Well, well, well, look who’s back. The biggest watch story of the moment is the surprise release of the new and improved Patek Philippe Nautilus 5811/1G. Announced on Tuesday, October 18th, the successor of the famed (or infamous?) steel Nautilus 5711 now comes in white gold with some small, but key, updates. We’ll take a look at what’s changed and what this might mean for the watch market.
The Legacy of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711
For years, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 was the most talked about watch in the world. This is largely due to its status as the poster child for the meteoric rise of the hype watch segment. At their peak, we at Chrono24 regularly saw mint condition 5711 examples sell for upwards of $200,000 USD. That’s approximately 7x the suggested retail price for the three-hand steel watch whose only complication is a date window.
It likely won’t be long before the new 5811 models begin to appear on the secondary market. We and others will also be keeping an eye on how this release affects the market for the discontinued Patek Philippe 5711. What happens next is anyone’s guess. One scenario would be that the new release brings renewed attention to the steel model after a steady softening of its market value over the last six months or so. Another opposing scenario would be that the new release pushes the 5711 further down in value as its mystique wanes and buyers transfer from one waitlist to the next.
Availability (or Lack Thereof)
Speaking of waitlists, the outlook for scoring a new Patek Philippe Nautilus 5811/1G won’t be any more optimistic than it was for its steel predecessor. Patek Philippe currently produces approximately 68,000 watches per year. This is a fraction of the production of other prestige watch brands, and perhaps more importantly, this new Nautilus reference will only make up a fraction of that 68,000.
In an interview with Swiss publication Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern mentioned that the first batch of 5811 watches will begin hitting the shelves of authorized dealers as soon as this week. Each authorized dealer in Patek’s network should receive at least one example of the watch, although as we know, this will create a rather competitive and rather desperate situation for anyone who’s not first in line.
The retail price for the new model is now 59,000 CHF. This is essentially double the price tag for the steel version, and much of the uptick is due to the heightened materials costs and the improvements to the construction of the watch.
On Chrono24, the interest in all the Patek Philippe Nautilus models has grown significantly. After the announcement of the new Nautilus 5811, the search for the Patek Philippe Nautilus grew by over 80 %.
A New and Improved Patek Philippe Nautilus
Thierry Stern has long said that Patek Philippe’s legacy is not built on steel. For the vast majority of the Patek’s history, the focus from the brand’s perspective and the consumer’s perspective has been on complicated watches in precious metal cases. As such, this new 5811 with a white gold case and bracelet is a return to form.
The new white gold case will certainly feature enhanced wrist presence in terms of sheer weight, but enthusiasts will also notice the 5811’s slight increase in case size, from 40mm ton ow 41mm.
The dial of the new Patek Philippe Nautilus 5811/1G is also slightly different than its predecessor. What was once a uniform blue now has added nuance through the addition of a black gradient, allowing for varying shades of blue from center to periphery.
Finally, Patek added a new, patented feature to aide with the watch’s everyday wearability. Included in the clasp is an extendable click-in length adjustment system that will allow wearers to increase the clasp allowance by up to 2mm. This should be a noticeable improvement for swollen wrists on hot summer days.
Closing Thoughts on the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5811/1G
Perhaps the best way to sum of the release of the new Patek Philippe Nautilus 5811/1G is with the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Patek continues to enjoy long waitlists and what is still a rather strong resale market for their watches. With the 5811, they move closer to the core values of the brand, and consumers get all the excitement (and other emotions) that come with new releases.
Aside from the clasp upgrade, there’s nothing too surprising or notable about the watch itself. But of course, when discussing the Nautilus, the discourse and intrigue is rarely on the watch itself and rather on everything happening around the watch. This new release is sure to add more ripples to already uneasy waters.
From a watch enthusiast’s perspective, there were other notable, more horologically-focused watches that Patek unveiled this week, but we’ll save those for another article. For now, we’re keeping our eyes on what is sure to be a dizzying aftermath on the secondary market and the watch world at large.