Created by Gerald Genta and initially acquainted with the market in 1976, the Patek Philippe Nautilus spoke to a radical takeoff from the sort of watches the corporation was known for at the time. For sure Patek was basically known for ultra-thin dress watches, however the Nautilus spoke to change and ended up being an enormous hit. It is hard to discuss the Nautilus without specifying the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, which made a radical new classification of extravagance watches in stainless steel. However, the Nautilus was an astounding following stage even starting there, since it was a stainless-steel sports watch, with a liberal case size.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1R: A solid gold sports watch, is perhaps, horology’s greatest oxymoron. A timepiece intended for performance and usability, yet fragile and heavy from the use of gold, it is as polarising as it gets. The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711R, is in many ways, one of the founding fathers of this peculiar phenomenon. (You know who the other one is)
The renowned Gerald Genta designed the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Released in 1976, a conservative time when there were two distinctive segments in the world of horology – the tool/sport watch, and the luxury dress watch. A few years earlier, Audemars Piguet had released the Royal Oak Jumbo, also designed by Mr.Genta, to a mixed response. Both in stainless steel, but costing the same as a solid gold watch, the public were perplexed as to how it made any sense at all, and fair enough! That being said, it is safe to say that today, that move proved to be a masterstroke as the Royal Oak and the Nautilus are as popular as ever and seen are as icons of their generation.
Today, the Royal Oak and Nautilus are seen as complimentary, this wasn’t always the case. Fresh from the Royal Oak’s release in 1972, though not seen as an immediate success, Audemars Piguet were seen as revolutionaries taking a bold risk. A statement perhaps enjoyed by them but in 1976, a mere four years later, came the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Jean-Claude Biver, who was working at AP at the time, recalls how bewildered he was when it came out and calls it the ‘first watch he ever hated.’ Don’t worry, now that he is not working for them, he loves the watch and even owns a 3700A himself. Anyway, Audemars Piguet saw it as a blatant copy, albeit an uglier version, of their iconic Royal Oak, not too dissimilar to the perception today of the Hublot Big Bang being a copy of the Royal Oak. Funny that all three of these watches are based on the porthole. Regardless, it is clear today that in the long run, the presence of two major haute horlogerie houses releasing a stainless steel luxury watch at similar times helped gain momentum and affirm to the public that this really was a legitimate thing.