Patek Philippe Nautilus
© Patek Philippe
This is the original so-called “Jumbo” Nautilus model from the first generation of the Nautilus family.
This legendary sports watch by Patek Philippe, designed by the famous watches designer Gérald Genta, in 1976 excited by its combination of luxury and stainless steel. Its design is inspired by the shape of ship portholes. The case is quite large at 42 mm but thin at just 7.6 mm and the integrated bracelet makes it wear smaller. Still, watch enthusiasts at the time nicknamed the original Nautilus “Jumbo” for its large size. Although known mainly as a steel watch, the Nautilus was also available in steel and gold, 18K yellow and white gold, as well as platinum.
The case is unusual in construction, with the octagonal bezel attached at the sides to a monobloc case. This ensures water resistance but also gives the watch case its distinct look. Another design element is the shape of the bezel, which forms a perfect circle even though the four quarter edges are truncated. The dial was strongly ribbed black, with blue and white added in later years. The integrated bracelet and clasp is another enduring design element, which nearly all Nautilus watches have continued.
On its introduction, the Nautilus was shockingly expensive for a steel watch, with a MSRP of $2,350. By comparison, the steel Rolex Submariner 1680 cost about $500 that year. But, even adjusting for inflation, those prices are a bargain compared to today's models The MSRP of the 3700/1 is just 36% of today's similar steel 5711/1A and about half the cheapest men's steel Patek, the Aquanaut.
Despite poor initial sales, the Nautilus design took hold and became an industry staple. A "Nautilus for Ladies" was launched in 1980, and criticism of the “Jumbo” 3700/1 were addressed with the introduction of a smaller 37.5 mm Midsize Nautilus in 1981. A "Boy-Sized" Nautilus" appeared in [[1984. The reference continued to build sales for the next two decades, with a Power Reserve Nautilus added in 1998, an even-larger model in 2004, and finally a single-year Nautilus Moon Phase model added for 2005. In 2006, the entire line was replaced by the updated Nautilus 5711/1A and its relatives.
The original Nautilus was a large but simple watch. It featured just hour and minute hands, with no seconds, and a small date window. It was powered by Cal. 28-255 C, Patek Philippe's version of Jaeger-LeCoultre's Calibre 920 ebauche. This same movement was shared with Audemars Piguet in their Royal Oak and Vacheron Constantin.
From the 1976 introduction through 1979, Patek relied on Favre-Perret for cases and Stern Freres for dials. In 1980, the company brought case manufacturing to their in-house Ateliers Reunis workshop and thus changed the case number to 3700/11. At this time, a new steel alloy was used and the size of the bracelet's clasp was reduced from 18 mm to 16 mm.