When a new product becomes a commodity — that trades way above retail — that’s the ultimate euphoria for a marketer, right?

Yes, it is, until you get to the point that protecting the resale value, means creating products that consumers didn’t ask for, don’t need, are not innovative, and critically, that they want purely as an appreciable store of value.

In my opinion, the Nautilus 5811 is the pinnacle of this. So if that was the goal of the brand that created this new iteration of Gerald Genta’s second-best icons, then the Genevan company has achieved its goal.

The problem is that the iconic Nautilus 5711, that’s most revered, comes in stainless steel. That’s what consumers want. Surely there’s an elite class of collectors that can afford gold and platinum watches, from any number of luxury watchmakers. But the 5711 is far more appealing, in stainless steel form.

With a competing icon, the Royal Oak, the company that makes that has taken a similar limited stock sales approach to increase the scarcity and the price, with a crucial difference being that it’s offered in numerous stainless steel iterations, including watch, that’s most comparable to a 5811, the new Royal Oak 16202. They made what their consumers want — including developing a sick new movement — clearly not paying attention only to appreciation values. And that, in my opinion, is precisely why one leading watchmaker unseated the other, according to the latest Morgan Stanley report, and presumably will continue to do so going forward as well.

What’s worse, being known predominantly for one watch design and then dedicating maximum resources to producing that watch because consumers demand it, or producing only the watches that you want customers to buy, without honoring precisely what we all know they actually want?


Photo by Patek Philippe.

Posted by:Jason Pitsch

Jason is the founder of Professional Watches and specializes in writing, editing, product photography, video production, marketing, and website management.