May 16, 2023
by Celine Simon
Years ago, I worked for a large watch retailer in the Middle East, and we were an authorized dealer for Patek Philippe. Naturally, Nautilus watches were part of the current collection we sold, and since this was before the intense global frenzy over this particular sports watch de luxe, we actually had some 5711s in stock. While I always thought the Nautilus 5711 was super-cool and would occasionally go downstairs to the boutique to try one on, when it’s sitting next to ultra-complicated Patek Philippe watches in a display case, it’s not usually the one that gets all the attention — at least, not back then. Things are, of course, different now. The Nautilus, especially the 5711 in steel, has emerged as Patek’s superstar watch, even if that’s not what the Genevan manufacture intended.
Seeing the Nautilus 5711 with an olive green dial was like running into an old friend, who actually looks younger and fresher despite all the time that has gone by since our last encounter. Yes, she’s had some work done and she’s dressed in a color other than her favorite dark blue, but the familiarity and comfort of an old pal are there. The stainless steel model with the olive green dial, officially known as the Nautilus reference 5711/1A-014, made its debut in spring 2021 as the replacement to the lauded blue-black dialed ref. 5711/1A-010 in steel and the swan song of the entire reference (barring the limited edition Patek x Tiffany & Co. 5711 with a robin egg blue dial that came a few months later). For those who follow the secondary market for high-end watches, it comes as no surprise that the green dial Nautilus 5711 is exceedingly valuable — around 10 times its original retail price the last time I checked. It was part of Patek’s catalog for less than a year, and the reference disappeared from the lineup in January 2022.
The green dial is more muted in person than the press shots suggest. Depending on the light, it can look quite green (as seen here on Ariel’s arm), somewhat gray, or somewhere in between. This, in my opinion, is a good thing; it’s subtle (well, as subtle as one of the world’s most hyped watches can be) and not too overbearing like some of the more colorful dials we’ve seen hit the market over the last few years.
I find that, at first glance, it’s the silhouette of the Nautilus that commands attention. The rounded octagonal bezel, the porthole-shaped case with hinge-like sides, and that beautifully executed integrated bracelet come together in an alluring form. Then, the contrasting brushed and polished surfaces draw the eyes in for a closer look.
I’ve noticed that those that meet the Nautilus 5711 for the first time are typically taken aback by how flat the watch is. This is part of the charm of this ’70s-origin sports watch. Officially, the case of Nautilus has a diameter that measures 40mm; however, realistically we have to account for the width of the watch too due to the prominent “ears” that protrude from the sides. The width clocks in at 43mm (and over 44mm including the crown), and the lug-to-lug measurement is about 44.5mm. So, the watch wears wide, yet its slender 8.3mm height makes it superbly easy to wear, even for smaller wrists like mine.
And remember, this slim sports watch case houses an automatic movement and is water resistant to 120 meters. This is what I’d imagine you’d want from a watch that was built to accompany you on boats and jets, at beaches and ports, and wherever else the moneyed set hangs out to let off steam. That automatic movement is the Caliber 26-330 S C, which is the same movement that has been powering previous Nautilus 5711 watches since 2019. A descendant of the Caliber 324 S C, the newer Caliber 26-330 S C offers an improved winding system, complete with a redesigned rotor, as well as hacking seconds. In customary Patek fashion, the movement is in full view via the sapphire caseback, and between its Calatrava Cross-engraved 21K solid gold rotor, Patek Philippe seal, Côtes de Genève decoration, perlage, jewels, gears, and wheels, there is plenty of mechanical beauty to take in.
One of my favorite components of the Nautilus has always been its integrated bracelet, and the olive-hued 5711/1A-014 is no different. It’s often been said that the Nautilus bracelet wears a lot like jewelry, and as a fan of bracelets, bangles, and any form of shiny wrist candy, I can confirm this. The combination of polished center links, satin outer links, beveled edges, and tapered form is a joy to wear and look at. The bracelet remains nice and secure around the wrist with a double deployant clasp, further secured with a fold-over lock emblazoned with the Calatrava Cross.
It’s been over a year since the steel Nautilus with a green dial (originally priced at $34,890 USD) left the company’s catalog; and although Patek Philippe introduced the white gold Nautilus ref. 5811/1G in 2022 as a replacement, because of the precious metal construction of the newest “Jumbo” iteration we’re faced with an apples-and-oranges situation. It can be easy to get carried away by the hype around the watch, whether that means immediately disliking it for what it represents or falling under its spell simply because it seems everyone else has. However, if we strip all that context away, what we have with the Patek Philippe Nautilus reference 5711/1A-014 is a wonderfully charming watch that had big shoes to fill, and, I think, did so successfully. I was a newcomer to the watch industry when the 5711 came onto the scene in 2006 and I’m happy that I was still around to see the 5711/1A-014 bookend an important chapter in the history of the Nautilus. For more information about the Patek Philippe Nautilus, please visit the brand’s website.