To mark the 40th anniversary of the Nautilus, Patek Philippe adds two limited edition models to the collection. Namely, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P 40th Anniversary and the Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976/1G 40th Anniversary in 18K white gold. The former will be available in a limited edition of 700 watches and the latter 1300 pieces. Both pieces took the industry by storm, with some haters even proclaiming that the 5711 is a ‘desecration’ of the great Gerald Genta icon. Although these strong sentiments are hardly any constructive, let us visit some of the reasons for these reactions.
It’s all in the dial
Made of 18K gold, the dial of the Ref. 5711/1P is the new centre of Patek Philippe controversy. After almost a week since the revelation of the two new models, Nautilus lovers and haters alike have been up in arms over the scripted dial. Fans of the brand undoubtedly wished that the Nautilus dial stayed ‘truer’ to the original, while haters of the brand applaud themselves for their ‘now supported’ irrational disdain of the brand. The blue dial features a two-line anniversary citation “40” and “1976–2016” in the bottom half of the dial, against the backdrop of horizontal Nautilus embossing. While it is described by the manufacture as a ‘very discrete’ feature, many found the numbers excessive.
The same sentiments were reflected on the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5976/1G. Its predecessor made a name for itself with Patek’s famous monocounter chronograph movement. The single subdial presented both the minute and hour counters. Although not the most legible, the design created space on the dial and made for a simple clean dial. The 40th anniversary edition however, has found a way to fill up that space. It features in the upper half of the dial, the anniversary citation “1976 – 40 – 2016”. That said, the dial is now larger than before, and the monocounter enlarged, proportionate to the larger case. The result is a more legible monocounter, although, at the expense of a larger case.
Too ‘Jumbo’ for comfort?
The second largest controversy surrounding the new releases is the massive size increase. Some say that the move alludes to the release of the ‘Jumbo’, the Nautilus first released 40 years ago. At that time, the Nautilus 3700/1a, sized at 42 mm in diameter, was regarded as exceedingly large. The nickname ‘Jumbo’ was a reference to Boeing’s 747. Perhaps, Patek Philippe must think that releasing a homage without increasing the size of the watch to match today’s perceived large size is unspirited at best. It has met resounding success in that regard. With a width of 49.25 mm (3 to 9 o’clock, including screw-down crown), the self-winding flyback chronograph Ref. 5976 in 18K white gold is 3.6 mm wider than the its predecessor.
But still consistent
The inverse relationship between initially well-received watches and historically significant timepieces is a pattern consistently seen with major watch manufactures. Think the once hideous exotic dial Rolex Daytonas and the grossly ridiculous luxury steel sports watch. The latter coincidentally is the Patek Philippe Nautilus. These once passed over and undesirable timepieces are now highly collectible today.
Quality timekeeping and movement
Patek Philippe’s two new models retain the quality movements used in their predecessors. The Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P 40th Anniversary edition uses the self-winding 324 SC movement. While the Nautilus 5976/1G uses the CH 28-520 C chronograph movement. The former is a time-only movement, while the latter a flyback chronograph controlled by column-wheel mechanism with a vertical disk clutch. Both movements are fit with the Gyromax® balance and the Spiromax® balance spring which are Patek Philippe inventions that deliver high rates of accuracy. A tool watch at heart, the two watches are antimagnetic with water resistance to 120 m.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P 40th Anniversary in platinum 950 is being crafted in a limited edition of 700 individually numbered watches and is priced at US$113,400 (approximately S$ 155,800). The former Ref. 5711/1P was an off the catalog watch which is available on order, but was so rare that although the retail price is roughly S$ 118,000, auction results points a market value of no less than S$ 200,000. Case in point is this Phillips’s auction which saw a hammer price of HK$ 1,360,000 (approx S$ 235,100). Patek has elected to price the new Ref. 5711 40th Anniversary somewhat more modestly roughly about midway.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5976/1G 40th Anniversary in white gold comes in a limited edition of 1300 pieces and is priced at US$96,390 (approx S$132,400)