Why This Patek Philippe Watch Is Worth $90k
At first glance, the Patek Philippe 5100P Gondolo might not look like what you’d expect a $90,000 watch to look like. It’s not heavy and oversized. It’s not encrusted with diamonds. Instead of flashy and overly complicated, it’s sleek, understated and seemingly simple. This sort of quiet luxury is part of its appeal, but for some watch novices, the high price tag attached to it is downright baffling. “Why spend $90,000 on a watch when you can buy a new Tesla?” one might ask, or “Doesn’t a $50 Swatch do the same thing?” But the truth is, a Tesla will lose its value as soon as it’s driven off the lot, the craftsmanship of a plastic watch just can’t compare, and neither item comes close to lasting as long a luxury timepiece.
But even when it comes to designer watches there are many available for a lot less, which had us wondering, “why is this watch worth $90k?” To help solve the mystery, we asked our Jewelry & Watch Manager Nathan Hall to take us through all the specs that add to its value.
“In the watch collecting community, platinum is more sought after than other metals. If a model is made in multiple metal options, generally the fewest number is made in platinum. These watches retain their value better and often achieve a higher result at auction.” While platinum is less scratch-resistant than white gold, it’s less malleable and holds its shape better when used to make jewelry and watches. “It’s more difficult to work with than other metals, so it’s more labor intensive to craft a watch out of platinum than it is gold, which is often reflected in the price, ” says Hall.
It has a 10-day power reserve.
“A typical manual watch has a power reserve of 40 to 72 hours, which means the timepiece will run for up to one to three days without needing to be rewound,” explains Hall. “The 5100P Gondolo can last up to 240 hours, and it’s the first watch ever to be equipped with such a powerful reserve.” And though the long-lasting reserve is an impressive feat of innovation, the truly extraordinary thing about this invention is that such a high amount of power could be contained within the same size and scale of a watch with one-sixth its capability. “They’re using the same technology in the same size, but transferring energy consistently and evenly with more potential energy,” says Hall. “The energy is stored in the mainspring. It’s wound super tightly and wants to get rid of all that energy at once, but the fact that the watch is able to harness its energy and regulate it out over 240 hours in an accurate way is very impressive.”
Patek Philippe crafts commemorative watches to celebrate significant historical events and its own milestones. The 5100 is a limited edition series designed to celebrate the new millennium in the year 2000. 1,500 were made in 18K yellow gold, 750 in 18k rose gold, 450 in 18k white gold and just 300 were made in platinum. “Within the watch world, limited edition pieces tend to collect more at auction than non-limited pieces, and the Gondolo is no different,” says Hall. “Particular watches that set a new direction in innovation are always going to be more coveted. For this watch in particular, desirability lies not just in the fact that it’s part of a limited edition, but that it’s the first example of an achievement in technology. There may be advances on this model or even the power reserve, but the 5100 is considered the benchmark of those future interpretations and is more widely recognized as a result.”
It’s Patek Philippe.
In the horological world, the name Patek Philippe signifies prestige. As the last family-owned Geneva watchmaker, the company owns the entire production process. Its artisans meticulously hand-polish each movement and it can take anywhere from nine months to two years to craft just one piece. The brand is known for being a top industry innovator, pioneering grand complications like the perpetual calendar and the sky chart, which command high prices at retail and in the secondary market. “Historically speaking, Patek Philippe watches achieve the highest results at auction of any other brand,” says Hall.
The brand currently holds world records for the most expensive pocket watch and wristwatch, which sold at $24 million and $11 million, respectively. The watches make excellent investments, with many vintage Patek Philippe watches increasing in value, fetching auction prices as high as 66x the original retail price, while even new models have commanded incredible resale values mere months after their release. “The 5100P, in particular, has achieved auction results as high as $100,000+,” says Hall. “There are currently just two other 5100Ps available in the secondary market — one in Italy listed at $106,000 and one in the U.S listed at $128,000.” The RealReal’s 5100P Gondolo is now available for $89,500 — basically a bargain, if you ask us.
Ready to invest? Shop the 5100P Gondolo & more coveted Patek Philippe watches here.