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"Virgil," the custom Patek Philippe Nautilus decked in emeralds by Virgil Abloh
Showing off is a given in showbiz, particularly in hip-hop. If anything, you could say it’s almost a must: you have to show off to be validated. Whatever the reason, few others do it as stupendously as Drake.

Drake’s One-of-Two Patek Philippe Nautilus “Virgil” Is for the Blasphemous Rebel

"Virgil," the custom Patek Philippe Nautilus decked in emeralds by Virgil AblohCustom Patek Philippe by MAD Paris, with diamond-like carbon coating"Virgil," the custom Patek Philippe Nautilus decked in emeralds by Virgil Abloh"Virgil," the custom Patek Philippe Nautilus decked in emeralds by Virgil Abloh
The Canadian-born rapper is one of the industry’s biggest players right now. His music videos always go viral, his albums always conquer charts and linger there for weeks, and his choices in terms of real estate, cars, and other luxury items always make headlines. Drake is now at that level of fame and exposure where he can drop a random quote on social media, and it would still go viral.

That said, Drake’s earthly possessions get similar amounts of attention. His car collection is worth dozens of millions and is only surpassed by his ability to live out his dreams by driving even those cars he can’t own. Like the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet concept. His palatial home or, better said, his palace in Toronto is an architectural wonder that redefines opulence (and defies any notion of good taste, according to some). His watch collection rivals similar collections from other big names, like Floyd Mayweather or 50 Cent.

"Virgil," the custom Patek Philippe Nautilus decked in emeralds by Virgil Abloh
By the way, Drake added a very special piece about a year ago to his watch collection: a one-of-two Patek Philippe Nautilus by Virgil Abloh. Virgil Abloh is the menswear designer at Louis Vuitton, and he is also the only other person in the world to own such a watch. Its existence and construction are still largely shrouded in mystery, but it is known it was a collaboration with MAD Paris, a known Patek Philippe customizer.

This watch is also blasphemy, one that only a rebel would dare wear.

For starters, Drake loves this piece. He calls it “Virgil,” after the man who created it, and he’s already shown it off in his music videos, including in the most recent one for “What’s Next.” It peaks from under his Louis Vuitton fur coat, another Abloh creation, several times during the subway scene, starting at the 1.25-minute mark in the video below.

“Yeah, I got one, Virgil got one and that there is the only two,” Drake raps right at the beginning of the song. Yeah, he loves his watch, and he takes great pride in its rarity.

As would anyone else. This “Virgil” is blasphemous alright, but it’s also a watchmaking wonder. It’s based on the Nautilus Ref. 5726, designed by Gérald Genta and introduced in 1976 with an annual calendar. The original sells in stainless steel, but you see none of that on this interpretation, as it’s been taken apart, coated in diamond-like carbon, assembled again, and then had every surface covered in emeralds.

"Virgil," the custom Patek Philippe Nautilus decked in emeralds by Virgil Abloh
The trouble starts with getting one's hands on a Nautilus, MAD Paris founder Pierre Lheureux told GQ a while back. Though one such piece retails for “just” $50,000, it is incredibly rare to find, which means that, if you can find one on the aftermarket, it’s usually for thrice that amount.

Once the Nautilus was acquired, it was disassembled and put into a special chamber for ionic pulverization, which sees every surface and piece stripped of color and covered in diamond-like carbon. MAD Paris makes a lot of these all-black Patek Phillipes and, to signal the custom work, puts inverted commas on the Patek name on the dial.

“Virgil” does away with the Patek Philippe logo altogether, which is why it’s labeled a blasphemy. After the ionic pulverization, polishing, sandblasting, and coating, it was put back together by hand. Every bit of it was covered in baguette-cut emeralds—hundreds of them. They’re everywhere from the dial to the bezel and the integrated bracelet, and MAD Paris is keeping a lid on how many were used or what their estimated value might be.

"Virgil," the custom Patek Philippe Nautilus decked in emeralds by Virgil Abloh
Still, this is Drake we’re talking about. He paid over $660,000 on the Jacob & Co. Astronomia Casino Tourbillon, which, sure, is a limited edition, but you still get more than two examples of it (88, to be more precise). “Virgil” may start at $50,000, but if you add the MAD Paris customization work, the Virgil Abloh fee, and the fact that only two of these exist, its value easily goes up to seven figures.





 
 
 
 
 

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