Let me begin by openly admitting: I can’t afford a Nautilus. But if a Patek Philippe Nautilus were in the cards for me, hands down it would be a a ref. 5712/1A-001. And if I was serious about buying a 5712, a co-branded “Tiffany & Co.” one would have my name all over it. So it’s too bad my bank account is a little short on funds at the moment, because this week’s edition of FULL SET features that very watch for sale: The hallowed steel Patek Philippe Nautilus, in all its modern glory, replete with the famous Fifth Avenue jeweler’s name inked on the dial – a partnership that goes back to 1851.
Not being able to buy a Nautilus has never stopped me from getting myself buzzed into a Patek salon and asking a Calatrava pin-wearing sales consultant if they have a 5712 in stock… I honestly don’t worry about the awkward scenario where I have to turn down a 5712 after they go to great lengths to produce one for me – because they’re never in stock. If you want a 5712, your best bet is to add your name to the bottom of Patek’s long waiting list or search the gray market, which bring us to this fine example. It’s currently being offered by a seller on rolexforums and comes with all the bells and whistles, including the unmistakeable robin’s egg blue Tiffany & Co. outer box and its Certificate of Origin – named and dated. With this document, you can visit the Client Service portal of Patek.com and transfer ownership in Patek’s archive to your name.
If you’re on the fence between a classically inspired ref. 5711/1A-010 and the complication-enhanced 5712, I’ll do my best to make a case for the latter. First, if you’re a fan of the clean design of the 5711, I would urge you to hunt down a ref. 3700/1A “Jumbo.” It may take some time to find one and cost you more, but if you’re already in this price bracket why not get the original Nautilus or one closer to it, like the midsize ref. 3800/1A. This is something I’d be inclined to do, especially if I could find one that came with its ultracool cork box. Whereas the 5711 is a cousin to the original 1976 version, the 5712 is a fraternal twin to its predecessor, the ref. 3712/1A, which was produced for only 1 year – 2005. The 5712 debuted in 2006 and is, for all intents and purposes, the same watch. The difference being subtle case alterations and minor dial tweaks; changes you’d need a high-powered loupe and micrometer to discern.
But owning a watch that’s closer to its original version isn’t the biggest reason nudging me towards a 5712. For me, it’s the dial that gives the 5712 the edge. Its asymmetrical layout, with subdials and indicators nestled cozily into the corners, draws me in. In my opinion, the dial is informative, not cluttered – kind of like good website design. And of course, on this particular example, you have the additional content of the “Tiffany & Co.” stamp displayed to the right of the 6 o’clock hour marker. Just like the other components of the dial, its placement is perfect: Not stacked underneath the Patek branding, but rather arranged as more of an afterthought that can go undetected by a quick glance or be picked up on by a connoisseur.
If you prefer the 5712 like I do – and are in a better financial situation than me – check out the full listing on rolexforums.com: BNIB Tiffany Dial Patek PHILIPPE 5712/1A NAUTILUS STAINLESS STEEL