In what seems to have been a blink of an eye, the year is almost up. Lot’s of things happening, from kicking off the year at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève to partying at Baselworld, the world of watches it seems is on a rapid expansion. But then things took a turn for the worst with Swatch Group (which is the umbrella organization owning the likes of Breguet, Blancpain, Omega and Tissot) announcing their departure from Baselworld 2019. But, we’ve had some ups, too. We got to see A. Lange & Söhne flex their horological muscles with the immense Triple Split. We saw a few record-setting concept pieces from the likes of Audemars Piguet and Piaget. And our hearts all broke for the stunning Rolex Everose 126715 CHNR.
But, we thought it appropriate to delve into some watches that were, to an extent, way over hyped. Virtually impossible to get at retails, these pieces are undeniably sound watches, but with all due respect to their subsequent and market-driven demand, are way too hot to even get near now. Luxury watchmaking and its inevitable demand-driving aside, here are our top ‘Ultimate Hypebeasts of 2018’, along with a couple of wildcards thrown in at the end (just for good measure).
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740/1G
Open up your Instagram feed, and after a few swipes you’re bound to come across one of what seems like millions of pictures of the infamous 5740. This watch is a big deal, no doubt about it. It’s the first Nautilus to feature a perpetual calendar, and in white gold this thing is seriously gorgeous. Retail pricing for the 5740/1G was 105,000CHF (or about $145,000AUD). A quick check on the secondary watch market and I was confronted with some absurd pricing. Prices for the 5740/1G exceeded the $300,000AUD mark, and with a wait-list that is just as eye-watering, I have no doubt that people will be paying these ridiculous pricing. An impressive watch. A wholly unjustified market price-tag.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A
Another day, another super sought-after Patek. This time we it’s the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A. Released at this year’s Baselworld, the 5968A was met with much acclaim, basically across the board. Fresh, cool and adventurous, the 5968A signals a new and youthful approach to watchmaking by one of horology’s most conservative manufacturers. When it was announced, the 5968A was priced at 38,600CHF (or about $55,000AUD). Not at all cheap, nor warranted for an Aquanaut, in my opinion. But half a year later prices are through the roof, with the 5968A fetching well over $100,000AUD on the secondary watch market. Outrageous, but people will and are continuing to front up with the money, so I don’t see this stopping any time soon. Until Patek release the next best thing.
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO
Not as stupidly priced as the 5740G or the 5968A, the GMT-Master II 126710BLRO was easily one of the most talked about and most pursued watch following Baselworld 2018. Originally priced at a very reasonable $11,750AUD (Yep – that’s Australian Dollars), the GMT-Master II 126710BLRO is basically untouchable right now. And not because of the price, either. Relatively speaking, the secondary market pricing of the GMT-Master II 126710BLRO is “only” about $25,000AUD. Just a little over double its original retail price. Not crazy. What is crazy is the insane wait-list for one. I’ve been told that the wait-list for the Jubilee through an authorised dealer is anywhere between 2 to 5 years. It pays to know people. Trust me.
Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR
The second Rolex on the list, and just about the most reasonable. The GMT-Master II 126711CHNR, or the Root Beer, was perhaps one of the most well-received pieces released at Baselworld altogether. It features a beautiful combination of Oystersteel and Everose gold, and originally the Root Beer was priced $17,800AUD. The price now? The highest I’ve seen was $30,000AUD, with the median sitting at around $25,000AUD. Not that bad, with all things considered. The wait-list, though? You don’t even want to know.
Omega Speedmaster ‘Speedy Tuesday’ 2 Ultraman
A bit of an oddball to the list, but it’s one I felt needed adding. If you want to talk about pure capitalisation, then here it is. Omega does a few things well. META-certified Master Chronometers. Affordable quality. Wearable timepieces. And market capitalisation. Enter the Ultraman, Omega’s 2018 hypebeast. Playing to the nostalgia of Ultraman that premiered way back in 1966, the Speedmaster ‘Speedy Tuesday’ 2 Ultraman was taken extremely well by the watch community at large. All in all, every single Ultraman piece made in its 2,012 was reserved in less than 2-hours. The original price was $7,100USD (or $8,720AUD). The price now? Peaking out at just under $15,000AUD. Worth the premium? Definitely not. Do yourself a favour and get an original Speedmaster. You’ll thank me when you’re still wearing it in 20 years’ time.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A
The first wildcard is the hugely popular and virtually unattainable Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A. Throwback to this time last year and the hype had just begun for the 5712/1A. Retail pricing was $33,500USD (or about $46,000AUD). Fast-forward to the end of 2018, and while retail pricing is unchanged (good luck at finding one readily available though), getting a 5712/1A on the secondary market means you’re going to be parting with anything between $70,000-$80,000AUD. Yep, you read the correctly. Stainless-steel Nautilus going for almost $80,000AUD. Not a limited-edition. Not double-signed. Despite its crazy price, the 5712/1A remains one of my all-time favourite watches. Give it a year or so and we’ll find the 5712/1A market settling down again. Mark my words.
Basically Any Stainless-Steel Rolex
We’re talking the Daytona. The Submariner. The Sea-Dweller. The Hulk. Damn it, even the Batman. If you bought any of these before prices soared, good on you. If you’re looking to get one, you can rest assured your money will be sitting on Rolex’s ice for a very long time. My suggestion: hold out. The market has nowhere to go but down at this point.