Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref. 5990 Buyer’s Guide

Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time 5990 on its side next to a Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time 5990 Tiffany & Co. dial standing upright

When most people think of the Patek Philippe Nautilus, it’s typically the classic time-and-date version of the model that first comes to mind. Back in 1976, when legendary watch designer Gerald Genta first created the Nautilus, the only complication he included in its design was a date display. However, the Nautilus has since expanded into an entire collection of timepieces that offers a diverse assortment of complications, and sitting firmly on the complex side of the spectrum is the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph reference 5990, which pairs the brand’s signature dual-time complication with a flyback chronograph, and presents it inside a larger and chunkier version of the brand’s iconic Genta-designed case.

About the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref. 5990

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5990/1A-011

While the Nautilus itself has been around since the mid-1970s, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990 is a more recent addition to the brand’s lineup that first debuted in 2014 as a more complex sibling to the standard Nautilus Chronograph. Originally offered exclusively in stainless steel and fitted with a black gradient dial (ref. 5990/1A-001), the first major update to the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph series occurred in 2021, when Patek Philippe introduced a solid 18k rose gold version of the model that featured a blue sunburst dial and was fitted with a matching rose gold bracelet (ref. 5990/1R-001).

However, these two models were only offered alongside each other for a very short amount of time, and Patek Philippe discontinued the stainless steel Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph 5990/1A-001 the following year in 2022. With that in mind, just a handful of months later, a stainless steel model returned to the lineup in the form of the ref. 5990/1A-011, although it now featured a blue sunburst dial that incorporated the same radial gradient effect that can be found on its black dial predecessor. As of December 2023, Patek Philippe continues to produce both blue dial versions of the reference 5990 Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph, although examples of the discontinued black dial model can still be found on the secondary market.

Nautilus 5990: Flyback Chronograph with Travel Time Complication

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5976, 5990, and 5980

The Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990 essentially takes the core platform of the standard Nautilus Chronograph (ref. 5980) and gives it the same highly practical dual-timezone complication that can also be found on other fan-favorite Patek Philippe models such as the Aquanaut Travel Time 5164 and Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524. Rather than featuring a date window like the regular Nautilus Chronograph, the reference 5990 Travel Time Chronograph displays the date with the register positioned on the upper half of its dial, while the lower register is a 60-minute totalizer for its flyback chronograph complication.

One other key difference separating the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5990 from the regular Nautilus Chronograph ref. 5980 is that while the ref. 5980 has a dual set of hands inside its sub-dial for tracking both elapsed hours and minutes, the Travel Time Chronograph 5990 omits the hour totalizer entirely and is therefore limited to measuring events up 60 minutes in length. However, the additional dual-timezone functionality that the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990 gains more than makes up for the shorter duration of its chronograph, and Patek Philippe’s Travel Time complication is often referred to as one of the most convenient and practical approaches for mechanical travel watches.

Since Patek Philippe’s signature Travel Time complication opts for a dual set of 12-hour hands, a corresponding pair of day/night indicators appear on either side of the dial to help users easily distinguish between AM and PM hours for both local and secondary timezones. Part of the genius of this approach is that the two symmetrically-shaped hour hands can be stacked on top of each other and synchronized to create a cleaner display when a secondary timezone is not needed. Additionally, since the local hour hand can be jumped either forwards or backwards in on-hour increments by simply pressing a set of buttons on the side of the case, Patek Philippe’s Travel Time complication lends itself particularly well to frequent travelers who often find themselves navigating between different timezones.

While the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph 5990 features a set of pushers on the right-hand side of its case that are used to operate its flyback chronograph, the additional pair of push-pieces for the Travel Time compilation have been rather cleverly integrated into the protrusion that already existed on the 9 o’clock side of the Nautilus’s case. Rather than just being a hinged part of the case structure, this familiar protrusion has been split down the middle with each side functioning as a button to allow users to jump the local hour hand either forwards or backwards in one hour increments, without ever having to unscrew the winding crown or remove the watch from their wrist.

Patek Philippe 5990 Key Features:

  • Model Name: Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph
  • Reference Numbers: 5990/1A-001 (discontinued); 5990/1A-011; 5990/1R-001
  • Year of Introduction: 2014 (5990/1A-001); 2021 (5990/1R-001); 2022 (5990/1A-011)
  • Materials: Stainless Steel; 18k Rose Gold
  • Case Diameter: 40.5mm
  • Thickness: 12.53mm
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, date display, dual timezone w/ day/night indicators, 60-minute flyback chronograph
  • Dial: Black Gradient (discontinued); Blue Gradient; Blue Sunburst
  • Crystal: Sapphire (flat)
  • Crown: Screw-down
  • Water Resistance: 120 meters
  • Movement: Patek Philippe Caliber CH 28‑520 C FUS
  • Strap/Bracelet: Integrated H-link bracelet w/ butterfly style folding clasp
  • Retail Price (2023): $68,600 USD (5990/1A-011); $118,280 USD (5990/1R-001)

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5990 Variations

As of December 2023, there are three different Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph references, although only two of them are currently still in production. While the original stainless steel ref. 5990/1A-001 with a black gradient dial was discontinued in 2022, it was replaced with the blue gradient dial ref. 5990/1A-011, which remains in production alongside the rose gold ref. 5990/1R-001 that is fitted with a blue sunburst dial.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5990/1A-001

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5990/1A-001

The reference 5990/1A-001 is the original version of the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph that first debuted in 2014 and was produced until 2022. Crafted entirely from stainless steel and fitted with a matching integrated H-link bracelet, the most significant detail separating the discontinued Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph 5990/1A-001 from its current-production counterpart is that it features a black dial with a gradient effect that darkens towards the outer edge, instead of having a blue dial like its contemporary equivalent. Additionally one minor difference between the ref. 5990/1A-001 and its two current-production siblings is that its integrated bracelet features the older style of Nautilus clasp that includes an additional fold-over latch instead of having an integrated extension system.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5990/1A-011

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5990/1A-011

Released in 2022 as a replacement for the ref. 5990/1A-001 that was discontinued earlier that same year, the reference 5990/1A-011 is the current-production version of the stainless steel Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph. Rather than being fitted with a black dial like its predecessor, the ref. 5990/1A-011 showcases a blue sunburst dial with a radial gradient effect that brings it aesthetically closer to the rest of the contemporary Nautilus collection. One other key detail that separates the current-production Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph 5990/1A-011 from the previous stainless steel version of the model is that the clasp has been updated to feature a seamless butterfly-style design with an integrated extension system built into each side that enables instantaneous tool-free adjustments.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5990/1R-001

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5990/1R-001

Crafted entirely from solid 18k rose gold, the reference 5990/1R-001 is the top-of-the-line model from the current Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph series that was first launched in 2021 and introduced the updated clasp design with the brand’s integrated extension system. Similar to its current-production stainless steel sibling that was announced the following year in 2022, the rose gold Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph 5990/1R-001 also features a blue sunburst dial, although it lacks the gradient effect that darkens to black towards its outer edge, and this helps to create a brighter and more luxurious overall appearance. Additionally, rather than featuring white gold hands and hour markers like its stainless steel counterparts, the ref. 5990/1R-001 features these same details in rose gold to better complement its fully rose gold external structure.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph 5990 Price Information

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5990 Tiffany Dial on a black foam background

As of December 2023, the official United States retail prices for the Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph are $68,600 USD for the stainless steel ref. 5990/1A-011 and $118,280 USD for the ref. 5990/1R-001 in 18k rose gold. With that in mind, securing either one of these models at a retail level is going to be a rather difficult task, as just like the rest of the Nautilus collection, global demand for the Travel Time Chronograph far exceeds the available supply of watches at a retail level, and all examples of the Patek Philippe 5990 trade hands on the open market for values that are significantly greater than their original retail prices.

Generally speaking, the most affordable version of the Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph is the discontinued black dial ref. 5990/1A-001, although even the absolute least expensive examples still trade hands above the six-figure price point on the secondary market. Since the reference 5990/1A-001 was produced from 2014 until 2022, it is currently more plentiful than its blue dial successor (which was only just released in 2022), although this ratio will inevitably begin to shift the longer the blue dial variant remains in production. Additionally, since some ref. 5990/1A-001 watches have seen years worth of daily wear, condition can vary more significantly among the available examples, and this further helps to increase the range of prices for Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph 5990/1A-001 watches.

Both at retail and on the open market, the 18k rose gold ref. 5990/1R-001 is the most expensive version of the Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph. However, the current-production stainless steel ref. 5990/1A-011 and its rose gold sibling both currently trade hands for values that are significantly more than twice their original retail prices. Additionally, once Tiffany & Co. dials start to come into play, the additional premiums associated with these rare co-branded variants of the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990 can routinely reach well into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Unless you happen to have a very good relationship with your local Patek Philippe boutique and can acquire a stainless steel ref. 5990/1A-011 at a retail level, all other Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph watches will set you back somewhere north of six figures. However, the reference 5990 offers both a flyback chronograph and a highly innovative dual-timezone complication, which makes it one of the most technologically complex versions of Patek Philippe’s signature Gerald Genta-designed integrated bracelet watch.

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