In a universe where large steel sports watches are very commonplace, it’s hard to understand how groundbreaking the iconic Nautilus 3700/1 was when it launched in 1976Forty — certainly not older, but maybe not exactly young, either. The Patek Philippe Nautilus 1976 Replica was created in 1976 and assisted to re-energise that the world of high-end Swiss watches, which was in the midst of ‘the quartz crisis’ at the moment. As the watch industry reeled in the coming of the battery-powered watch and its own far-reaching consequences, Patek Philippe boldly published a watch designed by Gérald Genta.Now considered iconic and also an integral part of Patek Philippe’s individuality, in the time it was a huge risk for the company to generate a wristwatch so different from anything it had done previously. An oversized and pricey steel mechanical automatic on the planet in which ultra-thin gold-bracelet quartz watches were the envy of the disco generation, the Nautilus produced a statement that has been discovered around the world.That announcement continues to resonate today, since the Nautilus evolves in fresh and unexpected ways. However, for all of the twists and turns within the course of its 40-year history, the Nautilus has remained true to its DNA.
Introduced some time in 2013 but not listed in the Patek Philippe catalogue, the Nautilus ref. 5711/1P is not especially well known and almost impossible to see in the metal.
The platinum Nautilus essentially a precious metal version of the classic ref. 5711/1A – and it costs five times as much – the modern remake of the original Nautilus “Jumbo”, but with a few minor tweaks to distinguish it. One specimen of the ref. 5711/1P will go under the hammer at Phillips’ Hong Kong auction in December, an uncommon opportunity to see a special watch.
The weighty proposition
The most obvious difference is its weight – the platinum Nautilus is exceptionally hefty. Using the relative densities of platinum and stainless steel as a guide, the platinum Nautilus should be almost three times as heavy as the steel version. The rose gold Nautilus introduced earlier in 2015 does give the platinum model a run for its money though.
|Steel on left and platinum on right|
Feeling blue but brighter
Though both dials share the same trademark horizontal guilloche, the dial of the platinum model is an entirely different shade of blue.
While the steel version is a graduated grey-blue that darkens towards the edge of the dial, the platinum model is a bright, vivid blue. Other differences in the dial are more subtle, like the white gold frame around the date window on the platinum model that’s absent on the steel Nautilus.
|The platinum case is has a distinctly whiter tone than the steel|
Most interesting is the logo printed at 12 o’clock. While the steel model has the lettering printed on the horizontal fluting, the guilloche of the platinum Nautilus leaves a flat recess to accommodate the logo.
A tiny detail but one that illustrates the extra effort that goes into the watch, something that’s entirely appropriate given how extraordinarily expensive it is.
Like all platinum Patek Philippe watches, the 5711/1P has a tiny diamond set into the bezel at six o’clock. But beyond the minuscule gem, the case and bracelet are also subtly different.
The polished bevels on the edges of the case and bracelet links are more prominent on the platinum than on the steel, making it more attractive.
And of course the platinum Nautilus features a prominent hallmark on the back.
What it costs
Watches like this are entirely about bragging rights, made desirable by rarity and price. After all, it is supposed to be offered only to the very best of Patek Philippe’s clients.
The Nautilus ref. 5711/1P retails for approximately US$90,000, a sum that’s ridiculous both absolutely and relatively, but small change to the firm’s top spenders.
And the scarcity of this watch means the price is wholly acceptable to the fortunate few who qualify for such a watch.
On the secondary market it is apparently even more stupendously expensive, with an estimate of HK$850,000 to HK$2 million, that’s US$100,000 to US$250,000.
The platinum Nautilus is lot 341 from the upcoming Phillips The Hong Kong Watch Auction: One (we recently covered ten highlights from the sale) that will take place in Hong Kong on December 1, 2015 – see the full catalogue here.