Patek Philippe Nautilus Retrospective Chapter 3
Following Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of our comprehensive retrospective on the ultra-popular Patek Philippe Nautilus watch, we’ve now arrived at Chapter 3. In this segment, we will follow the evolution of the Nautilus from its 30th anniversary in 2006 to the next few years until 2015. This era saw plenty of changes to the collection, including the debut of the 5711, as well as the introduction of more complications, materials, and dial colorways.
2006 Was a Big Year for the Nautilus
In 2006, Patek Philippe celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Nautilus, and to mark the milestone, the company released a new batch of models with redesigned cases, updated dials, and revamped bracelets. Also new to the collection was the choice of an 18k rose gold model, as well as a new chronograph variant.
The new Nautilus references launched in 2006 were:
- Jumbo Nautilus 5711/1A
- Midsize Nautilus 5800/1A
- Nautilus Moonphase 5712/1A, 5712R, and 5712G
- Nautilus Chronograph 5980/1A
Some of the key changes of the then-new Nautilus watches in 2006 included:
New case design
- The original straight hinges became more rounded
- The Jumbo cases were made up of three parts (instead of two) with screw-down winding crowns and casebacks
- The models were equipped with sapphire crystal casebacks for a view of the movement
- Midsize: 38.40mm replaced 37.5mm
- Jumbo: 43m replaced 42mm
- Chronograph: 44mm
- The bracelets included slightly different proportions and improved connections
- A new three-part fold-over clasp was added to metal bracelets and a new double safety feature was added to the leather straps
- The hands on the dial were larger
- The shape of the hour markers now matched the contour of the octagonal bezel at every position
The Jumbo Nautilus Reference 5711
Arguably the most famous of all Nautilus models, the stainless-steel reference 5711/1A debuted in 2006 as part of the collection’s 30th-anniversary lineup. The Nautilus 5711 was the modern version of the original “Jumbo” 3700 from 1976, complete with a time and date dial, full steel case, and steel integrated bracelet. It was a triumphant return of the large steel time and date Nautilus variant, which was dropped from the Patek catalog in 1990.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A
The Nautilus 5711/1A features a 43mm-wide case (40mm in diameter), which was an increase from the 42mm width of the original Jumbo. This slight increase was to accommodate the rounder contours of the lateral hinge ridges. The then-new three-part case included sapphire crystals on both the dial-side and the screw-down caseback. The three-part construction allowed for the movement to be accessed from the back of the case, which was not possible with the original two-part monocoque construction. Yet, despite the new construction, the Nautilus 5711/1A retained its signature 120 meters of water resistance.
The dial of the first 5711/1A model was classic Nautilus, which is to say blue-black and decorated with horizontal grooves. However, it was rendered in a much brighter blue than the original 3700. There were also other updates including larger hands and indexes.
As is customary for many Nautilus watches, the ref. 5711/1A was paired with an integrated stainless steel bracelet with satin-finished outer links and polished middle links. Yet, the bracelets benefited from a slight refresh that included flatter center links and an improved triple-folding clasp.
When Patek launched the Nautilus 5711, it equipped it with the Caliber 315 SC automatic movement, which added the center sweep hands to the dial (something the original 3700 did not have). However, that movement was quickly replaced with the higher-beat Caliber 324 SC the following year. Caliber 324 SC operates at a frequency of 28,800 vph, supplies a power reserve of 35 to 45 hours, and displays the hours, minutes, center sweep seconds, and the date in a window at 3 o'clock.
In 2007, the year after the debut of the steel model, Patek Philippe added precious metal versions of the 5711, all furnished with leather straps:
- Yellow gold Nautilus ref. 5711J
- White gold Nautilus ref. 5711G
- Rose gold Nautilus ref. 5711R
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711J-001
In 2015, Patek Philippe launched the full rose gold Nautilus 5711/1R with a matching rose gold integrated bracelet and a brown-black dial.
In addition to the blue-black dial variant launched in 2006, Patek eventually added other dial color options to the steel Nautilus model:
- 2006: Nautilus ref. 5711/1A-001 with blue-black dial
- 2010: Nautilus ref. 5711/1A-010 with black gradated dial
- 2012: Nautilus ref. 5711/1A-011 with silvery white dial
- 2021: Nautilus ref. 5711/1A-014 with olive dial
- 2021: Nautilus ref. 5711/1A-018 with Tiffany blue dial. Limited to 170 pieces.
We’ll discuss the olive and Tiffany variants of the Nautilus 5711 in Chapter 4, which will cover the era starting in 2016 until the present day.
The entire Nautilus 5711 line was discontinued in 2022.
The Midsize Nautilus Reference 5800
Alongside the new Jumbo version, Patek Philippe also unveiled a new midsize time and date version in 2006: the Nautilus ref. 5800/1A, which replaced the long-running Nautilus ref. 3800.
The Nautilus ref. 5800/1A features a case that measures 38.4mm across the hinges (34.8mm in diameter), which was slightly wider than the preceding ref. 3800.
Interestingly, rather than choosing to go with the new three-part case architecture, Patek kept the two-part monocoque construction for the Nautilus ref. 5800, meaning the movement was still mounted on the dial side. The watch did benefit from a new sapphire caseback however, as well as all the general design updates such as rounded ears on the case, an improved bracelet, and an updated bluer dial with bigger hands. Powering the midsize Nautilus 5800 was the self-winding Caliber 330 SC movement.
The midsize Nautilus ref. 5800 was not in production for too long and was discontinued around 2009.
The Nautilus Moonphase Reference 5712
The third of the 30th-anniversary models launched in 2006 was the Nautilus Ref. 5712/1A, again with a steel case, steel integrated bracelet, and blue-black dial. The Nautilus 5712 replaced the very short-lived 3712 (only in production for one year) and retained many of its design cues.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A
Similar to the Jumbo, the Nautilus Moonphase ref. 5712/1A featured a three-part 43mm-wide case (40mm in diameter) with a sapphire crystal caseback, however, it was only water resistant to 60 meters (half of the Jumbo’s rating).
Along with the hour and minute hands, the dial is home to a subsidiary seconds dial at 4 o’clock, a power-reserve indicator at 10:30, and a date indicator and moon-phase display at 7 o’clock. The Nautilus Moonphase ref. 5712 runs on the Caliber 240 PS IRM C LU automatic movement with Patek’s famous 22k gold micro-rotor.
Patek Philippe not only released the Nautilus Moonphase ref. 5712/1A in steel with a matching integrated bracelet in 2006, but also two other precious metal versions with hand-stitched leather straps that same year.
- 18k rose gold Nautilus Ref. 5712R with a brown leather strap and rose gold fold-over clasp
- 18k white gold Nautilus Ref. 5712G with a black leather strap and white gold fold-over clasp
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712R
All these references are still part of the Patek Philippe current catalog. What’s more, a full rose gold variant with a matching rose gold integrated bracelet was released in 2022 in the form of the Nautilus 5712-1R-001.
The Nautilus Chronograph Reference 5980
The fourth and final model of the 30th-anniversary line was the Nautilus Chronograph ref. 5980/1A. Similar to the other anniversary models, the 5980/1A sports a steel case, steel integrated bracelet, and blue-black dial with horizontal grooves. Given the chronograph complication, this is the largest of all the variants with a 44mm-wide (40.5mm in diameter) case. That case is built using a three-part construction.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980/1A
Not only was this the very first Nautilus chronograph ever made (a flyback chronograph, no less) but it also ran on the then-new Caliber CH 28-520 C self-winding column wheel-chronograph movement, made entirely in-house.
Patek kept the dial of the ref. 5980 as minimal as possible for a chronograph by opting to use a mono-counter rather than several subdials. That single counter serves to display the elapsed chronograph minute and hours. What’s more, the chronograph hand doubles as a running sweep seconds hand that can run constantly without any negative impact on the movement. There’s also a date window at 3 o’clock.
Other variants of the Nautilus Chronograph 5980 later joined the collection:
- 2010: Nautilus Chronograph 5980/1A-014, steel case, matching integrated bracelet, black dial
- 2010: Nautilus Chronograph 5980R, rose gold case, leather strap, brown dial
- 2012: Nautilus Chronograph 5980/1A-019, steel case, matching integrated bracelet, white dial
- 2013: Nautilus Chronograph 5980/1AR, two-tone rose gold/steel case, matching integrated bracelet, blue dial
- 2013: Nautilus Chronograph 5980/1R, rose gold case, matching integrated bracelet, black dial
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980/1R
The rose gold and two-tone variations are still part of the current catalog but the steel versions (both the blue dial and the white dial) were discontinued in 2014.
The Nautilus Annual Calendar Reference 5726
Patek Philippe continued to expand the Nautilus collection well after the 30th anniversary year. For instance, in 2010, the company unveiled an annual calendar version with a moon phase display. The Nautilus Annual Calendar ref. 5726A announced in 2010 featured a 40.5mm steel case, gradient black dial, and black leather strap.
The dial is home to day and month windows just below 12 o’clock, in addition to a moon phase and 24-hour subdial at 6 o’clock, which is superimposed by a date window. Of course, as an annual calendar, the watch will continue to display the correct date throughout the year, except on March 1st when it will need its once-a-year manual adjustment.
Patek Philippe Nautilus Annual Calendar 5726A
Patek released other variations of the Nautilus 5726 over the following years:
- 2012: Nautilus 5726/1A-001, steel case, matching steel integrated bracelet, black dial
- 2012: Nautilus 5726/1A-010, matching steel integrated bracelet, white dial
- 2019: Nautilus 5726/1A-014, steel case, matching steel integrated bracelet, blue-black dial
The black dial Nautilus Annual Calendar with a black leather strap and the blue dial variant with a steel bracelet remain in the current catalog.
The Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Reference 5990
Another big complication arrived in the collection in 2014 with the release of the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990, which hosts both a chronograph and two time zones. There are two hour hands at the center of the dial, where the skeletonized hand indicates home time while the solid hand displays local time. When both times are the same, the pair of hands are superposed. There are also two separate day/night indications, labeled LOCAL and HOME. Finally, the date subdial is positioned at 12 o’clock while the chronograph 60-minute counter is placed at 6 o’clock.
Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chonograph 5990/1A
The case measures 40.5mm but it was redesigned to accommodate the then-new complicated Nautilus model. The once-customary hinge on the left side of the case was replaced by plus and minus correctors to operate the functions of the watch. Patek cleverly designed these correctors to look like the original “ears” of the Nautilus, thereby not sacrificing the iconic design of the watch.
The first iteration of the Nautilus Time Travel Chronograph was the ref. 5990/1A with a steel case, steel integrated bracelet, and black dial. This variant was discontinued in 2022 but replaced with a blue-dial variant that same year, which we’ll discuss in Chapter 4 along with the rose gold 5990/1R unveiled in 2021.
The Ladies’ Nautilus References
So far in this chapter, we’ve only covered the men’s Nautilus models. However, the ladies’ versions make up a big portion of the collection and are well worth a closer look.
In 2009, Patek Philippe announced new ladies’ Nautilus models in 18k white gold and 18k rose gold, with diamonds (ref. 7010/1) or without diamonds (ref. 7011/1) on the bezel. These references featured 32mm cases water resistant to 60 meters, integrated metal bracelets, time and date functionality on the dial, and ran on quartz movements. The following year, the ladies’ Nautilus ref. 7010 models with leather straps joined the range.
In 2010, Patek unveiled new high-jewelry ladies’ Nautilus models (ref. 7021/1) in rose gold and white gold, all exquisitely paved with diamonds on the dial, case, and bracelet. These models are powered by automatic movements and feature 33.6mm cases. Other versions were added over the following years including the steel ref. 7008/1A with diamond bezels, the gold ref. 7014/1 with baguette-cut diamonds on the bezel and center bracelet links, and the steel ref. 7018/1 with diamond bezels and updated dials.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 7118/1
In 2015, the new automatic ladies’ Nautilus ref. 7118 with 35mm cases debuted in steel and rose gold. Reference 7118/1200 variations have diamonds on the bezel while Ref. 7118/1 models do not. With its wave-patterned dials, well-proportioned cases, and integrated bracelets, the reference 7118 remains the flagship Nautilus watch for women.
This brings us to the end of Chapter 3 of our Nautilus retrospective; make sure to stay tuned for Chapter 4 where we’ll be exploring the models from 2016 until today. If you haven't already, check out Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of our comprehensive retrospective on the wildly popular Patek Philippe Nautilus watch.