Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A-001
Guest Star: please welcome @horosd and his 5712
It's a proven fact that the luxury watch market is currently dominated by a few models (and even fewer brands), one of them being the Patek Philippe Nautilus. The Nautilus is highly sought-after and pretty hard to get, given the low number of pieces available at authorized retailers, the majority of whom have been assigned already via long waiting lists. Among the few lucky ones to own one is a friend and reader of Horbiter®, an American based watch connoisseur nicknamed @horosd on Instagram. He has one of the most desirable Nautilus ever; not only is he the person to officially launch our "Guest Star" column, but the proud owner of one of the most coveted and desired Patek Philippe too, the Nautilus 5712/1A-001.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A-001 belongs to the iconic collection conceived in 1976 by master designer Gérald Genta, the man behind the Royal Oak, the Ingenieur and the Pasha de Cartier. It is mainly available in 5 base variations: a time-only (ref. 5711), a complicated with moon phases (ref. 5712), an annual calendar (ref. 5726), a chronograph (ref. 5980-5990) and a (superb) perpetual calendar we described in detail last year (the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar 5740-1G). The 5712 is an evolution of ref. 3712, produced for a single year only, around 2006. The overall design is that of the venerable 5711's, with the addition of three mechanical complications.
The dial features an intense (yet not vivid) black and blue tone whose hues turn from black to white and vice versa, thanks to the horizontally embossed pattern, that is a Nautilus' hallmark. You can at first glance appreciate the attention that Patek pays to any detail, such as the three-dimensional look and feel you perceive as you rotate the wrist. The hour markers, along with the moon and the stars, are crafted in white gold and help enhance this remarkable effect.
If we try and compare this Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A-001 to its time-only sibling, the 5712 comes with a somewhat “crowded” dial: at 10 o'clock is located the Power Reserve indicator (48h when fully wound), between 7 and 8 o'clock are the date window and the moon phase display, whereas the small seconds counter is inserted between 4 and 5 o'clock. It looks, at first sight, like the different complications were spread, during the design phase, over the dial, regardless of any logic and thoroughly-thought approach, if compared to a 5726, for instance.
This chaotic approach to design is among the key factors that made this timepiece so successful, in my opinion. It is "crowded" and asymmetrical enough to make it that fascinating and stand out from the ordinary.
Looking at the case, instead, we reckon all the elements that are familiar to any Patek timepiece. Lines and proportions are meticulously balanced and make the Nautilus' style easily recognizable. The case is in stainless steel, is exactly 40mm wide (10 - 4 o’clock) and 8.52mm thick, hence not too big, nor too small, just adaptable to most wrists' size. The bracelet is light and has a combination of a satin finish mesh on the outside mated to mirror polished links in the middle.
Let's talk about the in-house movement: the caliber 240 PS IRM C LU (Petite Seconde, Indicateur de Réserve de Marche, Calendrier, and Phases de Lune, respectively) has 295 parts and 29 jewels, vibrates at 21'600 alt/hour (3Hz), is 31mm wide, and is equipped with a Gyromax balance wheel and a gold micro-rotor sporting the Patek Philippe logo. Many are the technical advantages, like lightness, reduced thickness, and less winding noise if compared to a standard solution. It is moreover fully visible through the transparent case-back.
The brand's philosophy is perfectly summarized by the claim "You simply look after it for the next generation" that, in this historical moment, we might ironically turn into "You merely look for it for the next generation." Joking apart, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A-001 is so desirable that current quotations exceed the 60,000 Euros threshold, a huge mark-up over the 36.170 Euros retail.
What do I think, in a nutshell, of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A-001? It is, with no doubt, a beautiful and timeless masterpiece. Once wrapped around your wrist it looks like a hand-tailored suit. The lack of symmetry, on the dial, might let purists wince, but I believe a 5712 aims at a different audience than the 5711 does. I think a 5712 owner is looking for an iconic model, with that touch of intriguing complexity to help him stand out from the crowd and, in particular, set him or her apart from a 5711 owner.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting by Peter Tung)