The history of Patek Philippe Nautilus is closely related to the history of another iconic timepiece, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Founded in 1972, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak defines a new category of stainless steel luxury watches.
Following the increasing success of Royal Oak, Patek Philippe decided that it should now develop an exclusive sports watch with the highest quality finish.
For Patek Philippe, this new model plays a key role in its overall marketing strategy because it must refresh its brand image while continuing its tradition. This goal is represented by a new generation of dynamic business managers.
If it weren’t Gerald Genta, the father of Royal Oak, who could be the designer of this new watch?
In an interview in 2009, Gerald Genta remembered that he had designed this cheap swiss watches and later named it Nautilus at the Basel Expo: “I was in a restaurant restaurant, Patek Philippe Some of them are sitting in one corner of the cafeteria. When I was sitting alone in the other corner, I told the waiter: “Bring me a piece of paper and a pencil, I want to design something. “I designed Nautilus while watching the people of Patek Philippe eating! The sketch I made in 5 minutes.” The following illustration of Genta is based on this initial sketch.
The inspiring idea is the shape of the porthole, as can be seen on the liner on the Atlantic coast. This patented case consists of a sturdy back cover / middle case, and a unique octagonal bezel is fixed on it by four side screws to ensure waterproof performance. The eight sides of the frame are cleverly curved to depict a perfect arc. From the design point of view, the subtle details are very different.
The main feature of the black dial is a horizontal embossed strip with blue tones, and it is coated with a luminous platinum baton hour markers, luminous hands and a date window at 3 o’clock. The fully integrated bracelet with foldable bracelet adds personality to the watch.
The name of the watch is taken from Jules Verne’s novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, in which Nautilus is the submarine used by Captain Nemo. This is a lucky choice, although the new watch is actually not a professional diver, even though it offers 120 meters of water resistance due to the special structure of the case. In fact, the combination of wide ears and side ears provides a uniform compressive force on the rubber gasket, making the watch case more resistant to penetration when the water pressure increases.
The original Nautilus model was 3700/1 stainless steel, which was finally launched in 1976. This model was later nicknamed “Jumbo” due to its large size. At that time, a diameter of 42 mm was considered quite large. The watch is also very thin, only 7.60 mm in height.
In order to power the watch, copy Patek Philippe uses the Jaeger-LeCoultre 920 automatic winding movement 28-255C. The first Audemars Piguet Royal Oak model 5402 and Vacheron Constantin 222 also used the same movement.
In 1978, Patek Philippe created a prototype, which was a ribbed white dial manufactured by the Stern Freres dial factory, the same as the black dial. It is worth mentioning that in 2015, this ultra-rare prototype was sold at Sotheby’s in Geneva at a high price of 250,000 Swiss francs, which confirmed the interest of collectors around Nautilus. It wasn’t until 2012 that Patek Philippe added the white dial version of Nautilus to its catalog.
In 1980, Patek Philippe launched Nautilus for Ladies (reference number 4700). One year later, the diameter of the medium reference size 3800 / 1A was reduced by 37.5 mm, replacing the large size of the initially obtained model 3700/1. Watch enthusiasts reacted coolly.
The model 3800 / 1A is equipped with a central seconds hand and the new 335 SC movement, which is the result of Patek Philippe’s decision to develop its own ultra-thin movement.
Patek Philippe (Patek Philippe) launched reference number 3710 / 1A in 1998, adding complexity to small dates. The black dial-without bars-features Roman numerals and a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. The case accommodates a 330 SC caliber, a width of 42 mm, and a thickness of 8 mm.
The next step is in 2005, using a triple complication model-reference. 3712-With power reserve indicator, analog date and moon phase. Powering the 240 PS self-winding movement, it is equipped with a gold micro-rotor and sapphire crystal to show the exquisite movement.
Reference 3712 has a short life. In fact, it was discontinued after only one year (pleased by many collectors), because Patek Philippe launched a new generation of Nautilus models in 2006.
30 years after the initial establishment of Gerald Genta, Patek Philippe launched a revised model number 5711 / 1A, the case is slightly larger, the diameter is 43 mm, and the dial center seconds Patek Philippe (Patek) 324 SC movement provides power for it.
Compared with the model 3700/1, 5711 / 1A introduces a new three-part case, the case bottom cover is a separate part, and integrated sapphire crystal to display the movement.
The outline of the “ear” changes slightly with a delicate curvature to better align with the bezel. The size of the screw-in crown is increased. The blue hue of the black dial is more prominent, and the Patek Philippe logo is written in a new font and is closer to the index position at 12 o’clock.
The 5711 / 1A bracelet also introduces a more comfortable double folding clasp. The mirror-polished central link becomes more square. In the same year, Patek Philippe also launched the successor of 3712, number 5712.
As long as the new case is slightly larger, the reference can prove that there have been several changes to the dial: the blue hue is enhanced, the date numbers are reversed from 9 to 23 for better identification, and the date and moon phase counter Big. The 7 o’clock mark has no space left (and the 6 o’clock mark has been rounded), the hands are slimmer, and the small red dot indicated by the power reserve is 4 instead of 3.
But the novelty is not yet complete. In 2006, the new Nautilus Chronograph 5980 was also introduced in a 44 mm case with a new automatic chronograph movement. The Nautilus 30th Anniversary Series also includes the number 5800, which is a narrower version of the Nautilus with a width of 38.4 mm on the hinge.
Over the years, the Nautilus series has continued to expand, offering male and female styles made of stainless steel and precious metals. This outstanding model is the model 5726 exhibited at the Basel International Watch and Jewellery Show in 2010. This movement has an annual calendar complication and is powered by the 324 S QA LU 24H caliber. It is also Patek Philippe ’s first stainless steel watch with an annual calendar complication.
Recently, at the 2014 Basel World Watch and Jewelry Show, the new Nautilus Travel Time chronograph 5990 / 1A was launched, adding a double chronograph function to the column wheel flyback chronograph.
In 2016, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the birth of this model, Patek Philippe launched two new models: the platinum three-hand 5711 / 1P and the platinum flyback chronograph 5796 / 1G.
Both models feature new blue tones on the dial, 12 white gold applied batons, diamond-set hour markers and anniversary recognition.
In 2018, Patek Philippe launched the first Nautilus model with perpetual calendar complication, which is one of the most prestigious watches in watchmaking. You can read more about the exclusive Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740 / 1G-001 is in our demo article.
Following the black and white dial versions in 2010 and 2012, Patek Philippe finally launched the Nautilus 5726 / 1A calendar with a blue dial at the 2019 Basel International Watch and Jewellery Show, which is the color of the original model of Nautilus.
Patek Philippe Nautilus, especially reference number 5711, is still one of the most prestigious and desirable sports fake luxury watches on the market today.