After the popularity of our article regarding the Salmon dial 5970, we thought we would show a little into how our index can help you make decisions on your next purchase or find out more about things you may not have known about your favorite watch.
First introduced in 2004 and produced until 2011, reference 5970 is quoted having the shortest production run of any other perpetual calendar chronograph of the entire Patek Philippe line (excluding the reference 5020). The first perpetual calendar chronograph was launched at Basel World during a troubled era, in 1941 and has evolved over the past 76 years into a 40mm wide and 13.5mm high sizable case.
This report will look briefly into the production numbers and different cases and focus on market trends and data. We will also showcase some rarities we found along the way.
Reference 5970 comes in four different metals: The first releases were in white gold and rose gold and in 2008 the yellow gold case was introduced and stayed in production for only one year. After that only the platinum case variation was produced and the total production stopped in 2011, when they introduced reference 5270.
The base caliber of the 5970 was manufactured by Lemania; a watch company that accomplished many pioneering developments to the chronograph movement. In fact, Lemania movements have been at the heart of many famous watches over the years, most notably the Omega Speedmaster that was chosen to fly to the moon.
Data analytics from The Collectors Index
To understand the Patek Philippe 5970 in more detail, it’s always good to find out what the market is like. For this we started The Collectors Index, running real time searchable analytics over an ever-growing number of auction houses (currently ~1800) so that we can discover the little details, variations and market trends. Below we’ve tried to showcase a little of how much you can discover about watches we thought we knew everything about, using our database.
The table below shows the sold and unsold auction results, helping understand desirability and popularity of watches, but also correct pricing. We have converted all the auction results from to GBP using the average daily spot rate of the date of the sale. Each hammer price is the final price including the auction house premium. This way, you know factually what price was paid on the day and what incremental differences have occurred over the years. (inflation rate has not been accounted for).
The charts above shows the average price trend-line with the total sales results in a bar chart underneath. The database noted different case materials used, which we have combined to show a general trend-line on how the entire reference performs on the international auction market. Later on, you can delve into the different materials and how they perform individually, by auction house performance, locations, production year and any special dial variations.
Our regular readers and followers know that we often talk of the “10-year dip” for Patek Philippe, based on the data for the entire product range where the first initial 10 years after release there is a consistent decline.
Our database shows that the very first Patek Philippe 5970 offered at auction was two years after its 2004 release date in 2006. In total: a rose- and two white gold variation selling for an average of £50,252, which would be a 44% loss against the average retail price. The chart below shows the first three years have followed the usual ‘10 year dip’, but quickly gained popularity.
This particular chart helps identify the relation between volume and average prices. Once the ref. 5970 was established as a lucrative sale at auction in 2010, it is clear that more and more collectors decided to part with their beloved watch to realize evident profits.
Auction house performances
Judging by the above pie charts, Christies is the clear king for selling £5,479,536 worth of the ref. 5970 with Sotheby’s coming in second place for selling £3,707,897 and Antiquorum selling £1,978,818. Lastly comes Phillips, who sold a total of £916,980.
When we combine this information with the volume of lots sold, the competition seems to level out a bit. Christies has sold 55, Sotheby’s 36, Antiquorum 25 and Phillips 9. Both Antiquorum and Philips are the only two each leaving 2 examples unsold.
Aside from the major watch auction houses we found a mix of smaller auctions having sold a combined 11 leaving 4 unsold in total.
Establishing which auction house has the highest turnaround in terms of volume and value we now want to focus on the top four and see who achieved the highest average hammer price. This would help indicate which is the better house to sell or buy from. This chart shows the general trend-line on who the leaders are for the Patek Philippe 5970 reference in general, not accounting for special dials or materials (see later on). Christies, Sotheby’s and Phillips are neck-on-neck in the lead, but Antiquorum offers an opportunity to acquire a Patek Philippe 5970 relatively cheaply compared to the overall average. To mention other auction houses, our data suggests that Artcurial, Boule, Bonhams, Cambi, Gros & Delettrez and Heritage offer a great opportunity to acquire one of the greatest modern Patek’s ever created for a reasonable price.
To present a global overview of this particular Patek Philippe we had a look at the key watch auction markets, in this case: Hong Kong, USA and Switzerland, with Hong Kong having the highest volume, but Great Britain the highest average price by a small margin.
Although a higher volume creates a more accurate average, the data suggests that the key markets with the highest returns are still Hong Kong, Switzerland and USA.
The chart below gives an analysis of the Patek Philippe 5970 by case materials. As mentioned before, the watch was made in four different case materials: Yellow gold, rose gold, white gold and platinum.
Between 2004-2008 only white- and rose gold cases were made and the rarest is the yellow gold case, which was produced in 2008 only. From 2008 – 2011, the platinum case was the only version available in stores. It is quite unusual for a yellow gold modern Patek to be the rarest model, as usually platinum is the rarest case material.
Furthering this, it is interesting to note that the rarest model (yellow gold) is not the always the most valuable model. As the watch is still fairly new, people can get good prices from the dealer market, in this case the platinum case version, but it is not unthinkable this will shift over the next 10 years again, where it will become even more difficult to find a yellow gold case in a good condition and it will take the lead in terms of value. This trend is more evident when we look at the production date of this particular watch.
The release date and the last three years of production are the most valuable release years at the moment. Reasoning for why 2011 production is twice the average price, is due to two special dial variations for this reference:
As more results of 2011 production years appear, helping to make a more accurate analysis, we can look at the average price trend-line and see a steady increase in price, which makes it a reasonable assumption that 2011 could be the most valuable production year in 2017.
To conclude this report, we wanted to showcase the rarest of this reference that have been auctioned to date and have identified four special variations in the standard production line of the Patek Philippe ref. 5970:
1. Antiquorum, Geneva 2009 sold for: £95,317
An excellent purchase as it features a Tiffany co-signed dial.
2. Christies, New York 2013 sold for: £217,168
This particular watch is the only known yellow gold Patek Philippe 5970 with a gold tone dial. Accompanied by the Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin.
3. Christies, Hong Kong 2014 sold for: £243,923.1. Christies, Hong Kong 2014 sold for: £243,923.
A very rare salmon dial. This watch should not be mistaken by the special edition that was made during the Patek exhibition in London. You can compare the differences in our previous article.
4. Sotheby’s, Geneva 2015 sold for: £281,4011. Sotheby’s, Geneva 2015 sold for: £281,401
The reason why it went ca. £130,000 above the high estimate was that this watch has Breguet numerals instead of the usual butons. Aside from which it was owned by one of the largest Patek Philippe collectors and musician on the side, Eric Clapton.