The death of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 was greatly exaggerated. The brand today has announced the successor to that most hyped and sought-after of luxury sport watches, and it's familiar, to say the least. What's different about it? It's 41mm wide, one millimeter bigger than the now discontinued 5711, it comes in white gold — and it's called the 5811/1G.
Those, at least, are the most substantive differences, and looking at pictures of the new reference it might be hard to tell it apart from the 5711 — which Patek shockingly announced last year would be discontinued. There are some more subtle differences, and the changes indeed amount to justifying a new reference number, but the 5811 should fundamentally satisfy the sky-high demand for the 5711. The same appeal is there, and those who want the watchmaking icon will still (theoretically) have a chance to get it.
Of course, what people really want is this watch in steel, but Patek Philippe is holding back on that for the time being. Just like the 5711 came in different case materials and dial colors, however, there's no reason not to expect the same from the 5811 line down the road. It features the same automatic movement (visible through the caseback) as the 5711 produced in recent years, and it's got all the little cues that have become familiar on that watch, including the gradient blue dial with its horizontal pattern.
Other differences in the 5811 will be more noticeable to Patek's most dedicated fans. The case construction, previously of the three-part variety, is now only two parts. It seems to reference the historical 3700 which also had a "monobloc" two-part case — and which was also considered "jumbo" and even larger than the 5811 at 42mm. With this case, there is no caseback that can be opened and the movement is accessed from the dial side. Another notable update is a new adjustment system for the bracelet.
The quintessential Patek Philippe Nuatilus is now 41mm, up from 40, following the exact move in dimensions of Rolex's Submariner in 2020. Will the world's most iconic watches moving in this direction turn the tide of watches trending smaller in recent years? In a 2021 interview with the New York Times, Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern had teased that "the replacement for the Reference 5711 will be pretty big." One millimeter certainly can make a big difference in watches, but we don't expect the 5811 to significantly change the wearing experience or desirability of the Nautilus.
The new generation of the Patek Nautilus is, in many ways what fans want: they want the 5711, an essentially perfect watchmaking formula that wasn't broke or in need of fixing. Some predicted the new version would lack a date window or even that the brand could experiment with the likes of untraditional case materials like titanium. Although there's no reason the brand couldn't surprise us down the line with those kinds of updates, for now we got an exceptionally conservative Nautilus update despite all the hype and anticipation around it.
Retail price for the new Patek Philippe Nautilus 5811/1G is $69,790, about double that of the most recent 5711 in steel — of course, retail prices for such watches typically not being reflective of what they'll cost you to actually get your hands on.