The Patek Philippe Nautilus was first released in 1976. At the time, Patek Philippe was actively searching for an inimitable and strong design as a direct response to the introduction of Audemars Piguet’s paradigm-shifting Royal Oak. Gerald Genta, who was, in fact, also the designer of the rivaling Royal Oak, employed a similar naval-inspired design language in the Nautilus, featuring a round octagonal bezel with protruding hinges on both sides of the case which resembled the shape of a porthole found on most maritime vessels.
The introduction of the veritable Nautilus was a game changer due to the landscape of the luxury watch market at the time, which hosted a period of emphasis on horological innovation and creativity that birthed many now iconic designs we see today (Submariner, Daytona, Speedmaster, etc). In other words, watches introduced during that time were getting more and more precise, reliable, and efficient. The timely arrival of the Nautilus was initially deemed as an uncharacteristic departure from Patek Philippe’s classic and conservative DNA, but it eventually went on to gradually establish itself as one of the most iconic and highly coveted luxury sports watches of all time and is today fetching incredible prices in world-renowned auction houses.
What we have on offer here today is the Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700J in 18-carat yellow gold, which is a later and much rarer variation of the very first Nautilus Ref. 3700/1 that was originally made in stainless steel. Mind you, vintage stainless-steel variants of the Ref. 3700/1 were only produced in very low numbers, and even fewer in gold variations, so to actually find an example like this in yellow gold and in this condition is extremely remarkable and exciting to see.
It features the same, iconic, 42mm patented case which is constructed in the form of a solid monobloc module. This essentially means the movement can only be accessed from the dial side. Of course, like most creations of the great Gerald Genta, the Nautilus sports a beautiful horizontally embossed dial which was designed to interact with different shades of lighting in order to create a captivating dial visual. This particular example we have here also comes on a gorgeous Gay Frères integrated bracelet in yellow gold with brushed links and polished center links.
As far as movement goes, the Ref. 3700J is powered by an ultra-thin Cal. 28-255C by Patek Philippe, which is essentially a heavily modified Cal. 920 by Jaeger-LeCoultre and used by many of the Nautilus’s horological siblings from Audemars Piguet Ref. 5402ST)and Vacheron Constantin Ref. 222.
Today, more than forty years have passed since the initial introduction of the very first Patek Philippe Nautilus, and this now classic timepiece is more desirable than ever and its ever-growing popularity seems to be showing no signs of slowing down.