40 Years Ago
Just last week, we published an updated version of our Patek Philippe Nautilus versus Audemars Piguet Royal Oak comparison article. When talking haute horlogerie, I have to admit that these two watches are definitely my favorite pieces. How much I like other high-end watches like a Patek Philippe 3940 or 5140, A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 or Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin, nothing comes close to how I feel about the Nautilus and Royal Oak. Today, I was somewhat surprised to see the new Nautilus 40th Anniversary models popping up out of nowhere.
That I picked the Royal Oak for my private collection had also to do with the money to spend, at that time, it was far below 10K Euro, while the Nautilus was – if you could get one at all – almost double that amount. Pre-owned, new or vintage, it was all around 20K Euro in 2009. I’ve tried the Nautilus 5711/1A for a few days from my colleague Gerard and it is an awesome watch. Besides the price, there is no reason for me not to buy one (at some point).
In 1972, Genta proved himself (before he worked for Omega and late 1960s he started his own design agency) with the Royal Oak. Although not a best seller at start, he again used his design skills for a luxury sports watch in 1976 for the Nautilus. Later on again for the IWC Ingenieur, but somehow that never became the success the Royal Oak and Nautilus are today. The first Nautilus was the reference 3700, we wrote about it here a while ago. The grail for many, but as you know, vintage is not for everyone. One have to know his stuff really well these days to make a safe purchase, and others just don’t like the idea of buying something so expensive, pre-owned. Fair enough. So there is the Nautilus 5711. Today’s equivalent of the 3700. The current Nautilus was born in 2006, 30 years after the initial launch of the Nautilus.
1976 – 2016
Although the ur-Nautilus was the 3700, and the current equivalent was born in 2006, other models came and went. What about the smaller 3800, or the 3710 with Roman numerals? In the end, you can say that the Nautilus never went away in those 40 years. Some other brands toot with their xxth anniversary while there clearly have been gaps where the model was not in production. Not with the Nautilus (or Royal Oak for that matter).
Below an overview of Patek’s Nautilus watches, a timeline.
Nautilus 40th Anniversary Models
In BaselWorld, Patek already hinted on something that would come up. In my best memories, I thought this would be August. So August passed, and September passed, nothing happened. As I love the Nautilus, I made sure I didn’t miss a thing on the news feeds, but just when I thought that I perhaps misunderstood, I noticed some snippets of Nautilus 40th Anniversary news today on Facebook and Instagram, coming from the British GQ magazine.
Today, Patek Philippe introduces two Nautilus 40th anniversary models. One to commemorate the original Nautilus, the 5711. This time, a special version of 700 pieces in platinum, the 5711/1P-001. This reference has the same 40mm sized case as the original Nautilus 3700/1A from 1976.
Inside the reference 5711/1P is the Patek caliber 324 S C movement. The same movement used in the regular Nautilus 5711 model. Interesting fact is that the dial of this watch has a 18 carat yellow gold base, and has been coated with blue PVD. The anniversary logo is embossed as you can see. On this dial, there are 12 applied 18 carat gold markers with baguette diamonds (0.34ct). Price on this model is said to be around 115K USD.
Patek Philippe decided also to commemorate the famous 5980 chronograph edition of the Nautilus, with a white gold model (reference 5976/1G). This is a 44mm diameter edition (44mm is measured from 10 to 4 o’clock, from lug to lug or 9 to 3 o’clock, including crown it is a bit over 49mm). of that flyback chronograph introduced in 2006 for the first time. There will be 1300 pieces made of this white gold Nautilus Flyback Chronograph 5976/1G.
Also this model has the blue dial, but different materials have been used compared to the 5711/1P. The base of the blue PVD dial is brass, and the diamonds add up to 0.29 ct in total. The movement is the automatic caliber CH28-520 C. A flyback column-wheel chronograph movement with vertical clutch. It is a true chronograph movement, with an add-on module for the calendar (only 1.43mm for this extra module). Price on this model is said to be around 95K USD.
Both Nautilus 40th Anniversary models are delivered in the famous cork box, like the 3700/1A. A great idea by Patek Philippe to grab back on some ‘heritage’ for the packaging.
I haven’t seen the watches in the flesh, so it is of little use to go and write you what I think of them. I believe that you can only do this in a correct way when you have seen and held the watches in your hand. The fact that Patek Philippe decided to introduce them in precious metals only, and make them limited, also limits the possibility of really reviewing them in-depth. I am pretty sure these watches are sold out already, as the fanbase of the Patek Philippe Nautilus is pretty big, based on the waiting lists for some models and the auction results on Nautili.
Even though I didn’t see the 5711/1P or 5976/1G yet, at least I can tell you what I’ve hoped for before today. I hoped for a stainless steel Nautilus, one that would have only two hands and a monobloc case, like the 3700. Audemars Piguet grabbed back to their 5402ST Royal Oak in 2012 with their 40th anniversary, made it in stainless steel and not limited to an x-amount of pieces. Patek Philippe is not Audemars Piguet though, or similar to any other brand out there. Patek knows what they are doing; knows their customers and probably already knew that these Nautilus 40th Anniversary models would break the internet on October 3rd 2016.
On the one hand, they do not need to change the successful 5711/1A. There is a waiting list for them, for crying out loud. On the other hand, I – and with me probably many more enthusiasts – would love to see a tiny tweaked stainless steel Nautilus for the fans.
More information via Patek Philippe on-line.