. Then again, I have a lovely pair of yellow gold Cartier Tanks waiting for my wedding to be worn, so I could be just a tad biased.

Swatch Group joins Couture 2021

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In a further sign of encouragement amidst the pandemic, Swatch Group has confirmed that it would be participating physically in Couture 2021, in Las Vegas. The luxury watch group has announced that executives from Longines, Tissot, Hamilton, and Rado would be physically present at the Swatch Group Villa in Couture 2021. It is an encouraging sign because this will be the first physical event that the group has participated in since 2019. It is also noteworthy that the group is joining a separately organised event, having previously opted to hold its own event after withdrawing from Baselworld in 2018. It will be interesting to see if the group reverts to that in the years ahead or seeks out other trade shows to participate in. For those interested, Couture 2021 is scheduled to be held from 21 August 2021 to 24 August 2021 at Wynn Las Vegas.

Metal Casioaks, the logical next step

It has been rumoured for a while now, that Casio would release metal case versions of its hit GA-2100 series, which has been dubbed as the “Casioak” for its octagonal similarity to the Royal Oak. Well the brand has now officially confirmed the releases of its GM-2100 line-up in the original larger size. The series will comprise metal case-dial combinations in silver-black, blue grey-blue, dark grey-red, and dark grey-green. While the brand has not yet officially announced the metal case versions of the smaller counterparts, it has also been rumoured that there will be several GMA-2100 releases in August 2021. Personally, this is the next logical step for G-Shock given the tremendous response to its initial launch of the Casioaks back in 2019. After all, the mod kits with both metal bezels and bracelets have been making the rounds since their initial release. It would be really exciting if Casio decided to also eventually add metal bracelet options for this series to really complete the “Casioak” look.

Panerai Radiomir 1936 Eilean

Though Panerai may not always have the best reputation it is a brand with a ton of history. This week, it released a watch that embraces that history of ties with the military and the larger marine industry. The Radiomir was first released in 1936, and it brought with it unparalleled legibility with its then radium-based lumed that made diving and sailing far safer. Coincidentally,  in the same year, a 70-foot ketch was built by two Scottish steel merchants and set sail for many years until it collided with a ferry and sank until it was found and restored by Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati. Thus began the relationship between the Eilean and Panerai. The Radiomir 1936 Eilean features a beautiful teak pattern dial, fashioned after the famed teak deck of the Eilean. The case is also cast in patinated steel (not sure how true that is based on pictures) to complement the vintage style gold hands and indices. The strap also features threading that is inspired by the sails of the Eilean. Overall, it is an interesting release limited released (449 pieces) from the brand with all the DNA of Panerai but with elements that elevate the watch beyond the regular fare from the brand.

So that is it for this week. As always, get in on all the action on the Scottish Watches website, YouTube Channels (Scottish Watches, Scottish Watches Live as well as Watches Unboxed), and of course, the podcasts on your podcaster of choice. Till next time, take care everyone.