It all started with rumors in January 2021. We’ve heard that Patek Philippe is about to discontinue its most iconic sports watch, the chronograph Nautilus 5711 (which, coincidentally, is one of the most sought after on the second-hand market). The rumors are true, as Thierry Stern announced the discontinuation of the blue dial 5711/1A-001 model introduced in 2006. But then, two things happened. First, the brand released its one-year-old farewell edition, the olive green Nautilus 5711. Of course, there’s also the Tiffany Blue 5711, only 170 of which will be produced. Now, we know that the Nautilus 5711 is definitely gone and discontinued. This is not the end of the story for the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Will there be watches to keep the legend alive…? We believe so, and that’s what we’d like to see in the new Patek Philippe Nautilus – let’s call it the 6711 for now.
Patek Philippe and its president, Thierry Stern, have recently communicated mainly through interviews with the Neue Zurich Zeitung or the New York Times. First, in February 2021, Mr. Stern announced the cessation of production of the classic blue dial Nautilus 5711/1A-001, which was launched in 2006 as a 30th anniversary model, following in the footsteps of the first Nautilus , ref. 3700. In the interview, Stern gave multiple reasons for the discontinuation of the blue 5711, including that he didn’t want one model to suddenly occupy 50% or more of our collection and dominate Patek Philippe’s image. ” and then added that “it’s not enough to make the most beautiful watches in the world.” I also have to make sure they hold their value, and rarity is one of the keys to that. This is important for customers who invest in Patek Philippe. “
In the same interview, Mr Stern also said the brand was planning to release “little surprises”. So there will be a farewell series of 5711, which will be a little different. ” And this surprise is reflected in the shape of the olive green dial Nautilus 5711/1A-014, which was produced for less than a year from April 2021 to early 2022.
Watch production is small and demand is high, a situation that only increases the popularity of the Nautilus (all colors), sending prices skyrocketing on the used market. Stern was aware of the situation, explaining before the launch that “it’s going to be another nightmare on the demand side.” But the worse situation has yet to be revealed. That’s the shape of the Tiffany Blue 5711, a watch created in collaboration with the New York retailer and jeweler to celebrate its 170th anniversary and limited to 170 pieces. We expect watches to be auction spoilers, but certainly not in the millions. Again, Thierry Stern is fully aware of the problems associated with such a launch, telling The New York Times: “I Not sure it’s a gift for them. It could be a big deal. They probably don’t realize how difficult it is to select customers.”
A watch that really needs to be replaced…
Some say the Tiffany blue and olive green versions of the Nautilus are the last of their kind…and, they don’t mean the last of the 5711 (now known to be a reality), but the last of the time-and-date Patek Philippe Nautilus . period! Well, let’s clarify the situation a little bit. In the same interview with the New York Times by Mr. Stern, when he announced the end of the Blue 5711 and the release of the Green model, the Patek Philippe president also said “We have a plan. A replacement reference. The 5711 will be quite important. It will be more important than the reference. Better. 5711. But I’m not going to say what metal today, or if it’s steel. It would be another matter, very close and logical.”
Not only did the brand’s president announce that there would be a replacement, but we inevitably put the question on the table. We are well aware that fake Patek Philippe simply cannot kill the classic time and date Nautilus. Launched in 1976, this watch represents an important part of the brand’s modern history. It was this watch that allowed Patek Philippe to enter new markets and appeal to a different audience. This is the brand’s entry into modernity and casual sports watches. Since then, it has become a true icon of watchmaking. If not for business reasons, the Nautilus 5711 must be replaced for legacy reasons. As Stern said, this watch is a difficult product. “Stopping Nautilus was an important decision,” he said, adding that “there’s a lot of noise around this nautilus. (…) We can’t put a watch on top of the pyramid.” But he also realized that he “will always There are not enough watches for everyone on the list.”
With that in mind, discontinuing the Nautilus 5711 was certainly a complicated decision, but it also opened the door to other things. Somewhat different, but some the same – at least for us, it is likely that the new Nautilus unveiled at the 2022 Geneva Watch Fair will retain most of the elements that have made the Nautilus successful since 1976. But the biggest problem remains the material.
We expect the Patek Philippe replacement for the Nautilus 5711 (and possibly the Nautilus 6711) will go in the same direction, the only difference being that we think the PP will be a bit bolder and will create a deeper evolution. Visually, the new Nautilus time and date must be consistent with previous generations. Released in 2006, the 5711 was only a slight update to the design of the original 1976 reference 3700—the most obvious difference being the circular hinge on the side of the case. Mechanically, however, the introduction of the Caliber 324 made a huge difference compared to the older JLC-based movements, and also introduced a central seconds hand. But between 1976 and 2006, production technology and movement design changed dramatically. However, between 2006 and 2022, this was not the case.
Back to possible Nautilus 6711. What we expected was a watch that was only slightly different from the 5711, at least in terms of design. The shape and proportions of the recently discontinued models are nearly perfect, and there’s no reason to drastically change them. We can probably count on tenths of a millimeter here and there, but overall the likely 6711 will be a watch that doesn’t change much. At least, that’s what we’d like to see.
The main evolution we expect to see when replacing the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 has to do with the movement. The last version of the 5711 was equipped with an in-house Calibre 26-330 SC (replacing the 324 in 2019), equipped with a stop-seconds function. This movement is already well equipped with a Gyromax balance wheel and a Spiromax balance spring (made of Silinvar, a silicon-based material). However, this movement is known for its short power reserve, with a brand rating of “minutes. 35 hours – maximum. 45 hours.” In 2022, we can certainly expect better offerings from brands like Patek Philippe, without compromising the thinness of the movement and the watch that houses it. So we would expect a possible Nautilus 6711 to be equipped with a self-winding movement, with a power reserve of around 60 to 70 hours (if AP has done this with the 7121 calibre, certainly Patek Philippe can too).
If Patek Philippe is releasing a new version of the Nautilus time and date, we can tell you with absolute certainty one feature of the discount watch ahead of time…it’s about availability. Don’t expect this possible Nautilus 6711 to be a mass watch. It won’t. period!