Putin's Patek?
Putin’s Patek?

Vladimir Putin is a man who is well known to most people, and he’s certainly been in the news a lot in recent years.  What’s unusual, however, is to see him in the news in matters related to watches.

It turns out that Russia’s leader is actually a collector of fine watches and he reportedly has a collection of both size and repute.  We didn’t know this, but then again, most people who collect world-class examples of rare watches rarely make themselves known.  In fact, more often than not, when a super-rare watch comes up for auction, both the seller and the eventual buyer are usually reported to be “anonymous.”

This week, however, a site called Antiquorum has reportedly listed for an upcoming auction a watch whose owner is reportedly Vladimir Putin himself.  That might seem to be a fraud, but the watch is a rare Patek Philippe, and the company usually insists on recording the name of the buyer for their more unusual timepieces.

Furthermore, the timepiece in question is an unusually rare model, the reference 5208P grand  complication.  These watches aren’t sold to just anyone, and you likely have to be famous (or suitably wealthy) to the extent of a Vladimir Putin to even be permitted to buy one in the first place.

It’s a lovely watch that cost roughly $1 million new, and it features:

  • A platinum case measuring 42mm
  • Black leather alligator strap
  • Self-winding automatic model
  • Minute repeater
  • Mono-pusher chronograph
  • Minute repeater with two gongs
  • Chronograph has 60 minute and 12 hour counters
  • Moon phases
  • Instantaneous perpetual calendar with day, date, month, leap year and day/night indicator

This is a nice watch, and as we pointed out, it sells for roughly $1 million when new.  Obviously, it’s a used example of a watch that is currently available if you have the money and are well-known enough to have the company sell one to you.  On the other hand, the current owner is a well known celebrity (or despot, depending on your point of view) and that alone could dramatically affect the sales price when the watch is sold in July.

Part of the question for all potential bidders is this one – Is this actually Putin’s watch?  At the moment, there is not a lot of indication on the auction company’s site about this, but perhaps at some point in the future they will offer something in the way of provenance to indicate whether this watch belongs to the Vladimir Putin, someone else by that name, or someone who simply used that name to register the watch when they initially purchased it.

Watches that belong to famous people have often sold for tremendous amounts of money, so it’s likely that a lot of eyes will be on this one.

Regardless of ownership or provenance, this Patek Philippe is a beautiful watch with an incredible number of complications and not one that is often seen for sale anywhere.   One can rest assured that there will be plenty of bidding and the off-chance that it might be previously owned by the Russian leader will certainly keep both interest and bids high.