Steel lovers can rejoice as 2014 is about high-complication steel models from Patek such as this new Nautilus ref. 5990/1A. When it comes to Patek Philippe, the Nautilus design is one that needs no introduction.  While I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on the brand, I am fairly certain that their latest definitely has some new tricks up its sleeve.

With the name “Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph” (ref. 5990/1A), I think the astute observer will recognize what sort of complications we’re dealing with.  I want to focus on the “travel time” portion of the name first, as it’s one of the more innovative approaches I’ve seen as of late.

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To track the two different time zones, Patek has actually gone with two hour hands.  The skeletonized one is for tracking your home time zone, while the solid one tracks the local hour.  This accomplishes two things quite handily.

First, when you’re still at home, the solid hour hand covers the hollowed-out one, and no one’s the wiser.  When you’re traveling, though, the solid hand will draw your eye much more easily when checking the time at a glance, meaning you’ll stay on schedule.


But wait, I hear you saying, how can I tell night from day back home?  Well, that’s accomplished courtesy of two windows (one for each time zone) at 9 and 3 o’clock, which has a day/night indicator – white for day, blue for night.

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Oh, and how do you adjust the local time hour hand?  Well, that’s done courtesy of buttons that are hiding in plain sight over on the left side of the case.  If you look closely, you’ll see the split that betrays the presence of the pushers that mimic the case shape.  All in all, this is one of the more elegant dual time solutions I’ve seen.


If that was where the story ended with this piece, we’d still have a pretty compelling addition to the Nautilus lineup.  That said, Patek didn’t rest there.  They added a chronograph complication, with the 60-minute register taking up residence at the 6 o’clock position on the dial, which balances the date display up at 12.

For this combination of complications, they had to come up with a new movement, the caliber CH 28-520 C FUS, which combines the column wheel chronograph with the travel time function.  In the midst of this is a unique clutch (created in 1959) that isolates the gear train when you adjust the local time zone (along with facilitating the bi-directional adjustment).


All told, this is one amazing addition to the Nautilus lineup, and a fitting replacement for the outgoing ref 5980/1A.  While we don’t yet have word on the pricing, we’ll be sure to share the information as soon as we have it.

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