These days it seems that any watch model from Patek Philippe that has the word “Nautilus” in its title is in great demand – and short supply. The two crowd favourites are of course the Ref. 5711 and the Ref. 5712. Both have seen their resale values skyrocket in the past few years and it doesn’t look like things will abate any time soon. In fact, the last I heard, the wait time for a 5711 from the Patek Salon here in London is around a decade. Of course, there are more than two models in the Nautilus line-up. Today, we’re taking a closer look at one that is perhaps sometimes overlooked by eager would-be collectors. This is the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5726/1A, complete with new gradient blue dial.
A Little Bit Of History
In 2006, Patek Philippe celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Nautilus by redesigning the entire collection and launching four new models. This was a major move and sparked a new level of interest in the brand’s luxury steel sports watches. Included amongst the new models was the now iconic Ref. 5711 (yes, the word ‘iconic’ is overused but I’m sure you will agree it is appropriate here). As well as the Ref. 5980, the first ever chronograph in the collection. All new models were offered exclusively in steel and have set the tone for the collection ever since.
The Patek Nautilus 5726-1A steel bracelet with a grey dial, as available until 2019
Four years later, the extension of the Nautilus collection would continue with the unveiling of the Ref. 5726. This marked the first time Patek Philippe had offered its annual calendar complication in a steel watch. Those who know their watchmaking history know that the Geneva manufacturer had invented the complication less than two decades earlier. It made its debut in the rather conservative Ref. 5035. Very much a classically designed dress watch, its 37mm case was available only in precious metals.
Yet, there was no denying the usefulness or the appeal of this altogether logical complication. Able to account for the difference between months with 30 and 31 days, an annual calendar only needs to be corrected once a year on March 1st. It’s exactly the type of complication that is useful in an office environment, but before 2010, Patek Philippe didn’t really offer it in a watch that was versatile enough to wear to the office and then to a bar or dinner, etc. At least not one that was appealing to younger generations of watch buyers.
The Patek Nautilus 5726 was also available in steel on a leather strap (photo by Kristian Haagen)
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5726 filled this void perfectly. The style and dimensions of the case are virtually identical to that of the Ref. 5711. That means the distinctive curved hinges and a diameter of 40.5mm. It was, of course, a bit thicker as the extra height was needed to accommodate the Annual Calendar module attached to the ultra-thin manufacture calibre 324.
What is perhaps most notable, however, is the highly legible dial display. While the Ref. 5035 used two dedicated sub-dials for the annual calendar display, Patek Philippe instead opted to use three apertures on the Ref. 5726. Two just below 12 o’clock for the day and month, and one at 6 o’clock for the date. Above this sits a sub-dial with a 24-hour indication and moon-phase display. Simple, easy to read and very stylish, it has become an enduring classic for the brand.
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5726/1A With Gradient Blue Dial
These days, getting hands-on with any steel Nautilus is a rare treat. That’s why we made sure to really enjoy our time with the new 5726/1A with gradient blue dial. When the model was first launched, it was available on a leather strap only and had a gradient black dial. A silvery-white dial was later introduced in 2012 but is now discontinued. With the arrival of this new blue dial variation, it seems the all steel gradient black dial model is also discontinued. Although it looks like it’s still available on a leather strap. At least for the time being.
Gradient blue dials are nothing new for Patek Philippe and regularly adorn some of the brand’s best-selling models, including the 5711 and 5712. There’s a reason for this. They look great. It’s true the market has become flooded with blue dials in recent times, but a gradient blue dial Nautilus will always stand out from the crowd in my opinion. The way the light catches the horizontal embossing really catches the eye, and the subtle grading from blue to black gives the classic model a younger, more contemporary look. Seeing how nice it looks on the wrist I’m surprised it took Patek Philippe this long to do this.
As you would expect, the layout of the dial is completely unchanged from the previous model. That means central H-M-S, day and month at 12 o’clock and a sub-dial at 6 o’clock with moon phases, a date in a window and a 24-hour indication on the periphery. Inside is the oft-praised automatic calibre 324 fitted with an annual calendar module. It is visible through the sapphire caseback and features a 21k gold rotor and refined decoration – all approved by the Patek Philippe Seal.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Annual Calendar Gradient Blue 5726-1A-014 is priced at EUR 41,320. If you want one, I would suggest putting your name down now at your local AD as it will likely be a lengthy wait.
More at Patek.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.