Patek Philippe Is Not Happy Sylvester Stallone Flipped That $5.4 Million Grand Master Chime

Sylvester Stallone flipped his sealed Patek Philippe Grand Master Chime at Sotheby’s for $5.4 million, and Patek Philippe’s president isn’t happy about it.

It’s well understood that if a brand like Rolex or Patek Philippe learns you’ve sold a hot watch you bought at retail, then you’re most likely not going to get an opportunity to buy from that brand again. Savvy flippers try to hide their taboo behavior, but Sylvester Stallone flipped his Grand Master Chime in one of the best publicized auctions of the spring season—literally making headlines.

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WatchPro speculates that the sale could have earned the actor as much as $2 million, this after just a few years of ownership. However, among serious watch collectors the gripe isn’t so much about the money earned as granting rare access to those who don’t experience the watch as connoisseurs. With 20 complications and requiring a reported 100,000 hours of work to create, a Grand Master Chime is very rarely sold. As Patek’s President, Thierry Stern, told WatchPro recently regarding Stallone’s sale, “It’s not fair for a client that may have been waiting for the piece for many years and then sees it being sold.”

Sylvester Stallone Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime (Ref. 6300G-010)
Sylvester Stallone Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime (Ref. 6300G-010)

Stallone’s choice to keep the watch in its packaging can be seen as classic flipper behavior. Most flippers keep the watches in their original packaging, never wear them, and effectively sell these hard-to-get watches as new. Patek Philippe watches ship to dealers in a sealed plastic pouch, and examples still in that sealed pouch typically sell for more than those without it. Stallone never broke the seal on his Grand Master Chime. As an experienced collector, he certainly understood the value of an unbroken pouch.

Sylvester Stallone Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime (Ref. 6300G-010)
Stallone’s Ref. 6300 is housed in the original plastic seal.

We visited with Stallone’s watch at Sotheby’s ahead of the sale, and it was nearly impossible to appreciate the Grand Master Chime through the plastic packaging—let alone to see and hear it perform its special magic. It seemed as if the packaging was the bigger story about this timepiece, which became the most expensive modern watch ever sold at Sotheby’s after a heated and extended bidding war.

Patek’s president, Thierry Stern, went on to explain to WatchPro that, “I do get emails complaining that I have sold a watch to this person or that person, who is then selling it.” According to WatchPro, “Patek Philippe’s retail partners have also come under fire for the suspicion that Hollywood celebrities receive preferential access to the hottest watches.”

Stern wasn’t definitive about whether Stallone was cut off from retail purchases or not, but it seems Rocky may have dealt himself a hard blow in the fight for hot Pateks.

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