Nautilus, an icon
A flashback to 1976 shows not only how quickly and dramatically the world has changed since then, it also illustrates how deftly Nautilus has performed over the past four decades in terms of design, reliability and popularity.
More than forty years ago, the elegant Patek Philippe Nautilus collection was launched. A flashback to 1976 shows not only how quickly and dramatically the world has changed since then, it also illustrates how deftly Nautilus has performed over the past four decades in terms of design, reliability and popularity. When Patek Philippe launched the sports watchcollection in 1976, it resembled nothing else on the market. Up to that point, high quality watches had been made of pure gold.
Nautilus was a sports watch made of stainless steel, its shape inspired by the porthole of a ship. When introducing Nautilus, Patek Philippe quipped, “One of the world’s costliest watches is made of steel.” The watchmanufacturer made a deliberate gamble with the stainless steel design, signaling that Patek Philippe’s affluent customers were active professionally as well as privately, and belonged to a generation that loved challenges and a dynamic lifestyle. The Nautilus was suitable for every setting and any occasion, working well with anything from cuffed shirts to a T-shirt and jeans. It was intended for someone who does not follow a trend, but sets one.
Patek Philippe’s selection of the name Nautilus has several references, including the three landmark submarines – all named Nautilus, that were built by Robert Fulton in the year 1800, by the British Royal Navy in 1886 and the United States Navy in 1954. Nautilus is also the name of the ship featured in the adventure novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne. And there is the creature, Nautilus pompilius, which is the Latin name of a marine mollusc with a snail-like shell that lives in the sea. Like the beauty inherent in the logarithmic spiral of the shell, the classic, elegant contours of the Nautilus watch were a stylized formalisation of humanly crafted perfect proportions.
Pioneers do not always have an easy start, but Nautilus became an instant classic, and is now among the most sought after of the Patek Philippe watches.
Anyone in possession of an original Nautilus 3700/1A now owns a milestone piece from the history of Nautilus, and a valuable collector’s item admired by watch enthusiasts around the world. Patek Philippe’s Nautilus still enjoys the status of an underplayed attentiveness, and due to the relatively modest production, they are hard to obtain. This is the watch for the aficionado of modern design.