Reviewing the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph

Reviewing the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph

Arthur Touchot
By Arthur Touchot May 21, 2014

When Patek Philippe and Gerald Genta revealed the Nautilus back in 1976, they knew the design was going to surprise many. It was Patek’s first sports watch, and the high-end watchmaker made the rare choice of making it entirely out of stainless steel. It was a bold and confident move from one of the oldest and most traditional manufactures. Patek have since revisited Gerald Genta’s iconic design, and this year, decided to endow it with a Travel Time function. Here’s a look at the new design. 


The Travel Time function, previously seen in the Aquanaut, the younger sports watch by Patek Philippe, displays the time in two different time zones, via the “Home” and “Local” indicators at 3 and 9 o’clock respectively. Both can be seen at a single glance of the watch.

One of the most stunning features of the new Nautilus ref. 5990/1A is the beautiful contrast between the brushed steel of the bezel and the polished case sides and pushers. This contrast is echoed in the mixed finish of the bracelet, which overall makes for a much sportier model than the Nautilus Chrono (ref. 5980/1R), which it replaces.


The black brass dial with horizontal embossing is, however, a nice nod to its predecessor. The dial feels even more dynamic though, thanks to two subdials that display a circular date scale at 12 o’clock, and a 60-minute register for the chronograph at 6 o’clock. The new subdial at 12 o’clock means Patek has had to make a clever adjustment, shifting its logo down and placing it within the 60-minute register.

Subtle variations in the design of the four hands mean the Nautilus doesn’t compromise on readability. Priority is clearly given to the local hour and minute hands, which share a baton shape, while the home hour hand is skeletonized. Finally, the chronograph seconds hand is sword-shaped so it’s discreet but easy to find.


Because it’s made out of lightweight stainless steel, the new Nautilus wears comfortably on the wrist, and despite appearances, it’s quite slim too – the new calibre measures only 6.95mm in thickness.

The 40.5mm stainless steel case retains the DNA of the 1976 Nautilus, with two large pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock for the column-wheel flyback chronograph function. Setting of local time is remarkably easy, thanks to two pusher-style correctors at 9 o’clock that adjust the local time zone “up” or “down” by 1-hour increments.

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The new Nautilus features a new self-winding calibre, the CH 28-520 C FUS, with a minimum power reserve of 45 hours, which powers the chronograph, date, day/night, and travel time complications. The exquisite finish on the movement can be seen through the sapphire case back.

Overall, it’s a very well thought out sports watch, combining useful functions in a balanced and intuitive design. The Patek Philippe 5990/1A is priced at $57,300. For more information, please visit Patek Philippe.