In the luxury watch space, there are a handful of models that can truly claim iconic status – and the Patek Philippe Nautilus is undoubtedly one of them. Launched by Patek Philippe in 1976, the Gerald Genta-designed Nautilus has gone from an anomaly in the brand’s catalog to its most coveted model.
The current Patek Philippe Nautilus collection encompasses several models, ranging from simple time/date editions to high complication versions. If you want to know the difference between a 5711 and a 5740 and all the other references in between, then read our guide to modern Patek Philippe Nautilus watches.
The Defining Characteristics of the Patek Philippe Nautilus
Named after the fictional submarine captained by Nemo in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), the Nautilus is clearly nautical-inspired. The first reference was the Nautilus 3700, with both its case and integrated bracelet built entirely from stainless steel.
Genta designed the watch’s case to resemble a the porthole on a ship, complete with “ears” on the side of the case to mimic the hinges on a window. However, rather than going for a round style, Genta added an eight-sided bezel to the Nautilus (a softer iteration of the octagonal bezel of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak he designed a few years earlier). The case of the Patek Nautilus 3700 measured 42mm – a massive size for the era, which earned it the “Jumbo” nickname. Additionally, since the Nautilus was positioned as a water-ready luxury sports watch, the it was water-resistant to an impressive 120 meters.
Carrying on with the maritime theme, the blue/black dial of the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 3700 featured sailor stripes in the form of horizontal grooves. The dial was a simple affair, including only an hour and minute hand along with a date window. Each hour was marked with a luminous baton except for 12 o’clock, which featured double batons.
Powering the Nautilus ref. 3700 was the ultra-thin Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 920, relabeled as the Caliber 28-255 C by Patek. Finally, the Nautilus was fitted with an integrated steel bracelet, a signature of Genta watch designs.
While the Nautilus has evolved over the years to include varying metals, dial executions, case sizes, and bracelet types, details such as the porthole-shaped case, rounded octagonal bezel, integrated metal bracelet, and horizontal grooved dial are considered the essentials.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711
Patek unveiled the Nautilus 5711, available in steel and rose gold, in 2006 to celebrate the collection’s 30th anniversary. As a full stainless steel model with a time and date window, the Nautilus 5711/1A is the closest contemporary version of the original reference. It is also the most popular Nautilus model and often considered to be the hottest luxury watch in today’s market.
To get your hands on a Nautilus ref. 5711/1A requires either waiting for years for one to become available at an authorized retailer or a willingness to pay more than double the retail price in the secondary market. For fans of pink precious metal, there’s also the full rose gold version, the Nautilus 5711/1R.
The Nautilus 5711 features a 40mm case (around 8.3mm thick) that is water-resistant to 120 meters. In true Nautilus fashion, the ref. 5711 is paired with an integrated bracelet, equipped with a fold-over clasp. The steel 5711/1A comes with a choice of a blue dial or a white dial while the rose gold 5711/1R includes a chocolate brown dial, all complete with horizontal embossing.
The sapphire caseback of the Nautilus 5711 permits a view of the in-house Caliber 26-330 S C automatic mechanical movement, which supplies the watch with 35 to 45 hours of power reserve.
- Nautilus 5711-1A-010; stainless steel case and bracelet, blue dial, MSRP: $30,620
- Nautilus 5711-1A-011; stainless steel case and bracelet, white dial, MSRP: $30,620
- Nautilus 5711-1R-001; rose gold case and bracelet, brown dial, MSRP: $53,300.
Patek Philippe Nautilus Moonphase 5712
Patek also released the Nautilus 5712 in 2006, which includes a moonphase display, running seconds sub-dial, date display, and power reserve indicator. Similar to the 5711, the Nautilus Moonphase sports a 40mm case. However, Patek makes the ref. 5712 in three metal options – steel, rose gold, and white gold. Moreover, while the steel Nautilus 5712/1A has a steel integrated bracelet, the rose gold 5712R and white gold 5712G have leather straps.
Inside the Nautilus Moonphase 5712 is the in-house Caliber 240 PS IRM C LU automatic movement, visible through the exhibition caseback, with a power reserve rating of 38 to 48 hours. The water resistance rating of the more complicated 5712 is half that of the simpler 5711 at 60 meters.
- Nautilus 5712-1A-001; stainless steel case and bracelet, blue dial, MSRP: $41,050
- Nautilus 5712G-001; white gold case, black leather strap, gray dial, MSRP: $45,250
- Nautilus 5712R-001; rose gold case, brown leather strap, brown dial, MSRP: $45,250
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726
In 2010, Patek expanded its flagship sports watch collection by adding the Nautilus Annual Calendar ref. 5726. The annual calendar complication, which Patek Philippe developed and introduced in 1996, adjusts the time and calendar displays correctly by automatically considering whether a month has 30 or 31 days. The only time an annual calendar watch has to be manually adjusted is on March 1st.
The 5726 is the first Nautilus watch to feature this practical Patek complication. The dial includes windows for the day, date, and month, in addition to a moonphase display and 24-hour indication. Though the 40.5mm case is exclusively made in stainless steel, there is some variety in terms of dial colors and bracelet material. At the heart of the Nautilus Annual Calendar is Caliber 324 S QA LU 24H, with a 35 – 45-hour power reserve, and the watch is water-resistant to 120 meters.
- Nautilus 5726/1A-014; stainless steel case and bracelet, blue dial, MSRP: $45,930
- Nautilus 5726A-001; stainless steel case, black leather strap; black dial; MSRP: $40,940
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980
Released in 2006, the Nautilus 5980 was the first chronograph version to join the collection, powered by Patek’s first in-house automatic movement (Caliber CH 28-520 C) that made its debut that same year.
While the 40.5mm case of the Nautilus ref. 5980 has the duo of pushers on the case traditional of most chronographs, the dial is cleverly designed to only include one sub-dial that fits both an elapsed minutes and hours recorder. Compressing the chronograph functions to one register leaves enough space for the date window at 3 o’clock. There are currently three versions of the Nautilus Chronograph ref. 5980, full rose gold, rose gold with a leather strap, and two-tone rose gold and stainless steel, all water-resistant to 120 meters and operating with a power reserve rating of 45 – 55 hours.
- Nautilus 5980R-001; rose gold case, brown leather strap, black/brown dial, MSRP: $62,030
- Nautilus 5980/1AR-001; rose gold and stainless steel case and bracelet, blue dial, MSRP: $64,640
- Nautilus 5980/1R-001; rose gold case and bracelet, black dial, MSRP: $88,230
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5990
The Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5900 was added to the collection in 2014 as an evolution of the ref. 5980. Along with the chronograph function, the ref. 5900 also boasts the practical travel time complication. The travel time is Patek Philippe‘s approach to a dual time watch with both the local and reference time hour hands placed at the center where the latter is skeletonized for differentiation. Plus, there are also “Home” and “Local” day/night windows at 3 and 9 o’clock, respectively, not to mention the local date sub-dial at 12 and the elapsed minutes chronograph counter at six.
Exclusively available in stainless steel, the 5990/1A’s case measures 40.5mm in diameter, equipped with a pair of chronograph pushers on the right and a pair of pushers on the left to jump the hour hand in one-hour increments.
- Nautilus 5990/1A-001; stainless steel case and bracelet, black dial, MSRP: $55,340
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740
In 2018, Patek Philippe introduced the first grand complication model to the Nautilus lineup in the form of the Nautilus Perpetual Calendar ref. 5740/1G-001. Not only is the combination of Patek’s signature complication with the sporty Nautilus silhouette a powerhouse pairing, but it’s also worth pointing out that the 40mm case of the ref. 5740 only measures a mere 8.42mm thick thanks to the ultra-thin Caliber 240 Q inside the case.
The Nautilus Perpetual Calendar’s case, which is water-resistant to 60 meters, is fashioned from white gold, as is the integrated bracelet. Contrasting with the white precious metal exterior is the sunburst blue dial, which is home to a trio of sub-dials that indicate the day, date, month, leap year, moonphase, and 24-hour indications.
- Nautilus 5740/1G-001; white gold case and bracelet, blue dial, MSRP:$123,380
Although there are ladies’ Nautilus models and special gem-set Nautilus references, the above are the six main references within the current men’s Nautilus collection. Whether in straightforward time/date form or as a complex perpetual calendar, the distinct design of Patek’s famed sports watch is one that is immediately recognizable.
Do you have a favorite Nautilus model? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
*All images courtesy of Patek Philippe