Insider: Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990/1A. Hands-on with the Perfect Travel Companion.

Presented during Baselworld 2014 as we reported it here, but already an icon within the Nautilus collection in just a couple of years, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990/1A brings the best in design and functionality from the legendary manufacture from Geneva. The latest complication within the Nautilus line is the perfect travel companion thanks to its sophisticated Travel Time function that indicates the time in two different time zones at a single glance. Additionally, this Patek combines the functionality of a 60-minute chronograph and a date indicator. Now, the coveted Nautilus chronograph has been enriched with the useful Travel Time function as reflected in its name Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph Ref. 5990/1A.

The Dial

Equipped with a stainless steel case measuring 40.5 mm in diameter, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990 features a black gradated dial —with color hues varying anywhere between a true grey and a charcoal grey. The dial, featuring all the design cues of the iconic Nautilus line, features a 60-minute chrono register at 6 o'clock, dual time zone indicating 'local' and 'home' time with day/night apertures —white for the day and dark blue for the night— at 3 and 9 o'clock, date indicator for the local time at 12 o'clock and an second time zone hand for the 'local' travel time. The chronograph seconds are indicated by the central sweeping seconds hand. The pictures below, clearly depict how the dial varies in hue depending on the lighting conditions.

The properly display a second time zone, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990/1A has two hour hands on the same axis. The lower one is skeletonized, and the upper one matches the style of the minute hand. The skeleton hand displays home time while the solid hour hand indicates local time. At home, where both times are identical, the two hands are superposed. When the owner moves to another time zone, the hour hand for 'local' time —travel time— can be adjusted in one-hour steps with the pushers on the left caseband. On eastbound trips toward the sun, the local-time hand must be adjusted counterclockwise and incremented in the opposite direction when traveling westbound. The skeleton hour hand is not affected by such corrections and continues to display 'home time'.

To be the chameleon that it is, the dial features a slight bright-dark gradation from the center to the periphery and features the familiar horizontally embossed Nautilus pattern accentuated with ten applied luminous hour markers in 18K white gold.

The Crown, Pushers & Date Corrector

The Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990/1A is fitted with two sets of pushers on both sides of the caseband and a screw-down crown that makes it water resistant to a depth of 120 meters. While the first set of pushers located on the right side of the case —next to the crown—, activate and reset the chronograph function, the second set of pushers on the left caseband operate the travel time functionality.

However, in order to preserve the hinged case shape of the iconic Nautilus without compromising aesthetics, Patek added these two pushers in a very inconspicuous way without altering the overall look of the watch. In the picture below, you can hardly notice that on the left side of the case there are two pushers. While the top pusher advances the independent travel time hand, the one below, backs it. Lastly, with the end user in mind, Patek Philippe added a date corrector at 1 o'clock near the top right pusher to ease the date setting operation.

The Bracelet

The Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990/1A is fitted with the same type of stainless steel bracelet as other Nautilus references, but slightly thicker. While from a design standpoint we feel the look of the bracelet is flawless and a true icon, its construction is still somewhat light. Regardless, the bracelet is exquisitely finished with satin brushed outer links and highly polished center links featuring the Nautilus fold-over clasp with safety lock.

The Movement

The Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990/1A is powered by the Patek Philippe automatic calibre CH 28-520 C FUS composed of 370 parts, 34 jewels, Gyromax balance and which provides a power reserve of 55 hours when fully wound, while beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph. The calibre is beautifully finished with the classical Patek touches and fully visible via the display case back. While this watch features complications already found in other Patek Philippe timepieces, the way they are combined in the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph is a premiere. It called for the development of the new caliber CH 28-520 C FUS movement in which the chronograph mechanism, a traditional column wheel design with an innovative disk clutch, is supplemented with the Travel Time mechanism. This ingenious device dates back to a patent granted to Patek Philippe in 1959. It not only facilitates the bidirectional adjustment of local time in one-hour increments, but is also totally isolated from the going train when time-zone settings are changed. This prevents adverse effects on the amplitude of the balance and the rate accuracy of the watch.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and with stunning wrist presence. World travelers be prepared to add this exceptional timepiece to your collections as we are confident that you will enjoy having this new Nautilus on your wrists. The unique color of its dial, makes this watch very easy to match with almost any outfit.

Sticker Price $57,300 USD. For more info on Patek Philippe click here.