With the Nautilus 5711 now gone, three independents look to usurp the integrated sports watch throne With the Nautilus 5711 now gone, three independents look to usurp the integrated sports watch throne

With the Nautilus 5711 now gone, three independents look to usurp the integrated sports watch throne

Zach Blass

I know that 5711 Nautilus talk is getting a bit old. Run ending green dials, Tiffany blue dial madness, $6.5m dollar bids at auction etc. But now it really is gone. Done. The Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711, across all metals, have been removed from the catalogue. While this discontinuation has skyrocketed the secondary premiums of the Nautilus up even further, it has also left a gap, and therefore an opportunity, for a different manufacturer to take the integrated sports watch throne at retail.

The obvious collection to inherit this so-called throne is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Sure, AP came out in full force last month in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak. But its anniversary could not have coincided with a better time: the end of the 5711. Stronger than ever, the Royal Oak, while second to the Nautilus in terms of secondary premiums, has always been an equally well-crafted luxury sports watch – in fact, four years the Nautilus’ senior. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas, at times overshadowed by the Royal Oak and Nautilus, is another integrated sports model which has enjoyed surging popularity as of late. As one of the three “holy trinity” watch manufacturers, it is fair to say that, if the Royal Oak is the primary successor to the throne, Vacheron’s Overseas is not far behind in the line.

The Germans cannot be left out of the conversation either. The A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus has really intrigued buyers, with a distinctly Lange take on the high horology steel sports category. But, technically speaking, while a sports watch it is not an integrated design. Its bracelet may sit flush to the case, but its links are not integrated into it. The shared problem between the three aforementioned watches, however, is they remain incredibly elusive to purchase at retail. It still seems there are hoops that buyers must jump through in order to score any of the three. This is where three new usurpers, from three independent brands growing stronger and stronger by day, have time to shine, with offerings that are becoming increasingly compelling and have the potential to sway the gazes of luxury watch buyers.

Czapek Antarctique

The Czapek Antarctique is by no means a new collection. You’ve read about the line on the site before, whether the collaborations with our friends at Monochrome and Fratello Watches, or in our segment, that is admittedly long overdue for another installment, Don’t Feed the Hype. This week, however, two new colourful entries into Antarctique collection have emerged. Czapek has said themselves it was not a very well kept secret, as these pieces were shown at Dubai Watch Week – and therefore many of the fair’s visitors shared the watches online on social media. But the official announcement means they can now actually be purchased – the Glacier Blue variant a standard production model and the Salmon variant a limited edition of 99 pieces. The stamped dials achieve their meticulously crafted colour tones via two different means. The Glacier Blue colour is achieved through a PVD treatment, while the Salmon tone is realiaed through a “galvanoplastie” galvanic treatment. As for its case and bracelet design, the Antarctique has distinguished itself through its scalloped case flanks and “C” link quick-release interchangeable bracelet – the “C” shape, of course, a tribute to the brand’s name.

Through its exhibition caseback, you can see the attractive in-house calibre SXH5 movement inside. Its aesthetic is very modern in appearance, but also leverages the traditional know-how you find with high horology timepieces. Some of the blackened bridges have frosted surfaces, but many are also skeletonized which affords a greater view of the gear train and the blackened and frosted mainplate beneath. All of the edges of the bridges are handsomely bevelled and chamfered, even the recycled platinum rotor adorned with top-notch finishings. True to a sports watch, the SXH5 has a full balance bridge and it manages to pack in at least 56 hours of power reserve into a single barrel.

Case Material Stainless Steel
Case Dimensions 40.5mm x 10.6mm x 45mm
Water-Resistance 120m, screw-down crown
Dials Glacier Blue, Salmon stamped “flinqué”  dials with the officially registered “Stairway to Eternity” pattern
Straps Integrated stainless steel bracelet with easy-release system. Optional leather or rubber strap included
Movement In-house calibre SXH5
Power Reserve >56 hours on one single barrel
Complications Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Price $22,000 USD (excl. tax)

Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto

Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto

If anyone were poised to overthrow a Patek Philippe watch, who would be more capable then the watchmaker who formerly worked in their Advanced Research Department – Laurent Ferrier. Laurent Ferrier watches are known for going where Patek Phillipe does not dare to go, while also upholding a quality of build and finish that is equal, if not better, than the legendary brand. Many have wanted a Nautilus watch in titanium, bringing a classic design into the future. But that vision is a bit murky at present, the future of the Nautilus shrouded in mystery. Laurent Ferrier, however, have an answer to this desire: a new grade 5 titanium time and date sports watch dubbed simply the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto. Its cushion case will cater well to a range of wrist sizes, 41.5mm in diameter, 12.7mm thick, and 47.6mm lug-to-lug (similar dimensions to a Rolex Submariner for reference).

Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto

Blue, of course, is a ubiquitous tone in watchmaking – appreciated for being both colourful, while also neutral enough to pair with a variety of wardrobes. The Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto’s blue dial distinguishes itself with an opaline finish and a subtle gradient that is very attractive to the eye. Its “drop” hands and hour indices, along with its sub seconds register, give the watch a vintage flair that adds class to the sporty design. Speaking of sporty aesthetics, the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto has a lot of brushed surfaces with hints of polished surfaces to inject a bit of elegant flair. The case’s bezel and flanks have polished bevels. The tapered and polished bevels to the case flanks seamlessly continue into the outer shoulders of the three-piece link grade 5 titanium bracelet. But not only are the outer link shoulders executed with polished bevels, the raised central links have elliptical mirror polishing to their outer flanks as well.

Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto

Inside the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto ticks a new in-house calibre LF270.1 that carries a very clean aesthetic, and an architecture that allows for an ample view of the gear train. The bridges have a rich hairline brush, with their outer edges exquisitely chamfered. Its micro-rotor bridge is entirely black polished, and the platinum micro-rotor itself is intricately hand-finished. I could go on and on. But to quickly summarize just how much hand-finishing is involved, each LF 270.01 calibre requires more than 139 manual finishing operations. This insane attention to detail is why you see such drool-worthy brushed, circularly grained, polished surfaces, and several internal angles all created by hand with traditional tools such as gentian wood and diamantine. The balance may not have a full bridge, as some would appreciate more with a sports watch, but it does boast a weekend-proof 72 hours of power reserve off the wrist on a full wind.

Case Material Grade 5 titanium
Case Dimensions 41.5mm x 12.7mm x 47.6mm
Water-Resistance 120m, screw-down crown
Dial Gradient blue with opaline finish
Straps Grade 5 titanium integrated bracelet
Movement In-house calibre LF270.1
Power Reserve 72 hours
Complications Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Price CHF 46,000 (excl. tax)

Urban Jürgensen One ref. 5241

Now in regard to the “integrated sports watch throne”, technically, like the Lange Odysseus, the bracelet sits flush to the case – it is not integrated into it. But also like the Odysseus, the Urban Jürgense One ref. 5421 has become a mandatory point of conversation when it comes to worthy alternatives to watches like the Nautilus. When we published our Don’t Feed the Hype entry regarding alternatives to the Nautilus ref. 5711, based on feedback from you all, it was very clear that the One ref. 5241 was a fan-favourite – and for good reasons. Like the other two intriguing independent references above, its design ticks off many of the boxes we appreciate from a watch like the Nautilus. But, as the Sport Auto and Antarctique do, it does so in distinct fashion with a design that irrefutably cannot be called a copycat or homage. Where the One stands out, from all sports watches really, is through its elliptical forms on both the case and bracelet.

Another point to note is that this is not a 2022 novelty like the previous three watches, so it is not a particularly new challenger. It is, however, crucial to note that ownership of the Urban Jürgensen brand has recently changed, with venerated watchmaker Kari Voutilainen now taking the helm. As high horology lovers know, Voutalienen watches are highly sought after. Anything Voutilainen attaches his name to becomes a hot commodity, the Schwarz-Ettiene Roma Limited Editions for example selling out very quickly. As I said before, the One collection has already established itself as a contender against the Nautilus. But with Voutilainen on board, the One, and the brand as a whole, is going to get even more interesting.

Case Material Stainless steel
Case Dimensions 41mm x 13.8mm (including crystal)
Water-Resistance 120m, screw-down crown
Dials Charcoal Grey, Soft White, or Urban Blue wave guilloché dials
Straps Stainless steel bracelet
Movement In-house calibre P5
Power Reserve 72 hours
Complications Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Price  $28,900 USD (excl. tax)