A revolution took place in Geneva in 1976: the launch of a luxury watch in a steel case. The world of horology was perplexed and skeptical because time still advanced at the comfortable pace of the 20th century: Luxury timepieces are made of gold—or better yet with precious-metal bracelets— and, sometimes taking things a step further, with diamond hour markers and diamond-set bezels. At the same time, manufactures were competing against each other to develop thinner and thinner wristwatches. And suddenly, this oversized watch in stainless steel emerges; it is not only more expensive than many gold watches in those days, it also violated all convention with its prominent size and extravagant shape. Most surprisingly, it was the highly respected Patek Philippe workshops along with Gerald Genta that changed everything in the luxury category. An ongoing paradigm shift had been observed. Many wealthy individuals were very active, not only in their professional lives but in their leisure activities as well. They were at the helm of sailing yachts, raced down icy runs, and went running in Central Park at dawn to stay in shape. This new generation loved challenge and pursued dynamic lifestyles. A precious, scratch-prone gold dress watch, with its delicate movement, did not suit their everyday lives. Such timepieces were de rigueur at elegant evening events but were not what busy managers and entrepreneurs wanted to wear at the office, on the tennis court, or during a weekend golf game. Patek Philippe anticipated this trend well in advance and responded to it in 1976 by launching the Nautilus Ref. 3700 – a totally new type of watch. While it was designed to appeal to a new customer segment, it was also intended to convince current Patek Philippe owners to complement their precious gold one with a ruggedly strong” alternative in a steel case. Both objectives were attained by a wide margin and an advertising campaign helped convert the iconoclastic style of the Nautilus into a principle. The headline “It goes with a wet suit as well as with a tuxedo” drove the point home.
People who remember construction details of old cruise ships will notice the resemblance of the Nautilus case with the classic porthole whose round window was also pressed to the frame with a hinge and tension bolts. The result: the Nautilus was water-resistant to 120 meters, a sensation for a regular-production casual watch by 1976 standards. This gave owners the reassurance that the Nautilus would be a loyal companion even under the most arduous circumstances.
A fresh accent: Rose gold.
So far, Patek Philippe Nautilus models have been available in stainless steel and in yellow or white gold as well as in rare platinum versions. Now, one of the new large-format Nautilus watches comes with a captivating rose-gold case, creating a beautiful contrast of warmth and functional elegance. To underscore the aesthetic appeal of the material combinations, the dials were also reworked to match the cases. Stainless steel models, like before, have blue-black dials, while the rose-gold version has a warmer brown-charcoal dial. Both of these dials have a technical flourish: They are galvanized and lacquered to produce a light-to-dark gradation from the center to the periphery, a characteristic feature of the Nautilus. The white-gold model (Ref. 5712) features a charcoal dial that is galvanized only. The typical horizontal embossing pattern has been retained, but the hands have been enlarged. The applied luminous hour markers are also slightly larger with the contours progressively matched to the shape of the bezel. With these subtle modifications, the faces of the redesigned Nautilus watches look familiar yet are refreshingly new.
Steel bracelets and leather straps: details that count
The first Patek Philippe Nautilus models were worn on metal bracelets that were remarkably supple despite their strong and massive links. The proportion of the bracelets has been further refined and harmonized with the new case sizes. Each bracelet visually prolongs the case contours, and the links gradually narrow to meet in a fold-over clasp that is both secure and comfortable on the wrist. The finish was reworked as well to further enhance the supple look and feel. Like the original, the outer links are satin-finished, while the middle ones are mirror-polished. The large models in white and rose gold are worn on large-scale alligator straps – safari black with white gold and brown with rose gold. The matching gold fold-over clasp has a new three part design with a threaded length adjustment feature.
The Flag ship model: The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1 A has a case width of 43 mm, which is one millimeter larger than its 1976 predecessor. This is not a reflection of the general trend toward more dominant watches; rather, the slight increase is due to the rounder contours of the lateral hinge ridges. The new three-part case has a screwed back with a sapphire-crystal window and a screw-down crown. The watch is water resistant to a depth of 120 meters. Its self-winding mechanical movement heart, powered by an extra-heavy 21K gold central rotor, is the Patek Philippe caliber 315 SC movement, acclaimed by collectors and connoisseurs alike. The dial design has been aclaimed in it’s own right as well. It displays the hours, minutes, sweep seconds, and the date in an aperture at 3 o’clock. The face is beautifully finished with an embossed horizontal relief that creates a two tone effect. A perfect compliment to the rugged look of the Nautilus. This high precision timepiece is the perfect watch for the tennis court or the tuxedo.
The new Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1 A comes in a stainless steel case worn on an integrated stainless steel bracelet with satin-finished outer links and polished middle links. The integrated bracelet is a masterly display of craftsmanship, being both supply to the touch and comfortable on the wrist, yet robust enough to withstand the rigors encountered by a sports watch.
Getting complicated: The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5712
This new Patek Philippe Nautilus also has a prominent predecessor that achieved cult status virtually overnight. Apart from displaying the hours and minutes, it has a subsidiary seconds dial at 4 o’clock, a power-reserve indicator between 10 and 11 o’clock, and an analog date at 7 o’clock with an integrated moon-phase display. For a sporty watch, this is an exceptional number of complications, and the eye-catching layout adds a touch of exclusivity to the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5712/1. It has a three-part case with a sapphire-crystal caseback, a screw-down crown, and a moon-phase corrector push piece in the side of the case. The corrector limits the water resistance of the watch to 60 meters. This complicated Nautilus is powered by the famous self-winding Patek Philippe caliber 240 PS IRM C LU movement. Despite the sophistication of the caliber, it is merely 3.98 mm high, thanks to the 22K gold minirotor recessed in the main plate. The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5712/1 A has a stainless steel case with an integrated stainless steel bracelet. The outer bracelet links are satin-finished and the middle links are polished.
The warm rose gold of the Patek Philippe 5712R
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5712 is also available in two further versions: the Ref. 5712 R in 18K rose gold and the Ref. 5712 G in 18K white gold. These watches are worn on hand-stitched, large-scale alligator straps in brown (rose gold) or safari black (white gold). The straps come with a novel security fold-over clasp in 18K rose or white gold. The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5712R in warm rose gold has proven to be a highly sought after timepiece among watch aficionados. The Ref. 5712 is powered by the Caliber 240 PS IRM C LU self-winding movement which despite its sophistication is a mere 3.98mm thick. The movement is comprised of 265 individual parts including a 22Kt gold mini rotor and gyromax balance. Complications incluse moon phases and a 48 hour power reserve indicator. The watch has subsidiary seconds sub dial at 4 o’clock as well as an analog date at 7 o’clock. The case size for this timepiece is a contemporary 40mm. The three part case is water resistant to 60 meters and has a screw down crown. Patek Philippe offers matching Nautilus cufflinks in gold.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5980/1A
The timing was perfect. Patek Philippe fans and collectors had to wait years for the first chronograph crafted entirely in-house. Finally, in 2005, the Geneva workshops presented the Ref. 5959P, the world’s thinnest split-seconds chronograph. In January 2006, it was followed by the Ref. 5960P, the first self-winding chronograph with an Annual Calendar, and now, Patek Philippe unveils the Nautilus Ref. 5980/1 A chronograph. Nothing could better complement this elegant yet resolutely sporty timepiece than a stopwatch function. Indeed, the new self-winding, column-wheel-controlled caliber 28-520 C chronograph movement and the new 44-mm Nautilus case are a perfect match. While its architecture is based on the movement of the Ref. 5960, the 28-520 C features an instant-change date in an aperture at 3 o’clock and also stands out with a number of highly interesting chronograph functions. The chronograph hand with the flyback feature doubles as a constantly running sweep seconds hand. This is possible because in the new mechanism, the three fine-toothed chronograph wheels normally used to start and stop time measurements have been replaced by a virtually friction-free, vertical disc-type clutch. The monocounter that dominates the bottom half of the dial is unusual as well. On three concentric scales, it keeps track of the minutes and hours that have elapsed since a timing was activated. This fascinating movement is accommodated in the new, subtly redesigned 44-mm Nautilus case, making it currently the largest model in the collection. The two chronograph push pieces are so well integrated in the caseband that it seems as if the 1976 design had been conceived for a chronograph to begin with. The back of the three-part case incorporates a sapphire-crystal window, revealing the artistic decoration of the superb movement, the gold rotor, and embossed Geneva Seal.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5980/1 A has a stainless steel case with an integrated stainless steel bracelet. The outer bracelet links are satin-finished and the middle links are polished. Patek Philippe offers a choice of two dials: classic blue which the Nautilus is recognized for or a new black dial.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5980R in 18K rose gold
At this year’s Basel World, Patek Philippe is presenting the Nautilus Ref. 5980R Chronograph in 18Kt rose gold worn on a leather strap and featuring a precious-metal case crafted from 18K rose gold. Because of a slightly higher proportion of copper, this alloy has a darker red hue than rose gold, so it has a more masculine look without compromising elegance. As a perfect match, the brown dial has a horizontal embossed texture and a bright/dark gradation from the center to the periphery, two typical manifestations of the Nautilus style. The prominent hour markers, nine rose gold appliques filled with a luminescent compound, constitute the formal complements to the baton-style luminescent hands in rose gold. The new Nautilus Chronograph in rose gold is worn on a brown, large-scaled alligator strap; it is almost seamlessly integrated into the case with exclusive lug links and secured with a comfortable fold-over clasp in 18K rose gold. The Nautilus is destined to be an important addition to this iconic series of watches from Patek Philippe.
The new Patek Philippe Nautilus annual calendar ref. 5726A in steel
Introduced at this years Basel World Fair, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5726A incorporates the Patek Philippe 324 S QA LU 24H movement, the new Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5726 is the first Nautilus model with an Annual Calendar. It comes in a stainless steel case and is worn on an alligator strap. Its black dial, sleek and casually elegant, is designed for optimized legibility . The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5726A was one of the hotter watches at Basel World 2010 with most people feeling it is a great addition to the Nautilus collection. The Nautilus Ref. 5726A Annual Calendar displays day, date, month in apertures as well as moon phases and am/pm indicators. The timepiece has a sapphire crystal exhibition back so as to view its fantastic self-winding movement. The Ref. 5726A has a case size of40.50mm and is ater resistant to 120 meters.
The Nautilus collection showcases the flattering redesign of Patek Philippe’s casually elegant classic. It has gained style through subtle and carefully calculated changes while preserving its original spirit and mien.
The ladies Patek Philippe Nautilus
The Patek Philippe Ladies Nautilus Ref. 7010 and Ref. 7011 rounds out this charismatic family of timepieces. Three years after the successful launch of the new men’s Nautilus collection that marked the 30-year anniversary of this cult watch, Patek Philippe presents the new Nautilus collection for ladies. The latest interpretation of the feminine Nautilus comes in white or rose gold with a diamond-set bezel and a silvery white or charcoal gray dial. The exclusive dial design of the original Nautilus, the archetype of the casually elegant watch for go-getting people with active lifestyles, has been refined for even greater feminine appeal. The new case with the slightly enlarged diameter (32 mm instead of 28.5 mm of the original Ref. 4700 model) radiates contemporary elegance. The companion rings of these watches in white or rose gold are inspired by the octagonal form of the Nautilus bezel.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus is truly a luxury sports watch with a cult following.