In 1976 Patek Philippe entered the luxury sports watch arena. The Patek Philippe Nautilus watch immediately set itself apart with it’s unconventional porthole design and rounded octagonal shaped bezel. It established what was once considered impossible, combining the casual with the elegant and ruggedness with style. A timepiece that is a perfect match for day time leisure, a business suit or a tuxedo. Creating complicated movements is not the only way in which Patek Philippe designers and watchmakers showcase their skills. Developing the world’s finest sports watch is also a formidable challenge. Very few timepieces meet all the criteria of both technical robustness and refined aesthetic appeal. Patek Philippe stands out in this respect as the creator of a watch that has achieved cult status: the Patek Philippe Nautilus Watch.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Watch Collection Story
In the 1970s, a small revolution took place in Geneva: the launch of a luxury watch in a steel case, the Patek Philippe Nautilus. 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 over-sized watch in stainless steel emerges; it is not only more expensive than many gold watches in those days, it also violates all conventions with its prominent size and extravagant shape. Most surprisingly, it is the respected and eminent Patek Philippe workshops that dared commit this foul in the luxury category. But as Patek Philippe’s president Philippe Stern admits today, this disregard of taboo was a calculated move. 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 1970s 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.
The Nautilus: A Luxury Sport Watch
Patek Philippe anticipated this trend well in advance and responded to it in 1976 by launching the Patek Philippe 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. ―One of the world’s most expensive watches is made of steel, proclaimed one ad which received extensive exposure. The headline ―It goes with a wet suit as well as with a tuxedo‖ also attracted attention and drove the point home. New shape, new concept indeed, the Nautilus was provocative. Not only was a stainless steel watch being hailed as the embodiment of luxury, the Nautilus broke all established rules with the design and construction of its distinctive case. The shape of the bezel was intriguing, neither round nor rectangular, itwas an octagon with gently rounded corners. And then the hinges to the left and right … some called them ears. Not to mention the size, which in 1976 far transcended what was considered contemporary and aesthetic: the Nautilus was 42 mm wide (including hinges) and 7.6 mm high. But a plan was behind all this and a functional rationale existed for each design feature. Thecase did not consist of a back, a case band, and a bezel as is still common today. Instead, it was a monocoque milled from a block of solid steel with a single bore for the winding stem. The bezel with the crystal was firmly screwed to the case at four points. People who remember construction details of old cruise ships will notice the resemblance of the case with the classic porthole whose round window was also pressed to the frame with a hinge and tension bolts. The result: the Patek Philippe Nautilus watch 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. From the enfant terrible to the cult object.
T0day the Reference 3700/1A is considered an extremely collectable timepiece sought by watch aficionados the world wide.
Different but Familar: The New Patek Philippe Nautilus Watch Collection
Patek Philippe Nautlius 5711/1A
Today the reference 3700 has been replaced by the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A which features a contemporary 40mm case size. The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A is powered by a mechanical self-winding caliber 324 S C movement. Water resistant to 120 meters. This fine timepiece is available in two dial choices: black-blue or white.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A
Next up is the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A in all steel (pictured above). The 5712/1A features a 40mm case, moon phases, power reserve and 60 seconds sub-dial. Available in black-blue dial only.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712R and 5712G
The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712R in rose gold or 5712G in white gold takes all the wonderful features of the of the ref. 5712/1 and combines them with a 18Kt gold case and Alligator strap with deployant buckle. Available in 18Kt rose or white gold.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726/1A : Annual Calendar
The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726A and Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726/1A take the Nautilus collection further by combining the Nautilus with a Annual Calendar movement. The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726Ahas a a black dial and comes on a alligator strap with fold-over clasp. The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726/1A watch comes on a stainless steel bracelet. Available in two dial choices: black or white.
Perhaps the ultimate expression of the Nautilus collection is the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980R and Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980/1R which combines all the style of the Nautilus with a Chronograph which features a mechanical self-winding Caliber CH 28-520 C movement. This Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980R comes in opulent 18Kt rose gold on a alligator strap with fold-over clasp. The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980/1R has a full 18Kt rose gold bracelet.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Watch Collection is available at Harold Freeman Jewelers – Authorized Patek Philippe Dealer.
For more information on the Patek Philippe Nautilus watch collection please this video below:
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Harold Freeman Jewelers
100 Indian Rocks Road North
Belleair Bluffs, Florida 33770