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BaselWorld2014: Belles of the fair: Patek Philippe 5990 Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph

by Peter Chong on April 16, 2014

Some say, Patek Phillipe is disappointing with only one new caliber for BaselWorld 2014.

Some say the most coveted brand in luxury watchmaking did not deliver to dazzle fans even though this is their 175th Anniversary.

But all we know is, the new Patek Philippe 5990/1A Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph is a magnificent piece of watchmaking.

The Patek Philippe Ref.5990/1A.

The Patek Philippe Ref.5990/1A. In Patek Philippe nomenclarure, the 1A signifies a stainless steel case.
The challenge of putting in a chronograph and a dual timezone system in a complex case which is water resistant to 120m is taken with aplomb. The design is true to the original, and yet, no less than 4 pushers are now put on the case with no risk to water resistance.

 

In this review, we talk about the 5990/1A Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph. The Nautilus range is one of the most interesting within Patek’s enormous offerings. But until recently this line of mainly steel and sporty watches the watches were devoid of complications safe for the calendar features (power reserve, moonphase, date and annual calendar being the only complications offered) The lack of complication is perhaps due to the fact that the case design, originally done by Gerald Genta, was complex, and as the Nautilus was a sporty watch, required it to be water resistant to 120m. But in the 5990, the Nautilus comes not only with the inhouse Patek Philippe chronograph with column wheel, but also with a two timezone function.

 

The dial of the Patek Philippe 5990 is very clear and legible.

The dial of the Patek Philippe 5990 is very legible. The second timezone, designated as “Home” time is skeletonized, and is normally superimposed below the regular hour hand showing “Local” time.
When one of the cleverly designed pushers, which preserves the original design of the Nautilus, the user can advance or retard the “Local” time hand in one hour increments. A Day/Night indicator is also provided for each timezone.

 

The dial is the typical Nautilus dial, with black with a slight bright-dark gradation from the middle to the periphery and features the familiar horizontally embossed Nautilus pattern accentuated with ten applied luminous hour markers in 18K white gold.

 

The dial. Black, with a horizontal embossed pattern, with a bright/dark gradation. The subdials are very legible, as is the two hour hands, one superimposed on the other at home, and when travelling, local time can be shown in addition to home time in a very elegant and legible manner.

The dial. Black, with a horizontal embossed pattern, is quite fetching. As expected, the quality of the dial, hands, print is exceptional.

 

Wth addition of the travel time function, a second hour hand is provided. When not travelling, both hands are synchronized one above the other. When the user travels to another timezone, a push on one of the pushers, now designed as part of the “wing” on the left side of the case allows the “Local” time to be advanced or retreated in one hour steps. The pushers are designed such that they retain the original look of the Nautilus.

 

Caliber CH 28-520 C FUS  Self-winding mechanical movement, column-wheel chronograph with  disk clutch and 60-minute counter, sweep chronograph hand, two time  zones with separate day/night indicators for local time and home time.  Analog date.

Caliber CH 28-520 C FUS
Self-winding mechanical movement, column-wheel chronograph with disk clutch and 60-minute counter, sweep chronograph hand, two time zones with separate day/night indicators for local time and home time.Analog date.
Brilliantly finished in the traditional Patek Philippe levels.

 

The movement is the new CH 28-520 C FUS movement equipped with a flyback chronograph mechanism and two timezone function. In a traditional column wheel design the column wheel activates a lever which causes the chronograph train to engage with the fourth wheel, transferring power to the chronograph train. However, in the Patek design, this movement uses a disk clutch as a go between the column wheel lever and the chronograph train. The column wheel activates a disk clutch, which, when closed, transmits power from the fourth wheel to the chronograph train, and when opened interrupts the power, stopping the chronograph train. Patek claims this allows the chronograph mechanism to be left on without any adverse effect to the movement, and prevents jerking or jumping of the chronograph seconds hand during activation of the chronograph pushers. This feature first appeared in the CH 28-520 which was used in the Patek Philippe 5960.

 

The star wheel of the annual calendar.

The star wheel of the annual calendar, showing the lever which activates the column wheel engaged. Note that the lever and the star wheel for the annual calendar and the accompanying spring lever shows a marred finish because this is a prototype watch.

 

The movement is also equipped with the patented Patek Spiromax hairspring made of Silinvar – Patek speak for silisium.

 

The Nautilus case, water resistant to 120m, even with the addition of the timezone correction and chronograph pushers.

The Nautilus case, water resistant to 120m, even with the addition of the timezone correction and chronograph pushers.

 

In typical Patek Philippe style these days, the movement comes with the inhouse Patek Philippe Seal of quality.

 

The Patek Philippe 5990/1A

The Patek Philippe 5990/1A

 

We think this is a beautiful  and elegant timepiece. One which is built in the best traditions of high watchmaking and yet rugged enough for everyday use, and practical enough for travelling with two of the most useful complications: a second timezone and a chronograph. What do you think?

 

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