Patek Philippe chose to launch Watches and Wonders Geneva 2021 by honouring its legendary Nautilus collection with four new models – two 5711 models with green dials, a 5990 Travel Time Chronograph in rose gold and blue, and for the ladies, a 71181 Haute Joaillerie model with random pavé setting.
The Nautilus 5711/1A – stainless steel with dark blue dial – has become the most sought after watch in the past twelve months. With a waiting list that’s rumoured to be ten years, the watch’s asking price in the secondary market had been on a sharp rise. Then Patek Philippe confirmed (on January 25) that 2021 will be the last production year of the 5711/1A. The demand for this timepiece has grown exponentially since the announcement. One of the primary reasons stated by experts for 5711/1A’s high demand (and the Nautilus collection in general) is its computability with the growing trend against formal wear among the post-millennium generations.
Launched in 1976, the original Nautilus 3700 was one of the models spearheading the Swiss watch industry’s counter-attack during the Quartz Crises. Legendary watch designer Gerald Genta, who sketched it outlines on a restaurant napkin in five minutes, was inspired by the porthole of a transatlantic liner, and named it after Captain Nemo’s submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
The Nautilus 3700 not only challenged convention with its octagonal bezel with rounded corners but also in the choice of stainless steel for its construction. The interplay of polished and satin-brushed finishing on the dial, and on the integrated steel bracelet with external links that gently taper, have contributed greatly to its casual elegance aesthetics. It is this aesthetic, replicated by its successor – the 5711/1A launched in 2006 – that appeals to a new generation of watch enthusiasts.
Given the current circumstances among young watch enthusiasts, the most sought after model among the four unveiled at W&W21 by Patek Philippe is sure to be the 5711/1A-014, given its close resemblance to the outgoing model and its exclusivity. For the first time on a Nautilus watch, Patek presents an olive green dial with the typical Nautilus horizontally embossed decor. This elegant dial is further emphasized with a gentle sunburst finish, which harmonizes with the light reflected from the steel case.
The hour markers and the slightly rounded baton hands in white gold are coated with a luminous compound. The luminescence not only assures legibility in dim light or at night, but also contrast beautifully against the green dial.
The bezel, the case, and the integrated bracelet offer a subtle interplay between the satin-brushed and polished finishing on the steel. The manual work for every watch, we are informed, involves 55 individual finishing steps.
The case, water-resistant to 120 meters, protects the self-winding 26-330 S C movement, which has been powering the 5711 models since 2019. This new movement is a spin-off of the 324 S C and offers several innovations and technical optimizations, especially of the winding system. It also features a stop-seconds mechanism that allows the watch to be set with one-second accuracy. A sapphire-crystal case back reveals the movement’s refined architecture and Patek Philippe’s signature immaculate finissage.
This 5711 variant is a step up in terms of price and exclusivity from the 5711/1A-014. On this watch, Patek Philippe introduces an unusual combination of cool steel with baguette-cut diamonds, an embellishment that is usually found on precious metal. In this example, the case has a row of 32 flawless Top Wesselton baguette diamonds, at around 3.6 ct. Each baguette diamond has a slightly trapezoidal shape instead of the classic rectangle. This is a highly refined detail because it perfectly matches the octagonal bezel with the rounded corners. All other aspects of the watch’s construction, from its olive green dial to the 26-330 S C calibre and its case back, are identical to the 5711/1A-014.
Nautilus 5990/1R-001 Travel Time Chronograph
The 5990/1 range, which made its debut in 2014 in a stainless steel and black dial combination, features three complications: a flyback chronograph, a “Travel Time” function that clocks two time zones, and an analogue date at 12 o’clock synchronized with the local time. Patek Philippe now offers this model in a new rose-gold version that contrasts beautifully with the horizontally embossed blue sunburst dial, like on the original Nautilus. The hour markers and hands are also in matching rose gold but with an additional layer of luminous coatings.
This watch is powered by the self-winding chronograph calibre CH 28-520 C FUS. It melds the classic column-wheel control with an innovative disk clutch. The sweep chronograph hand is complemented with a 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock. The flyback function enables the instant start of a new short-time measurement while the chronograph is already running. This is done by pressing the pusher at 4 o’clock without first stopping the hand with the pusher at 2 o’clock.
The Travel Time system relies on two central hour hands. The pierced hand indicates the hours of home time, while the hours of local time are shown by the solid hand. Users can select a second time zone with their watch by using the “+” and “-” pushers in the case flank at 9 o’clock to move the local-time hand forward or backward in one-hour steps. During the process, the pierced hand continues to show the hour that applies to home time. This ingenious mechanism is paired with two day/night indicators that are clearly identified with ‘Local’ and ‘Home’ inscriptions. If the user does not want to know the time in another time zone, the two hour-hands can be superposed as if they were a single hand.
Like the case and the bezel, the rose-gold bracelet stands out with alternating polished and satin-brushed finishing. The watch features a patented Patek Philippe fold-over clasp that is secured with four independent catches.
Nautilus 7118/1450R-001 Haute Joaillerie
The ladies’ Nautilus models have, in the past, come in various haute joaillerie versions set with brilliant-cut diamonds or baguette diamonds. From 2013 to 2018, Patek Philippe offered a rose-gold model (Ref. 7021/1R-001), which, including the dial, was adorned with diamonds in a random pavé setting, or snow-setting. With the new Haute Joaillerie model, Patek Philippe revisits this chapter by offering a Nautilus in rose gold with a diamond snow-setting on the case, the bezel, and the bracelet. The exclusive dial features individual rows of diamonds that exhibit a fine undulated relief, a typical facet of the Nautilus ladies’ collection.
The case on this Nautilus model is slightly larger – with a diameter of 35.2 mm (measured diagonally between 10 and 4 o’clock) – than the 7021 model at 33.6 mm. The new Nautilus 7118 sparkles with 2,553 flawless Top Wesselton brilliant-cut diamonds (about 12.69 ct). This gleaming look is created with the very rare snow-setting technique. This highly sophisticated method consists of setting and fixation of diamonds of different sizes to minimize the exposure of precious metal between the individual stones. It is self-evident that each watch with a full random pavé setting is a one-of-a-kind piece.
For better legibility, the dial features “Alpha” hour and minute hands, and the Arabic numerals, all in luminous rose gold. The 18K rose-gold bracelet, which combines elegance with a comfortable fit, also features the patented Patek Philippe fold-over clasp. The rose-gold case accommodates a self-winding calibre 324 S movement with extremely elaborate finissage that can be admired through the sapphire-crystal case back.