After a 15-year production run, which saw the ref. 5711 reach maniac heights of desirability, Patek Philippe announced its decision to retire the reference completely last year– both steel and its last-standing rose gold counterpart. The news sent prices skyrocketing on the secondary market while stirring up all manner of discourse on its replacement. And now the curtains have raised on its successor – the ref. 5811G. It features a sunburst blue dial, albeit encased in white gold, which is logical as the ref. 5711G was only ever offered on a leather strap with a slate grey dial.
The upgrades are incredibly subtle but meaningful. The new reference sees a slight gain in width from the 5711/1, measuring 41mm from 10 to four o’clock versus 40mm. Most notably, the case reverts to the two-part construction employed in the original ref. 3700 “Jumbo” with a sapphire case back integrated in the case middle. However, there is typically a downside to a monobloc construction that is largely unfelt by the wearer, which is the need for a split stem as the movement is removed from the dial side.
While a split stem has its benefits of negating the need to access the setting lever from the case back in order to remove the winding stem, it is rather fiddly for watchmakers to handle during after-sales servicing. When the movement is removed from the case, the plug end (attached to the movement) and socket end (attached to the crown) easily come apart without the length of the crown tube supporting their orientation. To address this, Patek Philippe has designed a new pull-out piece lever system that allows the winding stem to be removed from the dial side, eliminating the need for a split stem.
The white-gold indices and hands are filled with white luminescent coating while the date disc uses the same typeface as the that used for the 40th anniversary model in platinum.
The white gold bracelet is equipped with a patented fold-over clasp, which first made its debut in the Perpetual Calendar ref. 5740. It is secured by four independent catches and is released by depressing two push buttons at the side of the joint which will retract the four bolts. Additionally, it has been fitted with a lockable comfort adjustment system – depressing a tiny pusher on each end while sliding it extends the bracelet by 2mm on either side when needed.
Inside the watch is the self-winding 26-330 SC, which powered the ref. 5711 from 2019 onwards, succeeding the cal. 324 SC in the lineage. It features a hacking seconds function and most notably, a nickel-phosphorous third wheel with a reactive tooth profile made using LIGA (the German acronym for Lithographie, Galvanoformung, Abformung), an additive micro-electro-mechanical technique that allows for extremely precise fabrication of metal parts. As with all In-house central seconds calibers in the lineage after the Jaeger-LeCoultre 920 in the ref. 3700, it is the third wheel that drives the pinion for the center seconds. As the pinion is outside the power flow of the gear train, there is a tendency for the seconds hand to flutter. The new sprung teeth address the issue of backlash by enabling fuller penetration of teeth as they mesh, eliminating play.
Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5811/1G
Movement: Caliber 26-330 S C, automatic, power reserve min. 35 hours – max 45 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: White gold, 41 x 8.2mm, water-resistant to 120M
Strap: White gold, patented fold-over clasp with lockable adjustment system
The Nautilus Travel-Time Chronograph Ref. 5990/1A-011
Alongside the ref. 5811, Patek Phillippe has also unveiled the ultimate iteration of the Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990 that is bound to set the watch sphere aflame. Since its introduction in 2014, the ref. 5990 has only been produced in steel with a black gradient dial or rose gold with a blue sunburst dial. Now the reference is finally being offered in a classic combination of steel with a blue sunburst dial with a subtle black gradation to its periphery.
It measures 40.5mm from 10 to four o’clock and has kept its three-part case construction. Like the ref. 5811, its bracelet is equipped with a micro adjustment system and fold-over clasp that is secured by four independent catches, eliminating the need for a flip-lock.
The reference combines two complications that are not only useful but also user-friendly – a flyback chronograph and dual time function with a bidirectional adjustment feature, along with an analogue date, synchronized to local time. But beyond its superb practicality, the ref. 5990 represents one of the most interesting references in the Nautilus collection where the aesthetics and mechanics of the complications are skilfully integrated into the case without compromising the integrity of the iconic Genta design.
The chronograph pushers at two and four on the case were shifted closer to the crown to make way for a date corrector at one o’clock on the case band while the pushers for the time zone correctors were cleverly disguised as its nine o’clock “ear”.
Designed by Louis Cottier and patented by Patek Philippe in 1959, the dual time function comprises of two central hour hands – a skeletonized hand for home time and solid hand to indicate local time. By using the “plus” and “minus” pushers on the case at nine o’clock, local time can be conveniently adjusted not only forwards, but also backwards by one-hour increments without removing the watch off the wrist. This ingenuously practical mechanism is accompanied by a day and night indicator in the form of two tiny apertures topped by the inscriptions “local” and “home” on the dial.
The chronograph mechanism, on the other hand, is column-wheel controlled and vertically coupled to the main gear train. Most notably, because of its unique dial design that does away with an active running seconds counter, the fourth wheel in the cal. CH 28-520 C FUS can be integrated in the vertical clutch assembly in the center of the movement without the need for additional gears to relocate the seconds to a sub-dial. This particular arrangement is the most ideal as it keeps the chronograph seconds wheel within the power flow of the mainspring, and thus enabling the use of the chronograph seconds as the actual running seconds with negligible impact on amplitude.
Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel-Time Chronograph Ref. 5990/1A-001
Movement: Caliber CH 28-520 C FUS, automatic, power reserve min 45 hours – max 55 hours
Functions: Flyback chronograph, two time zones , day night indication for local and home time, date coupled with local time by hand
Case: Steel, 40.5 by 12.53mm, water-resistant to 120M
Strap: Steel, patented fold-over clasp with lockable adjustment system
The Nautilus Moon Phase Ref. 5712/1R-001
The third Nautilus novelty is the ref. 5712 with a rose-gold case and bracelet and a striking sunburst dial that goes from a caramel brown at the center to black on its periphery. While the ref. 5712 was introduced in rose gold in 2006, it was only ever offered on an integrated leather strap.
The new brown-dial beauty boasts the same usefully better bracelet and retains its three-part case construction. However, it is worth nothing that its case back differs from that used in ref. 5711 or ref. 5990. While latter references employ a classic six-notch sapphire screw back, the case back of the ref. 5712 is press-fit. As such, it has a depth rating of 60 meters versus 120 meters for the other two references. Apart from the bracelet, all aspects of the watch remain unchanged. It measures 40mm from 10 to four o’clock and has a thickness of just 8.52mm.
The ref. 5712 is one of the most iconic and idiosyncratic references in the Nautilus family, featuring an unusual, asymmetrical dial with a small seconds sub-dial between four and five o’clock, a moon phase display with an analogue date at seven o’clock and a power reserve indicator at 10 o’clock marked with four red dots at its lowest end.
Like the perpetual calendar ref. 5740, the ref. 5712 utilizes the beautifully constructed, ultra-thin base caliber 240. Measuring just 2.53mm high, it is characterized by an unusual crescent-shaped gear train arrangement, with the fourth wheel, onto which the seconds hand is mounted, is located at eight o’clock when viewed from the case back while the pinion of the second wheel drives the motion works on the dial side. To sustain its height, the micro rotor had to be made from solid 22k gold for greater inertia. As with a majority of Patek Philippe movements, the rotor winds unidirectionally to eliminate the need for reverser gears, thus reducing friction.
Patek Philippe Nautilus Moon Phase Ref. 5712/1R-001
Movement: Caliber 240 PS IRM C LU, automatic, power reserve min 38 hours – max 48 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, moon phases, power reserve, small seconds
Case: Rose gold, 40 x 8.52mm, water-resistant to 60M
Strap: Rose gold, patented fold-over clasp with lockable adjustment system