A Retailer’s Most Requested Watches & Wonders Novelty? You’d Be Surprised

A Rolex Retailer’s Most Requested Watches & Wonders Novelty? You’d Be Surprised

At 6 am EDT this morning, the phones started ringing off the hook.

By Josh Shanks

For retailers, new watch release days are always a tricky road to navigate. That task is made even more complex when waitlists aren't chronological and when retailers have the added charge of vetting their clientele to make sure they're not selling to a grey market or gentlemen dealers.

Watches & Wonders 2021 was no exception to the rule. Starting at 1 am EDT (7:00 CET) this morning, retailer's phones, mobile devices, social media, and WhatsApps were blowing up with requests for the latest novelties.

Add Me to the List!

For the retailers I spoke with, starting early this morning, the requests started pouring in for the newly updated Patek Philippe 5711 with an olive-green dial. And while this is entirely expected, given the discontinuation of the iconic blue-dialed 5711, it is sort of a moot point given the Genta-designed timepiece's extremely limited availability.

And though many think waitlists are chronological, given the nature of today's market, this is no longer possible. Today, retailers are required to allocate their limited supply of timepieces to only their best customers and those they can trust to not re-sell or flip the watches for a profit.

An Out of This World Request

Although much of today’s news cycle has focused on the new Patek Philippe 5711 and Rolex Explorer releases, there were a few sleepers that have caught the attention of collectors.

Notably, the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona with a meteorite dial (ref. 116519LN) seems to be a popular release. This updated Daytona comes fitted to the brand's proprietary Oysterflex bracelet and is encased in an 18-carat white gold case. The watch is powered by Rolex’s 4130 chronograph calibre.

As one retailer told me, this $34,050 watch is now his most requested timepiece of Watches & Wonders 2021. That is surprising given the Explorer and Nautilus updates. But perhaps it shouldn’t be, given that the limited availability of stainless steel pieces in the marketplace has discouraged customers from requesting them.

What’s Next?

The market’s penchant for blue-dialed stainless steel watches has never been hotter. And while Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe have taken the liberty of discontinuing the Royal Oak Jumbo 15202 and Nautilus 5711, respectively, other brands such as IWC, Vacheron Constantin, Chopard, Tissot, and Girard-Perregaux have capitalized on these discontinuations by doubling down on their own models.

This strategy seems to be working as these brands have all seen an uptick in interest since the Nautilus and Royal Oak references’ discontinuation. Perhaps Patek Philippe, for its part, was merely looking after the watch market for the next generation. Because after all, you never actually own a Patek Philippe…

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