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AP Royal Oak vs. PP Nautilus: A Comparison for Future Shoppers to Consider

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Hi,

I am in the midst of deciding between an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding 15400 (APRO) and a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 (PPN). I wanted to share my thinking, because I am sure others in the future will be deciding between these two watches, I thought that sharing my assessment might be helpful. You, of course may arrive at the opposite conclusion as me based upon preferences and priorities.

I assessed both watches with the attribute outline used by Watchtime Magazine in their review of watches. I used my assessments from direct observation at ADs, company published information, third party online reviews and internet watch enthusiast anecdotal information from forums as my sources of information to assess each piece. I tried to be as objective as one can when going about something that is inherently muddled up in preference and emotion.

Please feel free to disagree because there are no absolutes in these types of comparisons and assessments. For example, I scored the 15400 a 13 out of 15 in overall value whereas I scored the 5711 a 10 out of 15 in terms of overall value. My scoring was based upon the premium price that PP charges for the Nautilus. It has great resale on the secondary market to counter this premium, hence my score. I scored the 15400 slightly higher due to its nearly $15,000 difference in price from the 5711, despite having a poorer value on the secondary market. My point is that you might rate things differently.

What I hope that you find helpful here is the detailed information on how the product attributes differ and a framework for comparison.

Summary:

What I hope that you can see from the table below and my detailed assessment that follows is the watches score amazingly close to each other. Each watch has advantages over the other in the different areas of assessment. Both are iconic designs so its pretty much a draw here outside of personal aesthetic preference (which is important). My personal assessment ended with a slight edge to the APRO, but it can easily go the other direction (see below).

Table 1: Assessment Summary

15400vs5711_zps7462cec7.jpg

While both are iconic designs, my personal assessment saw advantages in the 15400 in its bracelet construction, operation, movement design and overall value. I saw advantages in the 5711 in its case design, legibility, wrist comfort and rate results.

A Case for the Royal Oak

If the quality of the bracelet, having hacking stop-seconds, a quickset date, a rugged movement and the overall value proposition of the watch is important and modest water resistance, dial legibility and average rate results are not as important to you; youll pick the APRO 15400.

Table 2: Advantages and Disadvantages of Royal Oak

apro_zpscf7f9cd5.jpg

A Case for the Nautilus

If having higher water resistance/crown guards, dial legibility, wearing comfort and rate results is important and bracelet, non-hacking seconds and paying a price premium is not as important to you; youll pick the PP 5711.

Table 3: Advantages and Disadvantages of Nautilus

PPN_zps9ed09908.jpg

So I hope that you can see how each watch can have their fans and detractors based upon an individuals aesthetic preferences and priorities but in actual fact they are quite closely matched. This is how some collectors say one is hands down superior to the other. I think in the end, each company has positioned their product by differentiating based upon bets on strengths and weaknesses. Below are the details of my assessment of each watch. One can always argue the assessment ratings as being fair or unfair, but I have articulated my rationale for each. Yours of course may differ and as a result the scores may change.

Detailed Analysis:

AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK SELF WINDING

Bracelet and clasp (max. 10 points): A beautifully crafted, case integrated bracelet, somewhat heavier in construction, with more pronounced brushed texture to it. It has screwed link construction and a mechanically locking, double-folding clasp. It does lack any form of micro-adjustment. Score = 9

Operation (5): Straightforward operation of an hours/minutes/seconds date watch with a large screw down crown with a quick set date reset mechanism that changes at midnight and has a hacking stop-seconds function. Score = 5

Case (10): A beautifully crafted, distinct octagonal case with brushed surfaces and a polished bezel, a display case back. It does however have an unprotected, screwed crown but only has water resistance of 50 meters. Score = 8

Design (15): A historic design with distinct presence and a case that integrates with its bracelet. It is a modern interpretation of a luxury sports watch. The dial is a unique silver color with an embossed textured pattern that changes by angle and complements the brushed and polished steel surfaces. Score = 15

Legibility (5): White-gold hands provide some contrast against the silver, textured, patterned dial with modest lume for night-time viewing. The date window however is small and may be difficult to read for some. Score = 3

Wearing Comfort (10): The 15400 is moderately slim in case height and is a heavier weight watch to wear for its size. It wears large for a 41 mm watch and is probably best suited for wrists >7 in size. The owners say that the bracelet is comfortable to wear albeit with some wrist hair pulling by links. Score =7

Movement (20): A beautifully crafted, decorated, relatively new (~10 years) automatic manufacture caliber. It operates at 3Hz, uses bi-directional winding and has a relatively long power reserve (60 hr.). It is a thick movement (4.3 mm) with a double screwed balance bridge that may be rugged and incorporates hacking stop-seconds to set the time. Score = 18

Rate Results* (10): The AP 3120 is supposed to operate between -3 to +12 seconds/day on the wrist according to AP. It is supposed to have good rate results when regulated, however anecdotal owner feedback suggest some need to be regulated post-purchase at APSC. Score = 6

Overall Value (15): The Royal Oak is an AP (a venerable atelier and one of the big three) and the watch that is perennial in its demand among luxury watch enthusiasts. It does not hold its value like a PP on the secondary market. Its retail price and the considerations typically afforded by ADs, prices it at >$10k (USD) below the Nautilus 5711. Score = 13

TOTAL: 84 points

* Based on company information, published reviews and anecdotal reviews by owners on watch enthusiast forums

PATEK PHILIPPE NAUTILUS

Bracelet and clasp (max. 10 points):

A nicely finished, elegant looking bracelet with pinned links and a case integrated design with lightly brushed and polished links. It relies upon a friction based, double-folding clasp to remain closed. Surprisingly, the bracelet lacks screwed links, a micro-adjustment or a positive locking clasp. Score = 6

Operation (5): Straightforward operation of an hours/minutes/seconds date watch with a large screw down crown. Its date reset mechanism that does not change precisely at midnight and no hacking stop-seconds function to help set the time. Score = 3

Case (10): A beautifully crafted case with brushed surfaces and a polished bezel with sculpted crown guards, a display case back with a screwed crown with a water resistance of 120 meters. While wide at 43 mm, it sits nicely on wrists of all sizes. Score = 10

Design (15): A historic design with sculpted surfaces integrating crown guard and bracelet into a refined, modern interpretation of a sports watch. The dial is a unique deep blue/gray color with horizontal embossed stripes that complements the brushed and polished steel surfaces. Score = 15

Legibility (5): White-gold hands contrast against the deep blue/gray dial with excellent lume for night-time viewing. The date window however is small and may be difficult to read for some. Score = 4

Wearing Comfort (10): It is slim in case height and is a light weight watch to wear. Owners say that the bracelet is extremely comfortable to wear albeit with some wrist hair pulling by links. Score = 9

Movement (20): A beautifully crafted, decorated, well established (~10 years on 324 and 20 more on 315) automatic manufacture caliber. It operates at 4Hz, uses uni-directional winding, precision stamped gears and has a relatively modest power reserve (35-45 hr.) and incorporates a high-tech silicon hairspring. It is however a slim movement (3.3 mm) and may be less resistant to wear challenges. It also does not have hacking stop-seconds to assist in setting the time. Score = 15

 

Rate Results* (10): The PP 324 SC is known for its excellent rate results in impendent published testing (Calibre 315 in 2007), anecdotal owner feedback and the stringent published rate requirements of -3, +2 seconds/day of the PP Standard. Score = 10

Overall Value (15): The Nautilus is both a Patek, long considered the premier watch company and a watch that is perennial in its demand among luxury watch enthusiasts. It holds its value excellently on the secondary market. Its retail price along with the minimal price consideration afforded to customers by ADs, prices it at a >$10k (USD) over the AP 15400. Score = 10

TOTAL: 82 points

* Based on company information, published reviews and anecdotal reviews by owners on watch enthusiast forums

Sorry for the long post, I did not have the time to write a shorter one!

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Very thorough analysis. I'd give design more points, give the nod here to PP and would pick the Nautilus in a landslide over the 15400, but what works for you is most important. I had the 15300 and found it be too flashy-- the Nautilus is much more understated.

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Very well done in a seriously analytical style.

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It makes we curious to hear your music (making an assumption from your username)

Can't really go wrong with either piece.

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I graded them evenly, not trying to introduce my subjective preference bias. Both are iconic Genta designs with unique cases, dials and integrated bracelets. Obviously, some prefer one over the other. Both are distinct, neither are "vanilla". Hence the 15 of 15 rating for each.

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Very well thought out and informative review. I prefer the Nautilus but understand the love for the RO. I have wanted one for awhile but have not been able to chose between the 15300, 15400, or the 15202. Then deciding on all gold or stainless and my mind goes blank.

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Guys, I definitely agree that there is an argument to be made that the 15202 is a better comparison for all the points listed despite not having a seconds hand or a screwed crown. I made the assessment because I was interested in a second hand and more rugged movement. The price difference between a 15202 and 5711 is still substantial, well beyond the $4,200 difference in MAP when AD price consideration is factored between the two watches (on the order of a 116610 LN).

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There is a wonderful comparison of the 5711 vs 15202 it may be of some interest, if you havent seen it, it is a bit dated as the 15202 has been updated (40th anniv) in a few subtle but significant ways that i am confident would have changed the results a bit.

Together with your thorough & detailed review, it would be an exceptionally comprehensive gathering of data.

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Search for this:

"Jumbo vs Jumbo

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202ST"

By Robert-Jan Broer

Fyi the changes were

*Dial layout (+)

*Date wheel color (+)

*Clasp (+)

*Rotor (~)

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I had read that excellent posting (thanks for mentioning it).

The 15202 Jumbo improvements that you cite are aesthetic (aside from the clasp) and will come down to the eye of the beholder. In the end, if you need a seconds hand and you have any inkling of getting it wet, I suspect most will end up wanting a 5711 unless the aesthetics of $7-$10k lower "street" price difference compel you.

My personal view (your mileage may differ) is that the product offerings of AP and PP are positioned as follows:

sporttodress_zps829e2a6b.jpg

I used the examples of a Submariner as a "sport watch" and a Jules Audemars Ultra-Thin or a Calatrava 5119 as "dress watch". I suppose you can argue where a 5167, 15400, 5711 and 15202 exactly fall within the spectrum that I have illustrated, but in my opinion; that is how they fall. The two-handed nature of the 15202, the finissage of its rotor, its ultra-slim movement make it dressier than the 5711. The slim profile of the 5711 with its polished surfaces make it dressier than the larger, bolder, brushed surfaced 15400, and lastly the rubber strap of the 5167 and its Arabic chapter ring make it the most casual.

So in simple terms, I think the 5711 is positioned between the 15400 and 15202 based on product attributes. Some think the 15202 is the better match (history to boot) and some like myself compared the watch to the "left".

$.02

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