You cannot just write about a Nautilus watch without mentioning its extraordinary story. In the 1970s Patek Philippe has dared something that was risky and somehow unusual for such a traditional brand, which until then exclusively focused on elegant, slim gold watches and complications – the epitome of Haute Horlogerie. Suddenly a man called Gérald Genta (yes, the same mastermind who designed the Royal Oak a few years before) suggested to Philippe Stern (CEO of Patek at that time) to launch a sporty shaped watch in steel. Critics say that the Nautilus became the ‘enfant terrible’ of the Patek Philippe watchmaking history.
When the new design was first introduced in 1976 at Baselworld watch fair, buyers and clients were mainly criticizing it. But Philippe Stern saw great potential in it and had a clever marketing idea. He justified the Nautilus in saying: “They work as well with a wet suit as they do with a dinner suit”. This claim was targeted to a new potential clientele but at the same time addressed to loyal customers. And it worked! Today the Nautilus is a true member of the Patek Philippe watch collection.
In 2006 the Nautilus celebrated a comeback after some years of absence. And to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this line Patek Philippe introduced their in-house movement calibre CH 28-520 C. We have got our hands on to the Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5980/1AR with a bicolor case and bracelet design which was introduced in 2010. Although at the beginning the Nautilus became famous in steel only, Patek Philippe later added gold versions to the collection. But the rounded octagonal shape of the bezel and famous porthole construction (inspired from steamboats) of the case has remained unchanged.
The Chronograph start/stop pusher is located at 2 o’clock. The pusher at 4 o’clock resets the mechanism and is equipped with a flyback function. The 60 minute and 12 hour counter are displayed on one mono-subdial at 6 o’clock. There is a tiny date correction push piece at 8 o’clock which can be adjusted with a tool delivered at purchase. Patek Philippe has its own quality seal called the ‘Patek Philippe Seal’. It controls the technical, function and aesthetic factors as well as it rates accuracy, dependability and customer service quality.
For everyone that has never worn a Nautilus watch before – in the 1970s when this watch was designed the major challenge was to produce the steel bracelets and lugs, which are attached seamless to the case construction. This technique remains until today and ensures a unique wearing comfort on the wrist you should definitely experience once.