Watches: Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref 5990

By Thierry Ané on April 15, 2014

One of Gerald Genta’s most famous designs, the Nautilus enjoys a legion of aficionados. So much so that Guido Mondani Editore even pubished a very detailed opus, “Collecting Nautilus and Modern Patek Phillipe Wirstwatches”, with a special emphasis on this iconic luxury sports watch. As for every legend, the release of a new version is always a big deal and the recently unveiled Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref 5990 surely gets talked about!

Although it is also equipped with a column-wheel flyback chronograph, the newcomer that will replace the Nautilus Chronograph Ref 5980/1A, adds a second time zone function with two day-night indicators for local and home time as previously seen on the Aquanaut Dual Time Ref 5164.

For the combination of these functions, the development of a new calibre was necessary. Called CH 28-520 C FUS, this self-winding movement is composed of 370 parts, 34 jewels and a Gyromax balance. Beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph, it offers a power reserve of at least 45 hours and is finished in the highest level possible like the rest of the production bearing the prestigious Patek Philippe seal. Its beauty can be observed through the sapphire exhibition case back.

The black dial maintains the typical Nautilus decoration with the signature horizontal embossed ridges of the original model and its understated light to dark gradation radiating outward. The baton-shaped gold hands and hours markers filled with SuperLuminova are also characteristic of this model. For the rest, a lot of effort has been made to keep the dial legible despite the large number of indications.

The date and chronograph functions have been placed vertically in two sub-dials at 12 and 6 o’clock respectively. In perfect symmetry, the day-night indicators for the local and home time respectively appear in small windows at 9 and 3 o’clock. The second time zone is indicated by a skeletonized central hand that can be hidden behind the hours hand when at home. All in all, the dial looks perfectly balanced and faithful to the Nautilus design codes.

The 40.50 mm stainless steel case with a thickness of 12.53 mm presented more of a challenge. As everyone would understand, it was paramount to preserve the hinged case shape that has made the Nautilus so famous. Two quick correctors for the second time zone (backward and forward) were necessary, however, in addition to the two chronograph pushers placed at 2 and 4 o’clock like on previous models. Patek Philippe’s designers managed to hide them at 9 o’clock shaping them like the previous hinge, thus preserving the signature shape.

The Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref 5990 is fitted with a stainless steel bracelet with the same brushed and polished finishes as the case and will retail for US$ 57,300. Design-wise, the watch looks stunning and the additional dual time function is truly very useful. There is no doubt this model will be as successful as its predecessors.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: