When we speak of Patek Philippe, there’s always more than what meets the eye. For instance, on the surface, the brand endorses to be simple where technically advanced complications regulate most of the timepieces. But as said, there’s more to it which is lesser known to all. Many Patek Philippe watches remain excellent investment options. Here we talk about the wildly famous- ‘Patek Philippe Nautilus’.
Surprisingly, the Patek Philippe Nautilus history is closely related to another iconic watch, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. The latter’s creation brought a revolution in stainless steel luxury watches.
Patek Philippe soon developed a premium sports watch with the finest quality finish, seeing the Royal Oak embrace success. And, here comes the story. Who do you think designed Patek Philippe’s fresh new launch?
The father of Royal Oak himself, Gerald Genta, designed the famous ‘Nautilus’.
In a 2009 interview, Gerald Genta stated that he had designed the master design of the watch while sitting in a restaurant where some people from Patek Philippe were seated in the other corner of the dining hall. While sitting alone, he told the waiter to fetch him a piece of paper as he wanted to design something. And, in no time, the Nautilus was born as Genta designed the image while observing the people from Patek eating!
Eventually, the sketch that he completed in 5 minutes changed the history of Patek Philippe.
The design resembled that of a porthole. A solid, patent back case, a monobloc middle case and four lateral screws secured the notable octagonal bezel to ensure water resistance. Each of the eight sides of the bezel formed a perfect arc of a circle. This refined detail adds a lot of edge to the overall watch design.
The original Patek Philippe Nautilus came out in 1976 with a black dial boldly characterised by horizontal marked bars with tones of blue. The dial had luminous hands and a date window at 3 o’clock. A cohesive bracelet with a folding clasp enhanced the personality of the timepiece. Even though the watch’s design did not boast a high water resistance, the wide lugs with lateral ears ensured that.
Thanks to its generous size of 42mm, the Nautilus Ref.3700/1 in stainless steel was also known as ‘Jumbo’. Moreover, the watch was significantly thin, with a height of approximately 7.60mm. It was powered by Calibre 28-255 C Automatic.
FYI: Gerald Genta does not hold the credit as the inventor of the Swiss Patent of the Nautilus!
In 1978, Patek Philippe came out with a similar model, but this time with a ribbed white dial; however, in 2012, the luxury brand added the white dial Nautilus to its catalogue.
Good news for the ladies as Patek Philippe finally launched the Nautilus Ref.4700 for women. After one year, an alternative to the huge Ref.3700/1 was born with the Ref.3800/1A having a smaller diameter of 37.5mm. The watch enthusiasts well-accepted the Ref.3800/1A as it featured central seconds and the all-new Calibre 335 SC.
Ref.3710/1A came out in 1998 where Patek Philippe added a slight complication to the small date. Roman numerals boldly characterised the black dial with a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. Powered by Calibre 330 SC, the watch came in a 42mm case with a thickness of 8mm.
The next Ref.3712 was out in 2005, featuring an analogue date, moon phases, and a power reserve indicator. A gold micro-rotor with the Automatic 240 PS movement ran it, and the sapphire crystal offered a beautiful display of the calibre. Unfortunately, after only one year, the model was put down from the shelves.
After 30 long years, Patek Philippe treated fans with a new, revamped model, Ref.5711/1A with a 43mm case, and Calibre 324 SC ran it. Perhaps, the Ref.5711/1A is the most celebrated catalogue by Patek Philippe that flaunts a three-part case, and the sapphire crystal gives a clear view of the roofed movement.
The Ref.5711/1A had a refined curvature to better synchronise with the bezel. It additionally amplified the size of the screw-down crown. The model accentuated the striking blue tones on the black dial, and Patek Philippe printed its logo near the indices at 12 o’clock with new fonts.
2006 also welcomed three new Patek Philippe models. They are as follows:
The Nautilus Ref.5726 is another remarkable model launched in 2010 that features an annual calendar complication. It is the first-ever Patek Philippe stainless steel model to sport such a complication and is run by Calibre 324 S QA LU 24H.
At BaselWorld 2014, Patek Philippe launched the Nautilus Ref.5990/1A, also known as the Travel Time Chronograph, featuring dual time functionality and a column-wheel flyback chronograph. The design of this model has undergone a distinct change with two pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock respectively and two more push correctors at 9 o’clock.
The dial retains the typical Nautilus appearance and comes with a horizontal print. At 3 and 9 o’clock there are day and night indicators for local and home time. There are 2 sub-dials on the dial’s surface, and the watch looks gorgeous with the gold hands and applied hour markers.
To mark its 40th anniversary, Patek Philippe dropped two new references:
Patek released only 700 watch pieces of the Ref.5711/1P 40th Anniversary limited edition, crafted from Platinum 950. The model came with a width of 44mm, two times larger than the original with a 40mm diameter and a height of 8.3mm.
The dial of the Ref.5711/1P is a special anniversary version that yet again features the typical Nautilus horizontal embossing. It features a dark blue hue, and there’s a gradual gradation of colour from the inside to the outside that pleasingly complements the platinum tone.
The Ref.5796/1G is the second anniversary model with a self-winding flyback chronograph. Patek Philippe released only 1300 pieces of this limited edition watch which comes in a large case with a 44mm diameter and a height of 12.16mm.
The larger design of the timepiece offers a greater display of the chronograph mono-counter at 6 o’clock. The three concentric scales of the mono-counter have minute counters 31-60 (inside), 1-30 (middle), and 12-hour counter (outside).
Overall, both the models sport a blue-toned dial with 12 applied batons marked in white gold and diamonds used as hour markers and anniversary quotes.
In 2018, Patek Philippe released one of its most prestigious models, Ref.5740/1G-001 featuring a Perpetual Calendar Complication. The model is popularly known as the Nautilus Perpetual Calendar. As Patek Philippe’s slimmest creation, the watch boasts an 8.42mm high case. The architecture flaunts polished edges and bridges, and the sapphire crystal display allows the wearer to admire the beauty vividly.
The vertically satin-touched surfaces refine the design of the bezel that further makes a pleasing contrast against the polished chamfers. The slightly raised dial features the same rich blue hue from Nautilus’s 40th-anniversary edition with a horizontal imprint (typical Nautilus).
The three sub-dials integrated perfectly in the faintly rounded octagon of the dial showcase:
Enough of the white and black dials, Patek Philippe finally launched the Nautilus Ref.5726/1A Annual Calendar with a striking blue dial in BaselWorld 2019. The watch enthusiasts consider the horizontal embossing and the subtle colour graduation from blue to black as the perfect contrast for the steel case. The watch is sporty yet stylish with a 40.5mm case.
The dial displays date, day, month, moon phases, and 24-hour. Thanks to the broad minute and hour hands with luminous coating, the dial’s legibility is excellent during both day and night.
After all the hype and craze, in 2021, Patek Philippe decided to discontinue its most desirable model- the Nautilus Ref.5711/1A steel model. But the watch certainly deserved a proper farewell, and Patek Philippe ensured that. The Swiss brand launched the Nautilus Ref.5711/1A-014 with an Olive Green Sunburst dial.
The new olive green hue never existed in Patek Philippe’s catalogue, and the dial emphasised a distinct sunburst finish that immediately fascinated the watch fanatics! The fresh green colour offers the perfect contrast against the luminescent hour and hand markers in white gold. The model sports a 40mm*8.3mm case, is run by Calibre 26-330 S C movement, and the sapphire crystal offers a clear display of the beautiful movement roofed inside.
To the delight of all the watch collectors, Patek Philippe launched the Nautilus Ref.5711/1A-018 towards the end of 2021. They produced the only 170-piece limited edition to celebrate the 170th anniversary of Patek’s and Tiffany & Co’s partnership.
Referred to as Ref.5711/1A-018, the unique model comes in stainless steel, and the main defining point is the Tiffany-signed dial in its striking blue colour. A few days after its launch, Patek sold all the 170-pieces at 100% in a New York Watch Auction held by Phillips watches.
So, now you know little more about Patek Philippe, don’t you? If you go through the history (mentioned above), you can see that the Nautilus Ref.5711/1A has enjoyed the spotlight throughout. Well, there are solid reasons to back that.
Needless to say that Patek Philippe’s creations reflect prestige and quality, both in design and functionality. As said, that the experts spend months and years to curate a typical Patek Philippe timepiece. The brand adheres to strict standard protocol, such that every watch is precious.
The very name ‘Patek Philippe’ reflects sophistication, class, and refinement. Given the rich history and the stand out watch designs, it is almost impossible not to recognise the watch from a distance.
Patek Philippe’s production count is severely regulated. The brand reportedly manufactures approximately 50000-70000 watches at a given period (75% mechanical and 25% quartz). No particular model comes in bulk quantity. As a result, there is an absolute scarcity in the market, with people willing to wait for years to grab one.
You would probably agree that if there’s any luxury brand that defines versatility in the proper sense, it is Patek Philippe, and especially Ref.5711/1A. Wear it with a suit, polo, or shorts to the beach it’s just perfect! Even though the watch has started its journey as a luxury sports watch, it is now diversified.
The Ref.5711/1A has indeed given birth to an entire collection and also to the one model that is perhaps Patek’s most delightful creation so far (you know who). This will always be a notable watch to the brand, watch enthusiasts, and watchmaking history.
The kind of hype the Ref.5711/1A enjoys in the watch landscape is simply maddening! Not a Rolex or any other brand, but reports have it that the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref.5711 is indeed the most-hyped watch. Guess this is another reason to keep your eye on it!
No, it’s not a term to shush about because it’s true! You indeed buy a watch because you love it and want it. But you also cannot ignore the investment value. Only two watch brands enjoy high demand in the pre-owned market; Rolex and Patek Philippe. So, in case if you ever decide to sell your Patek Philippe, expect to fetch a lucrative amount.
Over four decades since its launch, the Patek Philippe continues to shine bright as one of the most influential and prestigious luxury watch brands of all time. You agree or not, the demand these watches have in the marketplace is commendable and will only rise in the future. So, whether to invest in one or not, the choice is all yours!
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