Have you seen the new Patek Philippe Nautilus Annual Calendar Ref 5726/1A-014? It was part of the brand’s 2019 Baselworld collection. You may well have overlooked its debut. It didn’t create a whole lot of buzz. After all, it’s not a new watch. Not in the traditional sense anyway. More of a line extension. Its arrival did result in some changes to the steel 5726 range though. Which has had a noticeable knock-on effect on the secondary market. Thus prompting the question: is the Patek Nautilus Ref 5726 a good buy?
A (Very) Brief History Of The Patek Nautilus Ref 5726
In 2006, Patek Philippe unveiled four models to mark the 30th anniversary of the Nautilus collection. This was a big deal at it was the first the time the brand had made changes to the original 1976 design by Gérald Genta. Subtle changes mind you. Nothing like what Emmanuel Gueit did to the Royal Oak design in 1993, resulting in the Royal Oak Offshore. A watch that most definitely divided opinion.
Patek’s revisions meanwhile were popular with collectors. A slight rounding of the hinges framing the dial. A three-part case. And so on. Of the four original models, two remain in the collection today. The Ref 5711/1A and the Ref 5712/1A. The 5980/1A meanwhile made way for the upgraded Ref 5990/1A. And the diminutive Ref 5800/1A disappeared altogether.
Four years later, the Nautilus family expanded again. Joining the line-up was the new Ref 5726. The first steel watch from Patek Philippe to feature an Annual Calendar. (See below if you don’t know what an Annual Calendar is). Again, this was a big deal at the time. This complication was previously reserved for more traditional dress watches. So, putting it in a steel luxury sports watch was an unexpected move to say the least.
What is an Annual Calendar?
If you’re not familiar with this complication a brief explanation is useful. An Annual Calendar accounts for months with 30 and 31 days. That means it only needs correcting once a year on the 1st of March. The display usually incorporates the date, day, month and moonphase indicator. Patek Philippe invented the complication in the mid 90’s. A patent was granted in 1996 and it debuted in the Ref 5035J. Although less complex than a Perpetual Calendar, some view it as more practical. It’s generally also more accessible price-wise.
On its classic pieces, the annual calendar indications were usually shown on sub-dials. The porthole shape of the Nautilus case didn’t lend itself to this design though. Neither did the clean lay-out of the dial.
So instead, the brand came up with a novel display using three apertures. The day of the week and the month appear in two windows side-by-side below 12 o’clock. The date window meanwhile integrates into the sub-dial at 6 o’clock. Complete with 24-hour indication and moon-phase display. Offering excellent legibility, it is immediately recognisable today.
Making it less sporty, the first Ref 5726 came on a leather strap only. It still had a stainless steel case and featured a gradient black dial. Inside was the calibre 324. The same as in the Ref 5711. On top was an Annual Calendar module. This model still exists in the collection as the Ref 5726A-001.
The All Steel Ref 5726/1A
Two years would pass before Patek offered the Ref 5726 with a matching steel bracelet. This coincided with the introduction of silvery-white dials to the Nautilus collection. Until this point the dials were dark. Either gradient black or gradient blue. I won’t say these white dials were super popular. But they found their niche.
For the purposes of our story though, the white-dial Ref 5726/1A-010 with steel bracelet was now available. It was joined by the complementary Ref 5726/1A-001 with a gradient black dial. Both offered exactly the same specifications as the original.
The steel bracelet opened up the Ref 5726 to a wider audience. But it wasn’t what I would call a huge hit with collectors. Especially the white dial version. For many years you could pick one up for a sizeable discount on the secondary market.
That began to change in early 2018 as Nautilus-fever started to take hold. Prices were creeping up albeit slowly. In April of this year though, they jumped on a rocket-ship to the Moon. Want to guess why?
The Patek Philippe Ref 5726/1A-014
The answer is the Patek Philippe Ref 5726/1A-014. The arrival of this blue-dialled beauty marked the end of the road for the earlier models. Both the white and black dial versions of the Ref 5726/1A are discontinued. The black dial 5726A is still available, of course. But only on a leather strap, not a metal bracelet.
This is not a bad thing mind you. The new model introduces an attractive gradient blue dial. Transitioning from blue at the centre to black at the dial’s periphery. It gives the watch a more contemporary look, opening it up to a younger audience. It also brings it more in-line with other Nautilus models.
Outside of the colour change, the Ref 5726/1A remains the same as its predecessors. This means a steel 40.5mm case standing 11.3mm tall. Water resistant to 120m. Contrasting satin-finished and polished surfaces. An integrated steel bracelet with Nautilus fold-over clasp. And the ultra-thin Caliber 324 S QA LU 24H/303 inside. Visible through a sapphire display back, of course.
Price And Availability
Retail price of the Patek Philippe Ref 5726/1A-014 is USD 45,930. I don’t have any official information on availability. This is a steel Nautilus though, so expect it to be limited. If history is anything to go by though, it won’t be as popular as other models.
Is The Patek Ref 5726 A Good Buy?
This is a tough question to answer. The waitlist on the new model is likely to be long. And that’s assuming you want a blue dial. If not, your only option now is the secondary market. And prices have sky-rocketed since Baselworld.
Most white dial versions I’ve seen have USD 80,000+ price tags attached. Although it’s not clear if they’re selling. Or indeed what the final sale price is. In any event this seems crazy to me. These are the same watches that were selling for less than half that 2 years ago. At this price, it’s hard to imagine you’ll ever realise a return on the watch. Particularly once the hysteria dies down and the speculators move on. That’s assuming you want to sell it on.
The Ref 5726/1A has never been as popular with collectors as some of the other Nautilus models. Whether this will change now that some versions have been discontinued, I can’t say.
It is still a great watch, there’s no doubt about that. But it may make sense to hold off buying one until the heat dies down. Unless you’re looking to flip it to make a quick profit. In which case I think that ship has sailed.
Technical Specifications: Patek Philippe Nautilus Annual Calendar Ref 5726/1A
- Case: 40.5mm diameter x 11.3mm – stainless steel case, polished and satin-finished – sapphire crystal front and back – screw-down crown – 120m water-resistant.
- Dial: Blue, black gradated – horizontal embossed pattern – centre hour, minute hands with luminescent coating – gold applied hour markers with luminescent coating – central seconds – annual calendar with date, day, month shown via apertures – moon phases – 24-hour indication.
- Movement: Calibre 324 S QA LU 24H/303, in-house, Patek Philippe Seal – automatic with 21k gold central rotor – 28,800vph – 35h to 45h power reserve – 347 parts.
- Price: USD 45,930.