January 01, 2018

Patek Philippe Nautilus - A true combination of sport and luxury

You cannot be a watch lover and not have heard of the Patek Philippe Nautilus. The Nautilus is by far one of the world's most coveted luxury watches and for good reason. 


When the Nautilus was first introduced in 1976, this path-breaker of a watch broke all tradition and how. A stainless steel watch, that was still sporty was a completely new take for them.  Although extremely scandalous in the initial years, because people either loved or hated the new design, this timeless watch has now developed into an icon and is always in high demand. The best part about this watch is that it still looks quite unchanged, even decades after. The classic octagonal bezel, the rounded edges, and the stainless steel bracelet are what make this watch stand apart from the crowd. 


Not many people are aware of this, but the design of the Nautilus was loosely based on the shape of the porthole of a transatlantic liner. The wide bezel and the ears at each side were meant to mimic the watertight windows. The case of this watch was made from nickel-chrome-molybdenum steel, which is an alloy that was considered the highest standard of quality in those times because it was not only capable of enduring extremely high temperatures and pressure, it also had the added advantage of light, when compared to regular steel.

The 42 mm case diameter that was introduced in the mid-70s did cause quite a stir in the horological world, leading to the nickname “Jumbo”, since case sizes of normal watches used to range around 35 to 36 mm. The case construction of the Nautilus was considered unique too because unlike the three-piece case construction that was used which consisted of the case back, bezel and the middle section, the Jumbo case only had two pieces: the bezel and the monocoque casing. The watch’s monocoque had only one hole for the stem, and the bezel was then pressed on it. 


Three reasons to buy a Nautilus:


  •   The now world-famous porthole which was designed by Gérald Genta
  •    Highlights with both chronograph and a second time zone or perpetual calendar
  •    Extremely popular collector item

How much does a Nautilus cost?


The standard edition Nautilus with the ref number 5711 is known to be one of the most coveted Nautilus watches produced. This watch has three hands with a date display and 0is the closest version to the original model that was launched in 1976. This watch is available in a white or blue dial. The more popular blue version, in mint condition, would cost you around $52,900. The prices for the white dial variant can range anywhere between $46,000 to $48,000 USD. 


Another popular model is the Nautilus with reference number 5712. This watch has an additional seconds dial and a pointer date, and also a moon phase indicator. Available in stainless steel, rose gold or white gold. The gold models come with a beautiful leather strap. You can buy the rose gold version for about $54,300 in mint condition and a pre-owned version for about $48,000. The white gold version is a little more expensive, ranging anywhere between $47,00 to $49,000. The most expensive version of this watch is the stainless steel one, surprisingly, priced at $56,400 in mint condition. 


Another popular model in this series is the Nautilus Perpetual Calendar with the reference number 5740, which is only 8.42 mm thick and is priced at around $125,000.


What movement powers the Nautilus?


The first Nautilus with reference number 3700, was powered by the thin self-winding movement 28-255, was developed in 1967 by Jaeger-LeCoultre for Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet.  This movement was also was first used in the Royal Oak and designated Caliber 2121.


These days Patek offer their own range of movements for the Nautilus, including the newest Calibre, the CH 28-520 C FUS. This watch has exemplary finishing on all movement surfaces,  which you can see through the sapphire case back. The watch’s rotor is made from 18k solid gold and is also stamped with the Patek Philippe logo.


Depending on which model you are choosing, the Nautilus comes on either a leather strap or a bracelet. For sports watch this iconic, we do prefer the bracelet, which is finished beautifully with a fine folding clasp, but the choice is yours.


Celebrities who love the Nautilus:


From famous actors to world leaders and presidents, the Nautilus has captured the hearts of many watch lovers across the world. From Brad Pitt and Robert Downey Jr. in Hollywood to television celebrities Trevor Noah and Ellen Degeneres, there are quite a number of fans of this beauty.  Singer-cum-songwriter Ed Sheeran too loves his Nautilus and has been seen wearing it at several award functions.


Is the Nautilus a good investment? 


This is a double whammy. Patek Philippe watches have been known to hold their monetary value over generations and have often been heirlooms. Now add the fact that the stainless steel Nautilus has been one of the most famous of their collection. When you combine both parts, you can only deduce that this watch would be a brilliant investment. Although you won’t find be finding them for resale by owners quite often, these vintage watches often break the records of auction houses, since they are quite often sought after by discriminating and very wealthy collectors. In the normal market as well, the value of this has skyrocketed in the recent past, making it a perfect investment. Do keep in mind that the vintage watches of this model, in particular, do sell for some astronomical prices!

In a nutshell:


In the world of luxury and high-end sports watches, the Patek Philippe Nautilus undoubtedly the King. You can spend all day reading up reviews of the merits of this watch compared to the others, but there is a special quality about the Nautilus that sets it apart from the others. The unbeatable classic look. 


The rare combination of highly-distinctive and unbeatable style and the quality of the finishing found everywhere on the watch- albeit the dial,  the movement, the dial, the bracelet or the case make this watch a true collector’s item and something you should definitely look at owning if you don’t already!