Not too long ago, a gold Rolex was the quintessential status symbol for a particular segment of consumers, supplanted more recently by an Audemars Piguet or Richard Mille – symptomatic of the convergence of brands, products and consumers.
Patek Philippe has caught up in that category with its Nautilus watches, especially the Nautilus chronograph in gold with a matching bracelet. But the basic Nautilus models were not available with gold bracelets (at least not in the regular catalogue), until the Ref. 5711/1R made its debut at Baselworld 2015.
Slim, elegantly proportioned and impossible to miss on the wrist, the Ref. 5711/1R fills a niche in the Patek Philippe line-up. Its dimensions are identical to the common steel Nautilus 5711/1A, with a diameter of 40mm. And the movement inside is also the same, the calibre 324 SC automatic, the brand’s basic movement that is ordinary but attractively decorated.
The case and bracelet are rose gold, gorgeously finished rose gold. All the brushed and polished surfaces are carefully and expertly finished, with enough minuscule variations to indicate the finishing is done by hand. An example is the polished flank of the bezel that extends over the side of the case; the reflections in the metal are slightly wavy.
The polished edges of the case and bracelet are particularly admirable, as is the matte blasted finish on the inside of the slot for the case screw. Even though the case finishing is identical to that of a steel Nautilus, like the Ref. 5990 for instance, the rose gold gives it an infinitely more refined look.
Decorated with the trademark horizontal stripes of the Nautilus (a stamped guilloche), the dial is a rich brown with a tone that varies according to the light. It’s finished with a subtle radial brushing, and the brown galvanic coating darkens towards the edge of the dial.
The most obvious weakness in the watch is the buckle. With a dinky, stamped safety lock on top and a friction-fit clasp, the buckle does it job but could be better.
The Nautilus Ref. 5711/1R retails for SFr45,000 before taxes, or S$65,500 with 7% GST. Its most obvious competitor is the Royal Oak “Jumbo”, which has the advantage of a more complex case and more sophisticated movement.
And the AP was also cheaper than the equivalent Nautilus, something justified by Patek Philippe’s traditional price premium over everyone else. However, with the recent downward price revision by Patek Philippe, the price differential between the two has closed, leaving them neck in neck.
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