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In The Metal: The New Patek Philippe Reference 5811 – And Two Other Nautilus Variations

In The Metal: The New Patek Philippe Reference 5811 – And Two Other Nautilus Variations

18. October 2022

It’s back. A familiar sight, yet different in many ways. Slightly larger, significantly bolder, and certainly radiant. But before we take a closer look at the Reference 5811, the relaunch of the ultimate Nautilus longed for by so many, and thus probably the most discussed new launch of the year, the successor of the 5711, it’s worth taking a couple of steps back. Back to a time when the word ‘hype watch’ did not yet exist. To an era when watches were not yet considered a form of investment in their own right. To all the years since 1976, when the Nautilus was already part of the Patek Philippe repertoire, when new dial colours – whether deep blue, white, turquoise blue or even green – did not yet trigger notifications on smartphones. They may not have been better times, but they were a time when the Nautilus was, all things considered, worn more as a matter of course.

The new Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5811/1G-001

Fortunately, there are still plenty of people who see their 5711 or even 3700 less as a status symbol and more as an embellisher of everyday life. The author of this article saw owners, with their already highly traded watches, jumping into the water from wooden jetties in the Stockholm archipelago. He saw the watch on beaches, golf resorts, even in airport lounges, a million miles away from the displays of the grey market dealers around New York’s 47th Street or the sports car steering wheel-with-a-watch Instagram shots.

Nautilus ref. 5711/1A (on top) and ref. 5811/1G (below)

These watches, which occasionally make appearances on social media, are like some sort of ghosts. Somehow omnipresent and yet infinitely distant and out of reach, they are out there, and their tradition is maintained by Patek Philippe and their story retold. So, for all those who actually wear, use and love their Nautilus, manufacture helmsman Thierry Stern has now unveiled no less than three new Nautilus references, of which the 5811 is of course the most important. Here they are.

New Patek Philippe Nautilus references:
5811/1G, 5712/1R and 5990/1A

Go for gold: Reference 5811/1G, a Nautilus for the future

The fact that Patek Philippe has decided to present the new reference in white gold is of course anything but a coincidence. Once upon a time, when the original Nautilus Reference 3700 was presented in 1976, it was a bold step to include a steel watch in the range at such a high price. But times have changed, and today the desire for fine steel timepieces –whether it’s the Rolex Daytona, an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or the Patek Philippe Nautilus – is at its peak.

Nautilus Ref. 3700/1A from 1976

At the same time, Thierry Stern never tires of emphasizing that, on the one hand, they do not want to increase the percentage of steel models in total production, and that steel models have existed and should exist in other collections of the house, from the Twenty-4 to the Calatrava. On the other hand, people should fundamentally associate the brand more with timepieces made of precious metals. This is a question of value. Even though there have often been rumours about a titanium Nautilus in recent months, presenting the Reference 5811 in white gold, the most discreet of all gold alloys, is only logical.

On top of that, the material’s warm shine clearly stands out for connoisseurs in comparison to the steel appearance of the predecessor Reference 5711. Also, the feel of the model, which is as perfectly smooth and fine as pure gold on the wrist, is unique. The 5811 is the new one here – it should and must be recognisable, even if it’s only the small details that make a big difference overall.

Nautilus ref. 5711/1A (on top) and ref. 5811/1G (below)

Side by side with the predecessor References 5711 (40 x 8.3 mm) and 5800 (38,4 x 8,1 mm)), the contrasting dimensions are especially obvious. The Reference 5811 has grown to 41 mm, with a height of 8.2 mm. Thus, it is not significantly bigger than the 5711 with its 40 mm, yet 0.1 mm flatter than its predecessor. The increase in size matches well to current global tastes. It’s not without reason that the sports watches of the 21st century are constantly getting larger.

Nautilus references in size comparison:
5800/1A (38.4 mm), 5711/1A (40 mm) and 5811/1G (41 mm).

Exactly as small and discreet as the increase of one millimetre in diameter sounds, it’s just as obvious on the wrist. The 5811 will still wear well on average-sized wrists with a circumference of plus-minus 18 centimetres, but those with bigger wrists, on whom the 5711 might have looked a bit lost, will benefit most. Thierry Stern and Patek Philippe have opted for a successful balancing act with the 5811: the classic, traditional clientele will not be alienated by the growth, but new customers will find this new Nautilus even more desirable.

Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A (left) and Ref. 5811/1G (right)

On the dial, you can see something Patek Philippe has continued to develop in recent years: in-house excellence when it comes to dial making. The green-black gradient on the 5270P-014 presented this year, the blue dial with black gradient and vertical satin finish on the reference 5236P last year, and now a combination of both: the 5811/1G dial in blue sunburst with black gradient. Depending on the incidence of light, the blue-black colour tones on the dial change; a feature sure to tempt future owners to take countless extra glances at their wrists.

The new Nautilus is powered by the established 26-330 S C calibre, which already powered the last models of the 5711 from 2019, and which is also installed in the Aquanaut 5167 and the new Calatrava 5226. It is the successor of the calibre 324, consists of 212 parts and has a diameter of just 27 mm. Thus, it easily fits into the 41 mm white gold case, nestling behind a sapphire crystal. The case is water-resistant to 120 m – just like the original Nautilus was. Last but not least, the 5811 features the new patented folding clasp, which is also used on the other Nautilus references.

The changes made on the eagerly awaited new Nautilus are therefore minimal. But the 5811 doesn’t want to be a game changer, as the basic formula of the Gerald Genta design with its porthole look is too successful for that: to be radically different, but having the basic understanding of the watch on the second and third glance. A timepiece with finesse and elegance. Thierry Stern is said to be amused that some people really thought that with the discontinuation of the Reference 5711, the story of this most classic of all Nautilus models would be over. Of course, the success story continues, but the few existing 5711s in the world – at least in terms of demand – are to retain their value.

It may be that some in the watch world had hoped for a bigger and more radical leap from Patek Philippe. But this is exactly what is avoided in the manufacture, with its great tradition. Legends are not created in a day; they are to be carefully nurtured. Ultimately, then, the 5811 is a timepiece that has been enhanced in many respects, and tastefully adapted to suit the spirit of the times.

In the boutiques, the ‘new one’ comes at an official retail price of 68,620 euros. Here, too, Patek Philippe maintains its very own gold standard and raises the model to a new price level. The steel 5711, at least, was last given away for not quite 30,000 euros. The absurd prices at which the first grey market models are offered can be diced by everyone at this point, because without a doubt, the demand will be so much higher than the supply. On top of that, the 5811/1G is likely to end up exclusively with real friends of the brand who will collect such a watch, not flip it. The profit that this new Nautilus brings cannot be expressed in euros, but rather in the feeling of happiness that spreads through those wearing this unsurpassed piece of horological history on the wrist.

Go for more Gold: The Nautilus reference 5712/1R

The story of the elder Nautilus series also continues to be told, and the second new addition to the Nautilus range, the rose-gold 5712/1R, will also be a dream for many. Solid precious metal bracelets, after all, have a special charm in pretty much all Patek Philippe references. Be it in the case of individual productions by the manufacture for particularly loyal customers, be it in the case of Nautilus series models such as the Reference 5740 with perpetual calendar in white gold, or the Reference 5990 in rose gold – which is also extremely sought-after and will be discussed in more detail below as part of the third Nautilus news.

The full gold version of the Nautilus Ref. 5712/1R

In the newly presented 5712/1R, rose-gold meets a black-brown dial – a combination that is as dazzling as it is heart-warming. When it comes to precious metals, the 5712 was previously available exclusively with leather straps, making them probably the most discreet Nautilus models of all. They will continue to be offered in this form, at least for the time being. However, an end is probably foreseeable as after all, these references have been part of the range for quite a while. Above all, strictly speaking, Gerald Genta designed the watch with a metal bracelet, which is why quite a few people argue that actually, a true Nautilus MUST have a metal bracelet.

Even without the success of the rose-gold Reference 5711 with an identical dial in the back of our minds, we can be sure: the new 5712/1R with its moonphase, integrated date display and power reserve will be extremely sought after. After all, the model with the asymmetrically arranged dial was the Nautilus that recently gained extreme popularity – precisely because it stands out so much from the original Nautilus with its three hands, while retaining its delicate case dimensions. For all those who find the new 5811 too large, it will instead take the first place on the wish lists of collectors, together with the perpetual calendar 5740. The price for this investment: 81,420 euros.

The return of the steel Nautilus reference 5990/1A

What becomes clear once again with this autumn’s new launches: the Nautilus dial by Gerald Genta is unmistakable and has a gigantic recognition value – yet the Nautilus family has meanwhile gained a lot of new additions, and thus models with very different characters. In the trio of October novelties, the 5990 is the Nautilus for frequent traveller chronograph fans.

The reference was first presented in 2014, then also in steel, but with a black-grey dial. It replaced the steel Nautilus chronograph 5980/1A available at the time, going on to form the pinnacle of the more complicated Nautilus models – at least until the introduction of a perpetual calendar into the programme. The flyback chronograph is equipped with a date at twelve o’clock, a central seconds counter, a sixty-minute counter at six o’clock, as well as a travel time function, with which a second time zone can be easily set using the pushers on the left side of the case. The CH 28-520 C FUS calibre powering the watch obviously demands more space than the classic three-hand Nautilus, and the case height of 12.53 mm in particular gives it a very different presence.

Most recently, the 5990 could only be found in rose gold and with a deep blue dial in the Patek Philippe catalogue; an extremely impressive watch, but at the same time one that would hardly be described as a classic travel watch. The return to a steel 5990 will therefore especially delight those fans of the reference who like things a little more discreet. The combination of steel and classic Nautilus blue on the dial will do the rest. Price: 67,460 euros.

It’s fascinating to see the new Reference 5811 next to the new 5990. Both are Nautilus models, both made of white metal, both with blue dials – yet with very different effects. The whiter typography, the adjusted dimensions, the extra bit of complication, the consequent loss of purism: presumably, the excitement about these nuances is not immediately apparent to non-watch enthusiasts. But there are fewer and fewer of these – as the current high demand for valuable timepieces impressively proves. All those, however, who are already completely taken by the Haute Horlogerie can only say in light of the Nautilus novelties, that:

Thierry Stern is a master of caring for Patek’s collections. He has presented, at the end of this hugely unsettled and in many ways threatening and uncertain year, three references that are typical Patek Philippe: composed and self-confident, always ready for constant change and renewal, yet deeply rooted in its own history, creating added value to the collection. These are watches that signal strength and radiate calm. These days, we had better wish the concessionaires (who presumably have a lot of wishes to sort out right now) share the same qualities.


BRAND Patek Philippe
MODEL Nautilus
REFERENCE 5811/1G-001
DIMENSIONS Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 8.2 mm
DIAL Sunburst blue with black-gradient rim, horizontally embossed, gold applied hour markers with luminescent coating. White gold rounded baton-style hands with luminescent coating.
STRAP/BRACELET White gold. Patented fold-over clasp with lockable adjustment system.
MOVEMENT Caliber 26-330 S C
POWER RESERVE min. 35 hours – max. 45 hours
FREQUENCY 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour (4 Hz)
FUNCTIONS Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date
PRICE EUR 68,620 incl. TAX