The official word is out that the 5711/1A-010 stainless steel blue dial has been discontinued. Last year the white “piano” 5711 was also discontinued. Before we all get angry and shellshocked and cry bloody murder, let’s ask ourselves rationally why Patek would pull such a thing and what chance in hell we have of obtaining the old or the new one at retail price (or on the grey at market price for that matter)?
Let me answer the easier second question first. The probability of me obtaining one at retail price is infinitesmally more than finding Jules Verne’s Nautilus in the ocean. Yup, zero.
The first question as to why Thierry Stern decided to pull the plug on the current 5711, only he knows but I suspect it had something to do with how he runs his company, passion. He is simply passionate about watchmaking and not business making. Patek has thrived two centuries of watchmaking producing predominantly precious metal pieces and historically most of their most iconic pieces reign precious metal.
Let’s just all relax (as if we would ever get one anyways) and realize that he knows what he is doing and will steer his production and company to maximize their craftsmanship i.e: he wants to drastically improve an already outdated model. Let’s admit that the mechanism, and not necessarily the exterior was in dire need of an upgrade. The 26-330 SC movement had a maximum 45 hr power reserve, no hacking seconds and a relatively underwhelming caseback. I realize that this allowed the case to be as thin at it is and that was in large a great part of this watch’s appeal but 2021 buyers demand more power reserve and updated movements more resistant to shock. Although I’ve never handled one, owners remark that the 5711 case and bracelet lacks robustness and even to the point of flimsiness. I actually prefer dainty and light watches so I wouldn’t complain but the rigours of today’s life require a sports watch to withstand substantial G-forces. It also makes perfect sense to include all their most technologically advanced improvements in their most decorated model.
So bravo Thierry, you have discontinued the outdated 5711 because you want to improve on Patek’s most desired and impossible model. It would be a very safe hedge to say that hopefully the movement will be updated to a greater power reserve and a more shock resistant movement. Whether the date remains shall be seen but I think that in keeping with the original 3700 tradition, it would be insulting to King Gerald not to include the date window. I shall also venture to note that the case and bracelet will be beefed up to be more filled and sturdy thus making the watch necessarily heavier. An also much needed upgrade is the current flimsy clasp which I think will be similar to the Aquanaut clasp or better yet the 5740G clasp. In absolute terms, the 5740G clasp mechanism is the best in the business.
I have debated whether the watch would be produced in stainless steel or precious metal and again, I really don’t think Patek would stray from the original stainless steel 3700 and therefore the A suffix will remain. The rose gold 5711 remains so that segment has been covered. But I staunchly believe Patek will still produce the new 5711 in stainless steel in honour of its designer. That is not even in question although Thierry has often downplayed Patek’s stainless steel production. I can see his point. Patek has traditionally been renowned for its stunning precious metal masterpieces which over centuries has been linked with complicated mechanisms and he doesn’t want the company to be associated with the relatively new craze of stainless steel sports watches. Out of the Nautilus lineup, the stainless steel 5711 most represents the original Genta 3700 design in 1976 and I don’t see Patek altering its design and material in direct homage to the original. And if they do, many purists would still want it but they would not be pleased. They can revolutionize the other Nautilus models but the 5711 should respectfully remain similar.
In terms of nomenclature, what will the new Nautilus be christened? 6711? I think most likely the first number will most likely be 6 for all new movement Pateks for gentlemen. The second digit will be 7 for that line of Nautilus case but the last two digits are up in the air.
Although case size may increase with the new Nautilus, I don’t think Patek will alter its dimensions appreciably, again in keeping with tradition and even if they do the differences will be too minimal to notice.
Patek will have to incorporate something distinguishing to differentiate it from the outgoing model. And that’s where I think they will change the dial colour. The outgoing blue was a greyish gradient blue which was a little dull. I’m hoping they match the 5740g blue which is more radiant and special. I believe that Thierry also finds the current dial dull and will brighten up the hues to give a more youthful and energetic sporty look and less dressy.
The last change will be the price. Because of the new movement and aesthetic changes and just because it will be a new model, Patek will increase the price. But is retail price really relevant to anyone searching for a stainless steel Nautilus? None of us mere mortals will ever climb Mount Olympus to obtain one.
Is it an overhyped and overpriced watch? Absolutely. There is essentially only one complication. Wearability I presume is fantastic and the watch carries significant pedigree. Is it really worth what the grey market price commands? Of course not. For that price I could obtain multiple higher horology pieces at retail. But do I still want one? Hell yes, I am just like everybody else. I want a 5711 or whatever the new one will be named. Even if the watch is not a horological masterpiece just the work and thrill of the chase of obtaining one is worth it for me.
For the new 5711, I don’t want to be blown away 180 degrees, I want small and perhaps subtle evolutionary improvements. I will harbour resentment if Patek modifies too much too soon. You can blow me away with other Nautilus references or even other Patek models but not this iconic one.