Perhaps I changed a bit during the last few years or at least my taste did, but I am warming up to gold watches. Not only did I think they were often too gaudy, tacky or whatever label you want to use, I also was of the opinion that certain watches should be in stainless steel only. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus are perfect examples of that thought.
However, like I wrote, I am warming up to gold watches and even gold versions of these classic stainless steel luxury sports watches. Not how Gerald Genta meant them to be perhaps, but as long as it is done with the utmost respect to the original design, I can be fine with it. However, I am still a bit of a purist and am torn between the real deal in steal or the warm colour of gold. Since it is a watch that shouldn’t be worn during sports anyway in my opinion, gold can certainly be used for a watch like this.
When I first saw this piece I just shrugged my shoulders and thought to myself that the stainless steel Nautilus reference 5711/1A or the vintage 3700/1A is the one that I would like to own some day. Period. But when I had my appointment inside the Patek Philippe booth in Basel and got to see and try the new Nautilus in gold, I wasn’t so sure about that anymore.
The new Nautilus in gold is an amazing looking watch, even on a pale skin like mine I think I could get away with it. Where the stainless steel version – which I often tried – feels comfortably light (there is still enough weight to ensure you the watch is still there), the gold version has a much bigger presence. The weight of the gold does not make you forget what’s on your wrist. Besides the weight aspect, the presence is also there because of the warm colour of gold. Due to the very recognizable type of finish on the case and bracelet, this watch will never look tacky or flashy in gold.
A gold Nautilus isn’t something new. Actually, the first Nautilus reference (3700/1A) was also produced in gold in those late 1970s. Later Nautilus models were also available in gold (like the reference 5980 chronograph), but never the reference 5711/1A. Patek Philippe decided to use rose gold for the case and bracelet and instead of the blue/green-ish dial in the stainless steel version; they’ve picked this warm chocolate brown colour for the dial. It gives the watch a very classy look and makes you forget about the fact that a Nautilus should be a stainless steel watch only.
Actually, it made me wonder whether a gold Nautilus 5711/1R is something a purist can get away with. Besides the fact that there actually was an original 1970s 3700/1A in gold, you can debate whether the current 5711/1A isn’t already too far away from the original 3700/1A series for a purist (here is a comparison between the 3700/1A and 5711/1A). The see-through case back, the second hand and the fact that it isn’t a monocoq case anymore, already makes the 5711/1A a modern interpretation of the original 3700/1A.
The best solution perhaps would be to own an original Patek Philippe 3700/1A in stainless steel and have the Nautilus 5711/1R in rose gold as a modern watch. See how I am looking for excuses to own both? The new Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1R is a great example of how it should be done in gold. A job well done by Patek Philippe. The Genta adept in me probably will always crave for that mint condition 3700/1A in stainless steel, a rose gold 5711/1R on the wrist would make that hunt a bit more bearable.
Price: CHF 45.000,- Swiss Francs (excluding VAT).