Wait… Are we seriously saying that? Well, first of all, let’s make things clear. Nothing is official, nothing is confirmed, nothing is even remotely close to indicate that Patek Philippe’s most coveted model, the classic time-and-date blue dial Nautilus reference 5711/1A, is about to be discontinued and replaced. At least officially. Indeed, a closer look at Instagram, specifically Jasem Al Zeraei’s account, a Patek collector and specialist also known as @patekaholic, has been creating some buzz and the rumour machine that is this social network is now working. So, are we about to see an updated Nautilus soon…? If nothing is certain, the question is opened.
The perfect replica Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711, the brand’s modern vision of the steel luxury sports watch with integrated bracelet, the direct descendant of the reference 3700 introduced in 1976, is one of the most (if not the most) sought-after models on the market. While the watch retails for about EUR 30,000, finding one is almost impossible (expect an almost decade-long waiting list) and priced have sky-rocketed on the second-hand market to reach new heights, at about EUR 70,000 recently. With such a success, would it make sense for Patek Philippe to discontinue this model? At first, certainly not.
However, Jasem’s Instagram account tends to say the opposite, or at least it draws the question of the model to be soon phased out and replaced by a new reference, the 6711/1A. While even Jasem Al Zeraei/Patekaholic states that it is unconfirmed yet, Instagram is an impressive machine when it comes to rumours and discussing the possibility of a new model to be introduced. In such situations, every collector has his own opinion on things and, of course, this post has been highly discussed, with some reactions, for instance, indicating that the rumour is wrong; “Just spoke to the GM of Henri Stern, confirmed the 5711 is NOT/NOT discontinued” says for instance @patek_ambassador.
On the other hand, Patek Philippe’s CEO Thierry Stern stated multiple times that he could stop the production of the reference 5711. “If I was really courageous, I should stop Nautilus (…) We’ve made enough now,” he said to GQ here, adding that “personally, I’d like to stop producing the Nautilus (…) We seriously think about moving to something else,” in an interview to bilan.ch (in French).
What we know is that we don’t know for now. But what if we have a bit of imagination.
Let’s assume, for the fun of the discussion, that the rumour is leading towards reality. Are there signs that the Nautilus 5711 could be discontinued? Looking at the watch itself, and while the design is absolutely superb, there’s room for improvement. For instance, Patek Philippe could easily add a fine adjustment to the folding clasp, something that is missing now. Also, while other brands are implementing quick-exchange systems to switch between bracelet and strap, the 5711 can only be worn on a metal bracelet.
In the same vein, while Patek Philippe has added a stop-seconds function in 2019 with the introduction of the calibre 26-330 SC (replacing the calibre 324 SC), this movement is still having a short power reserve of only 35h-45h. An update of the Patek Philippe Nautilus time-and-date could refresh the model and bring some of the features that the competition is now offering.
Now comes the question of commercial matters? Why would Patek Philippe discontinue the 5711 and replace it with a new model, knowing it is one of the most desirable watches on the market? Well, the answer is simply here. The 5711 might have reached its peak in popularity and Patek could somehow want to make its client happy by avoiding that the watch loses some of its interest, and coincidentally, some of the premium linked to it. How to do that? By stopping production and launching a new model. The effect of discontinuation has been proven in the past when Patek stopped the production of the white dial 5711. It used to be a slightly neglected model but once it was phased out, prices on the second-hand market quickly raised to almost reach the prices of blue dial versions. But remember that all of that is pure speculation and based on rumours.
Another possibility could be the introduction of a larger model, just as Patek did with the Aquanaut, adding to the collection the reference 5168G, with its 42mm case. Could Patek bring a “jumbo” Nautilus with a 42mm case?
As always, feel free to discuss this question of the discontinuation of the Nautilus 5711. Do you think it is realistic? Do you think it will happen soon or do you think Patek Philippe will maintain the watch as it is now? And if it is replaced, what would you like to see in a new Nautilus? Share your thoughts with us in the comment box.