Few timepieces can be considered perfect. For a watchmaker known for their precise engineering, intricate craftsmanship, and unparalleled attention to detail, the superior quality, build, design, and engineering behind every Patek Philippe Nautilus watch make it, indeed, the perfect sports watch. From its foundation in 1839, Patek Philippe steadily established its reputation for making the most precise and sought-after timepieces in the world while being at the forefront of innovations such as the keyless winding system, the complications, and the world timer, among others. In 1976, Patek Philippe surprised horologists by launching its own set of sports watches under the name Nautilus. Designed by the famed Gerald Genta, the Nautilus has since become one of Patek Philippe's most coveted watch models. With a waitlist stretching for years, collectors have countless reasons to covet the Nautilus. Here are just four of the reasons why.
The Nautilus was named after the fictional submarine captained by Nemo in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The dial is a departure from the round case design familiar with the rest of Patek Philippe watches. The storied Patek Philippe 3700 is the first release of the Nautilus series. The octagonal design resembles the porthole on a ship with "ears" that harks back to the hinges on the ship windows. Its stainless steel case diameter is 42mm, which was massive for its time, earning it the nickname "Jumbo." Despite its size, the 3700 is extremely thin at 8mm, housing the highly-precise Calibre 28-255 C. Being consistent with its maritime theme, the dial of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700 features sailor stripes in horizontal grooves. In its 40th-anniversary incarnation, its essentials are preserved with its horizontal grooved dial, integrated metal bracelet, and the rounded octagonal bezel framing the porthole-shaped case. However, the 5711/1P, 40th Anniversary edition has evolved by incorporating a platinum case with white gold for its bracelet as its choice for metals. The dial execution and the case diameter in the 40th Anniversary release slightly differ from the 3700, but this highly sought-after timepiece is the closest incarnation to the original. The sapphire case back of the 5711/1P reveals the Caliber 26-330 SC automatic mechanical movement with 212 components, 30 jewels, and a 35 to 45-hour power reserve. True to being a sports watch with a nautical theme, the 5711 is water-resistant up to 120 meters.
From the 3700 in 1976, the Patek Philippe Nautilus collection has evolved into a range of models from simple time/date editions like the 5711 to highly complicated models such as the 5990-01-001. Each Patek Philippe Nautilus has stayed true to the original Gerald Genta design with its distinctive case shape and the sailor-stripe design in its dial. However, despite its rugged appearance and thin profile, the 5990 houses a highly-precise cutting-edge Calibre CH 28-520 C FUS made specifically for this model. With 370 parts and 34 jewels, it has a power reserve of up to 55 hours, which provides the timepiece with a chronograph, a dual time function for local and home, and the date and day/night indication. What makes this Nautilus unique is its 60-minute chronograph counter at six o'clock, complemented by the central chronograph seconds hand. Note that the chronograph hands share the same lancet shape showing that they are a part of the same complication. The lower skeletonized hour hand indicates the "home" time, while the "local" time has a solid hour hand. You can adjust the hour settings by pushing the plus and minus correctors on the left side of the case.
For collectors seeking various complications present among other Patek Philippe models, the Nautilus has a date and moon phase model in the 5712, a chronograph in the 5980, an annual calendar in the 5726, and the chronograph as mentioned above with a dual-time function in the 5990 available today.
The evolution of the Nautilus reached another level with the introduction of specifically-designed models for ladies. First introduced in 1980 with a quartz movement, today's Nautilus ladies’ watches have the same internals as the men's versions with case sizes smaller than the men's watch at 33.5mm. With jeweled accents, these ladies' watches also bear the hallmarks of a Nautilus watch, such as the same movement, sturdiness, porthole-shaped case, and distinctive bracelet design. The 7014/1R-001 is dripping in gold, with a shimmering bracelet and distinctive gilding accentuated by 56 baguette diamonds on the case alone, with 146 in total, including the diamonds set on the bracelet. Powering the 7014/1R is the Caliber 324 SC which also is the beating heart of the highly sought-after 5711/1A-010 and most contemporary non-complications such as Calatrava's, Aquanauts, and most of the other ladies’ Nautilus watches.
The Nautilus 7021/1G-001, in the meantime, has full Pavé Diamonds set all over the watch surface, giving the watch the same glow as sunshine hitting fresh snow.
The Nautilus 7118/1A-011, with the same internals as the 7021, encased in stainless steel, offers incredible value for a Nautilus watch. It contains the same internals and hallmarks that make the Nautilus what it is while still being unmistakably feminine. Available in smoke gray and silvery opaline, the 7118 is available for under $100,000.
Each Nautilus can hold its own as a dress watch. However, the extremely rare Nautilus 5724R-001, with only ten pieces made, has all the hallmarks of being a magnificent dress watch. The Nautilus' sturdiness and functionality include full baguette diamonds, a matching leather strap that blends seamlessly with any attire, and the brilliantly-designed gilded 18k rose gold casing. The 5724 exudes eminence. At its heart is the Calibre 240 PS IRM C LU providing the 5724 with the date and moon phase complications common with the Nautilus 5712.
Although it started out as the enfant terrible of Patek Philippe watches, the Nautilus has evolved into one of the most in-demand watch models to date. The waitlist can be years long for specific models, especially for the 5711, which ironically is the least complicated among Nautilus releases. Aside from the stratospheric level of craftsmanship that goes with each Patek Philippe, each Nautilus watch has the aesthetics, functionality, ruggedness, and practical design collectors seek. Rarely does any watch tick all the boxes by being the ultimate sports watch and matching any wardrobe choice while creating a distinctive presence for the wearer. Nowadays, it is rare to get your hands on one at the retail price. The fact of the matter is that there are just too few of these timepieces made for the demand it commands. Fortunately, Diamond Source NYC has Patek Philippe Nautilus timepieces available. To check for availability or enjoy a unique shopping experience, you may book a virtual viewing session or call us at (888) 342-9949.