Patek Philippe is one of the oldest and most prestigious watchmakers in the world. The company’s timepieces have been seen on world leaders’ wrists and celebrities’ wrists, and demand is so strong that wait times for a new model can stretch into years of twiddling thumbs for hopeful buyers. That said, Patek’s watches are amazing feats of design and manufacturing, so let’s look at one of its most popular models: The Nautilus.
First, a quick history: Patek debuted the Nautilus in the mid-1970s with a stunning Gerald Genta design and hearty sports watch proportions. A “Nautilus for Ladies” hit the market in 1980, and shortly after, the company released a midsize variant of the watch. In the mid-90s, Patek made the poorly received decision to discontinue the Nautilus, replacing it with the even more poorly received Neptune.
Just a year later, in 1997, the company unveiled a refreshed Nautilus with a 43mm case and an optional leather strap for the first time in the mode’s history. The case offered a 120m water resistance rating, and the PP 324 SC movement provided a date complication.
The Nautilus floated along until 2006 when Patek shifted to an all-new version of the watch. Though “new,” the latest Patek took much of its styling cues from the original Genta design, including the unique “hinged” shape.
Today, the Nautilus is a common fixture on watch forums and retailers like DavidSW. If you’re looking to pick up one of the legendary timepieces for yourself, be aware that there are dozens of variants, several metal choices, and plenty of case sizes. It’s impossible to pick a bad Patek, but it’s essential to do your research before dropping the cash.