Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712

For this pictorial, we are going to look at the Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 5712.  Yes, we know.  To some of you, it is a bit like expecting Beyoncé, and getting Solange instead, but hear us out.  Whilst the Nautilus 5711 lives rent-free in some collectors’ minds and grail lists  (and just how a stainless steel 3 hander with a non-hacking movement could achieve this should be a business school case study), the 5712 in steel is arguably the – and I can’t believe we are using this term for anything with a Patek Philippe imprint – better value proposition. 

Photography by Ronald Chew

by Terence Tee

  • April 22, 2024
photo 2024 04 03 10 20 28

Usually, watches with complicated dials have a reason for arriving at that particular design.  A chronograph would require sub-dials, be they two- or three-dial set-ups.  And there is just so many ways to display them on limited real estate.  Ditto for small-seconds, and any calendar complications.  Sub-dials are meant to separate auxiliary or secondary functions on the timepiece from the core function of time-telling.  The sub-dials also (should?) work in concert to provide easy-to-read functionality.

And then we have the Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 5712.  Its three dials have completely separate functionalities – a power indicator, a small seconds sub-dial and a moon-phase-slash-date sub-dial, arranged asymmetrically on the dial in such a haphazard manner that robs it of a fair few hour markers.  Symmetry be damned!  This head-scratcher of a combination does not, and should not, work on paper, but somehow gained something in the transition from design to actual watch.


The Nautilus Reference 5712 stays true to the design cues of the original Nautilus Reference 3700 and its predecessor Reference 3712.  The original design of the Reference 3700 was based on the shape of the porthole of a transatlantic liner.  It featured a wide bezel and ‘ears’ at each side evoking the large hinges of the watertight windows.  The key design cues are so distinctive that no-one will be mistaking the Nautilus for anything else, that is for certain.

The Case and Bezel

Not all Nautluses (Nautilii? Where is Jules Verne when you need him?) are made the same way.  Whilst the Nautilus References 5980 and 5990 are housed in more substantial cases on account of their complications and case materials, the Reference 5712 (and 5711) is housed in a sleek and low three-part case.  Similar to its predecessor, the Reference 5712 measures 40mm – between 10 and 4 o’clock, right in the sweet-spot of modern sports watches.  The construction of the three-part case is, not to belabor the point that this is a Patek Philippe after all, of the highest quality.  The vaguely octagonal-shaped bezel has a brushed finished with polished beveled edges.  It is flanked on either side by the curved ‘ears’.  Be warned that the polished surfaces will not remain unmarked for long if this serves as a daily desk-diver.

The Dial

Right, the dial of the Reference 5712.  This might be the only part of the write up where you have to read twice and go back-and-forth to the photos.  The largest sub-dial is the moon-phase date dial, which takes up almost the entirety of the lower left quadrant, coming to within a whisker of the handset.  The small seconds sub-dial takes up the lower right quadrant of the dial, bullied out of symmetry by its neighbour.  Happily, the last and smallest sub-display is the power reserve indicator.  Sitting meekly on the upper left quadrant of the dial, it doesn’t rob the dial of any hour markers or lume plots.  Because of the sub-dial layout, the Patek Philippe logo is placed on the right upper quadrant.  It almost seem like an after-thought placement.  As the days come and go, the asymmetry of the sub-dials irks you less and less.  Pretty soon, you will learn to live with it, and even appreciate the horological chaos on your wrist.  At least that is what we tell ourselves.

The Bracelet

Just as is the case for the err…case, the bracelet of the Reference 5712 is superbly finished, with beveled, polished and granular surfaces.  The steel bracelet of our particular specimen has virtually no stretch, despite being well-traveled on many desks.  The flat polished central links will most likely be accurate markers of the watch’s adventures on your wrist.  Just like the case, the bracelet is made lithe.  Does a sports watch deserve something a little more substantial, like the bracelets Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin put on their sports watches?  Sure, but a beefier bracelet would distort the Nautilus’ silhouette.  So this is very much a well-considered design decision.

The Movement

The reference 5712 is powered by Patek Philippe’s in-house Calibre 240 PS IRM C LU (for petite seconde (small seconds), indication de réserve de marche (power reserve indicator), calendrier et lune (date and moon)), which is visible through the sapphire case-back.  It features 29 jewels, a straight-line lever escapement, shock absorber mechanism a self-compensating flat balance spring and a monometallic balance, adjusted to cold, heat, isochronism and 5 positions. The 22k solid-gold micro-rotor is finished in classic Patek Philippe style, replete with Côtes de Genève.

In the time it was in the possession of TBC, the Reference 5712 kept excellent time.

Just One Last Thing…

The 5712 should not work.  Its differently-sized subdials are haphazardly thrown onto the main dial.  But it just does.

The Nautilus is a perfect daily wearer watch for those of you who can afford it; it has wrist presence for sure.  The slimness of the case and the unintrusive design of its bracelet means that the watch would slip under any cuff with ease.  It remains one of the most comfortable watches to wear for TBC staffers.   We have been fans of the Nautilus line, but after sampling this Reference 5712, we are whole air-conditioners.

Here is a thought – maybe don’t lust after the 5711 anymore, and get its (slightly cheaper on the grey market) sibling.  


BrandPatek Philippe
Case MaterialStainless steel
Case Diameter40mm
Case Height12.2mm
Water Resistance30m
MovementCaliber 240 PS IRM C LU
WearsSmaller than its 40mm suggests

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