The Nautilus is a luxury sports watch, and one of the first of its kind. It is the epitome of the “do everything” watch that is as sporty as it is elegant. It goes without saying, but this is one of the most iconic pieces to ever plant a stake in the watch world. No question. There are certain design implementations like the porthole case and integrated bracelet that have launched the Nautilus into a league of its own, but that is not the whole story. An interesting formula: stainless steel construction and a unique design, paired with a high-end movement and an extravagant price tag to boot. This equals a luxury sports watch. Not many watches have carved their own upon their release, but that is precisely what the Patek Philippe Nautilus accomplished.
History of the Nautilus
Patek Philippe introduced the Nautilus in 1976, a time period when luxury watches were made of precious metals and sporty watches were made of steel. The luxury sports watch was still a foreign concept, but Patek Philippe embraced the idea and advertised the watch as being both “costly” and “steel.” TheNautilus was designed by the legendary watch designer, Gerald Genta, the man who has a handful of successful watches under his belt. Genta was inspired by the portholes on boats, which was his direction for the overall nautical-theme of the watch. This is reflected beautifully in the case shape. Learn more about the history of the Nautilus in our guide to this elusive watch.
Importance of Purchasing Through a Reputable Watch Dealer
We recommend purchasing a pre-owned Nautilus through a reputable watch dealer such as WatchBox. To spot a fake Patek Philippe Nautilus, look at the date window. The date on a replica Nautilus is never properly centered and the font-weight is either too thick or thin.
Nautilus Case Materials
Though the Nautilus was born as a stainless steel watch in 1976, it didn’t take long for new materials to find themselves adorning the Nautilus, with various Nautilus models swapping stainless steel for everything from rose gold to platinum. Even the original Ref. 3700 Nautilus was available in a two-tone or full yellow gold configuration. 13 watches were also produced in white precious metals, with 11 having been produced in white gold and two in platinum cases. The subsequent Ref. 3800 would also offer a rose gold option, meaning that by the second generation the Nautilus was available in yellow, white, or rose gold, as well as platinum.
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Iconic Nautilus References
First introduced in 2006, the sporty 5711 was an updated version of the original 3700/1 model. It quickly became one of the hardest watches to find from an authorized dealer. This timepiece was produced with a blue or white dial, with horizontal lines, hours, minutes, seconds, and the date. In January of 2021, it was announced that the 5711 would be discontinued later the same year. To own the 5711 today, watch enthusiasts and collectors must buy pre-owned.
Another prized Nautilus model to take note of is the 5712-1A. This reference features a self-winding mechanical movement, power reserve indicator, moon phases, seconds sundial, and Caliber 240. With a black-blue dial and stainless steel bracelet, this reference is a close favorite to the 5711.
The stainless steel 5990 combines the Nautilus’ classic design with a chronograph, automatic winding, a radial date, two independent time zones, and twin AM/PM indicators. This watch combines the best elements of the original 1976 Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700 and the 2006 Nautilus 5980 chronograph.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Nautilus