It is impossible to be a watch lover and not appreciate the nautical lines of the Patek Phillipe Nautilus. Designed by the famous Gerald Genta and based on a ships porthole, the shape is iconic. One that designers since 1976 have been trying to replicate. An effortlessly elegant, thin profile, integrated bracelet and distinct round edges and flanked by “ears” mimicking the hinges on a cruise ship’s windows. While the model started life as a humble steel sports watch, with time and date function, for many it is hard to grasp why it is so loved. In truth, it is more than anything, a prized icon of design.
The thing was, back in the 70’s the rise of the quartz watch from Japan was threatening the very fabric of the Swiss made mechanical watch world. All “proper” watches of the day came in precious metals, but the Royal Oak in 72 and the Nautilus in 76’ changed that.
Legend has it that during the Basel watch fair in 1974, Mr Genta was having lunch when he drew the Nautilus design on a piece of paper and handed it to some Patek execs. And after two years of development, the Nautilus reference 3700 debuted in 1976. It was powered by the caliber 28-255C, incorporating the same ultra-thin automatic Jaeger LeCoultre movement used in the Royal Oak. At 42mm diameter, the Nautilus was larger than the Royal Oak and even more expensive. We now see a whole variety of references from Patek, and like all great watch design, its core DNA has changed very little over the years. We thought it would be fun to continue the theme from our previous report on the GMT from Rolex, to now cover well known faces and their Nautilus of choice.
First up is the red hot US rapper and producer Drake. To mark the 40th anniversary of the Nautilius back in 2016, Patek dropped the ref. 5976/1G, a chronograph in white gold. The solid white gold case measures 44mm (large given we are used to the classic proportions of the 5711). Aside from the case, its all in the dial, with diamond markers, chronograph registers and anniversary embossing. The 5976/1G is also a limited edition of 1,300 pieces, and retailed for $96,390 at the time, no doubt this has gone up significantly since.
Next up is our old friend Ellen. Know as a watch lover, she has been spotted with a variety of Patek, but this white dial 5711/1A. When Patek Philippe re-introducedthe Nautilus 5711/1A in 2006, it retailed for 14.600 Euro, which is quite remarkable given current pricing levels. None the less, it looks great on Ellen! And the white dial is certainly less popular than the blue, which makes it even cooler.
Jesse Lingard, the attacking midfielder at Manchester United also likes the simp0licity of the 5711, but with a Midas touch. This reference he is wearing is the rose gold. This 5711R launched in 2015 and boasts a stunning brown dial. Visible through the caseback is the 45 hour power reserve in-house self-winding Patek caliber 324 S C. This ref was made popular in the watch collector world by my friend and Founder of Hodinkee Mr Ben Clymer, who has regularly been seen sporting one with a Tiffany dial.
Next up is hard man, British actor Jason Statham. Again, a watch lover, spotted wearing the 5980A which features a flyback chronograph function within a steel a 40.5mm case. The blue gradient dial is spectacular and the variations in shading gives it supreme depth. Well done sir.
Brad Pitt. What is there to say. The coolest dude on earth? The man every guy dreams of being and that every woman dreams of being with? Not sure, but this 5711 – the classic 40mm with graduated blue dial looks absolutely sensational on his wrist – what an advert for the brand.
And finally, fashion mogul Victoria Beckham. The ref 7118. The 7118 is as crazy popular at the larger 5711. It has a restrained 35.2mm case and is 8.62mm thick steel case and is powered by the old faithful automatic caliber 324 SC movement, which is seen through the exposed caseback. The watch has the Nautilus bracelet we know and love, and I’m not sure it could be more elegant on her wrist.