STEEL YOURSELF
World of Watches|Spring 2021
Unthinkable as it may be, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5711/1A is bowing out. Let the celebrations begin
SA DE SEQUEIRA

Sometimes a product can become bigger than the brand that created it, and that spells stormy weather ahead. Those of you above a certain age will recall the photocopier, and the phrase Xerox it. Well Xerox as a company is so successful at selling its famous product that people used the company name as a verb. This is an issue because the firm might lose intellectual property rights to the name Xerox if it enters the dictionary as a verb. Younger readers will by now be thinking of Google of course, but Alphabet too knows the story of the photocopier and has no excuses to be caught with its pants down in such a way.

No company in traditional watchmaking has this somewhat happy problem, but plenty have icons that define their brand in the 21st century. One such icon resulted in this story so yes, I am here to praise the Patek Philippe Ref. 5711/1A, and applaud the company for retiring it. I’m no watch nut, I confess, and that is one of the reasons I am penning this story. The editor wanted someone without vested interests or biases. The editor advised me that I should declare that I also am not interested in the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711, nor do I own any version of it. The recent news about its coming withdrawal from the brand’s catalogue has caused waves of consternation that will likely roil the depths of certain watch collecting pools for years to come. However, the broader sea of watch lovers is likely unperturbed. I am here to offer a very particular perspective on the possible whys.

I am probably only interested in vintage watches, and from only a few brands, and almost never luxury sports watches. On the advice of some collector friends, I feel like I should also say that I am no writer. This editorial comes to you thanks to the editor, who put my thoughts to paper. Should this missive annoy you, the points are mine but the words belong to the editor. I have of course read and approved the version you are reading.

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