Predictions: How feasible is the supposed Patek Philippe 6711 Nautilus “leak”Zach Blass
Editor’s Note: There is no official confirmation regarding the launch of a Patek Philippe 6711 Nautilus. Anything written below is pure speculation weighing up the potential veracity of the current rumours and is not representative of any correspondence with Patek Philippe.
Watch forums are always rampant with watch mock-ups and predictions. The guessing game, in a way, is half the fun. For the watch community, the speculation before trade fairs such as Watches & Wonders is akin to superhero fans trying to figure out what is to come in the next phase of films from the Marvel Universe. We don’t always have official or accurate information, but that doesn’t stop our imaginations running riot. Sometimes what we predict even comes to fruition – we saw this, to an extent, with the Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue last year. Recently, forum posters have shared an alleged “leak” from Patek Philippe: a new 6711 Nautilus with some interesting switches to their design. While we have no official confirmation any of this is true, let’s have some fun and work through the feasibility of what has been posted online.
What does the alleged 6711 look like?
According to the rumours shared across various forums, there will be two 6711 Nautilus watches: The 6711/T in titanium and 6711/P in platinum. The titanium watch is alleged to have a blue sunburst dial and the platinum version a sunburst gray, both with white-gold applied indices and white-gold hands. The dials do not look all that different from the previous 5711, sharing the horizontally striped guilloche motif to the dial. But there is one glaring and crucial difference: no date window aperture at 3′. The cases, allegedly, will become one millimetre larger at 41mm in diameter and will remain 120 metres water resistant. The bracelet finishing remains the same, but these posts mention one crucial upgrade: two positions of micro-adjustement on each side of the butterfly clasp. Lastly, in terms of the movement, the caliber listed is the 324 S.
Why the extra millimetre for case diameter?
A 41mm diameter is in line with what’s popular in the current marketplace. As we saw with the Rolex Submariner this year, the case jumped from 40mm to 41mm. It is not hard to believe Patek Philippe shared the same logic, ultimately creating a watch that will likely seem only larger on paper than on the wrist. Perhaps it would also result in a greater but subtle taper to the case, or simply longer porthole flanks to the case. Of all the specifications alleged, this is arguably one of the least outlandish for a new Patek Philippe watch.
It would be a bold pivot to take the watch from steel to titanium, but at the same time the material shake up would potentially make the watch more interesting for the Stern family. Introducing the watch in a new metal would further modernise the Nautilus, and their usage of titanium in a standard production watch would be a big move. Patek Philippe does in fact produce watches in titanium, but in very limited quantities. Titanium watches are also typically priced higher than stainless steel, further driving up the price point (potentially increasing margins on sales as well).
The only arguments I could make against titanium ever happening, besides it being a notoriously difficult metal to work with, is that titanium is not always perceived as a high-end material by traditionalists or those who associate luxury with heft. The watch would become considerably lighter and, as a result may have less gravitas on the wrist for some people. Then again, the rise in popularity of wildly expensive brands like Richard Mille shows that tastes are beginning to evolve. But I repeat: Patek Philippe’s usage of titanium has so far been reserved to extremely limited productions such as their “Advanced Research” references.
No date window and an older movement?
This is also where it gets really interesting. Date windows seem to have become a must-have dial complication for the mass marketplace. The Submariner Date is so much more popular than the Submariner that people now misname the watch as the ‘Submariner’ and ‘Submariner no-date’. While watch enthusiasts often harbour ambivalent feelings about date windows, it should be stressed that many buyers who manage to leap-frog the waiting list to get allocated a Nautilus are not watch geeks, but high new-worth individuals who’ve managed to develop a relationship with their AD through repeat purchases.
Assuming this “leak” is entirely made up, I have to give the user credit here. When you take into account the alleged removal of the date window, the listing of the 324 S is consistent with what technology Patek Philippe has used in the past. The 324 SC stands for 324 Seconds and Calendar, while 324 S indicated the removal of the calendar complication. As of now the 26-330 SC movement has yet to be produced without the date complication, or at least used in a watch without one, so assuming a 26-330 S has not been developed behind the scenes the 324 S would be the correct caliber to list. But that assumes that no new movement was developed for the hypothetical 6711.
The 324 S has been used in watches without date apertures on the dial such as this New York Exhibition Pilot Calatrava Limited Edition in steel (above). The 324 S in that watch does not even have cutouts for the date. In fact, Patek Philippe fabricated a custom mainplate specifically for that caliber inside – which effectively was a mainplate without a circular cutout for the date disc.
The setting is also slightly different – it only has a two step setting lever and the intermediate setting wheel is also a completely different part than what you would find in typical 324 SC movements. By listing the 324 S as the caliber in the alleged leak, it shows a deeper knowledge of the brand and what they are currently producing.
Does this mean the “leak” is more feasible? Not necessarily. It would be very odd for the Nautilus to return to a 324 series caliber and not utilise some form of the newer 26-330 SC found in the 5711 prior to discontinuation. It would just seem odd for Patek Philippe to return to an older generation caliber.
I would think it is much more likely the 226-330 SC would have a customised mainplate as well. These watches are not rushed to market, therefore I am inclined to believe Patek Philippe would take all the necessary R&D steps to realise the best version of the watch they could produce. And even if they didn’t rework the movement a bit, the caveat, of course, is there could still be a date wheel hidden below the dial. If Patek Philippe utilised the 26-330 SC as is, it would just mean they would need to sort out the removal of a “ghost position” in the crown.
I can’t see why this would hurt the offering and, considering the ladies Nautilus has this feature already, it is entirely possible. But the truth is the links are already quite compact in length, so I doubt it would really make or break the fit of the watch even if it did not happen.
Of all the new listed specs this is the most likely element to appear on a new men’s Nautilus watch.
The truth is that what comes next for the Nautilus lineup is completely unknown. Hopefully we will all have a better picture of what is to come after Watches & Wonders in April. Until then, the speculation will continue to rage.