Patek Philippe is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its Nautilus

Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700/1A from 1976
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700/1A from 1976

With two limited-edition Nautilus 40th Anniversary models Patek Philippe, the king of watchmaking, is rendering homage to one of the most iconic wristwatches of the Swiss Watch Industry. Let us look back and discover the new ones …


I was only twelve years old when the Nautilus was launched. At that time I was attending an international boarding school in Montreux in Switzerland. Physically I was close to Geneva, but mentally of course far away of understanding what was happening at Patek Philippe in these days. Even though I was already wearing a mechanical wristwatch. My father was a real watch-lover so I got my first one from him …

Let´s look back and try to summarize the 1970s …

The year 1976 was in the middle of a decade characterized by social, economic, political, and cultural upheavals. A spirit of invigoration emerged to finally overcome the somberness of the post-war years. Anything that was pleasing was also permissible. That applied to hippies and to those people who set up businesses in garages during the fledgling years of the computer industry. Growing affluence freed leisure time for sports, travel to faraway places, cultural interests, and intellectual discourse. People worked to live rather than living to work. Philippe Stern was a typical representative of this generation. It was his grandfather Charles, along with brother Jean, who in 1932 had acquired Patek Philippe, a respected watchmaking company.

Philippe Stern & Gérald Genta …

In 1976, Henri Stern was president of the family-run enterprise, and his son Philippe, who already held an executive position, was poised to succeed him. It was the right time for a showpiece, so he decided to launch a sports wristwatch for the first time in the 137-year history of the manufacture. In close collaboration with Gérald Genta, one of the most gifted watch designers of the 20th century, an innovative timepiece began to take shape, one unlike any seen at Patek Philippe or in the entire watch industry for that matter: the Nautilus Ref. 3700/1A. It was voluminous and made of steel, although the prevailing trend favored very slender watches in gold. It was water resistant to 120 meters, a sensation at the time. And unlike any other wristwatch, it embodied a maritime, nautical aspect: Philippe Stern was a passionate skipper and successful regatta contestant on Lake Geneva.

The Nautilus Ref. 3700/1A was born …

The salient features of the Nautilus Ref. 3700/1A were two lateral case extension ridges at 9 and 3 o’clock, resembling hinges that joined the two-part case ensemble (conventional cases consist of three parts). They were inspired by the locking mechanisms of classic ocean liner portholes that could be sealed to prevent the ingress of water. The crystal was framed by an octagonal bezel with gently curved sides and rounded corners, satin-finished on the upper plane and mirror-polished on the beveled flanks. The solid stainless steel bracelet featured the same matt/gloss effect. Despite its ruggedness, it was surprisingly supple on the wrist. The dial, in a blue-tint charcoal, stood out with a horizontal embossed pattern and was graced with applied luminous baton hour markers to match the slender luminous baton hands. For this oeuvre, the name Nautilus was a perfect fit.


Pictures from a very early Nautilus … The Ref. 3800/1A from 1981


Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700/1A from 1976
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800/1A from 1981


Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700/1A from 1976
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800/1A from 1981


Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700/1A from 1976
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800/1A from 1981


Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700/1A from 1976
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800/1A from 1981


Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700/1A from 1976
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800/1A from 1981


Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700/1A from 1976
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800/1A from 1981



New advertisements …

Patek Philippe also explored uncharted territory with the Nautilus launch advertisements and headlines such as “One of the world’s costliest watches is made of steel” and “It goes with a wetsuit as well as with a tuxedo”. Pioneers don’t always have an easy start. But within just a few years, it turned out that the argument behind the Nautilus – casual AND elegant – carried far more weight than concerns regarding the size of the watch and stainless steel as the case material. Those who possess an original Nautilus Ref. 3700/1A today own not just a milestone in horological history but also a precious collector’s piece envied by scores of watch enthusiasts.


Patek Philippe Nautilus advertisement of the past
Patek Philippe Nautilus advertisement of the past


Patek Philippe Nautilus advertisement of the past
Patek Philippe Nautilus advertisement of the past


Patek Philippe Nautilus advertisement of the past
Patek Philippe Nautilus advertisement of the past



A Timeline …

The subsequent history of the Nautilus follows a stringent logic that is illustrated in the annex with the chronological model overview spanning the last 40 years. The original Nautilus Ref. 3700 was launched in steel in 1976 and remained in the collection until 1990. The gamut was continuously extended with further models featuring different case metals, sizes, and dial designs. Key debuts included the 1980 Ladies’ Nautilus Ref. 4700/51J as well as the 1981 Ref. 3800/1 and Ref. 3900/1 midsize models. They were followed in 1996 by watches with Roman numerals (Ref. 3800/1JA) and the first model with a leather strap that foretold the launch of the Aquanaut in 1997. The first complicated Nautilus Ref. 3710/1A with a winding zone indicator IZR was presented in 1998, followed in 2005 by the Ref. 3712/1A, which was the first model endowed with a moon-phase display and a power-reserve indicator. To commemorate its 30th anniversary in 2006, the design of the Nautilus collection for men was subtly reworked, the two-part case superseded by a three-part construction, and crowned with the launch of the Ref. 5980/1A self-winding flyback chronograph model. The 2010 launches introduced the Ref. 5726A Annual Calendar Nautilus with a leather strap (the Ref. 5726/1A bracelet version followed in 2012) and the first chronograph with a leather strap (Ref. 5980R). In 2009, in cooperation with Gérald Genta, the ladies’ collection was delicately reworked and updated. New versions with leather straps and steel bracelets as well as more feminine dials were added in 2013. The first self-winding Ladies’ Nautilus (Ref. 7118/1A) in steel without diamonds was presented in 2015.


Patek Philippe Nautilus Timeline 1976 - 2016
Patek Philippe Nautilus Timeline 1976 – 2016


Do also watch the Nautilus video Patek Philippe provided to me …



Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P 40th Anniversary Limited Edition & Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976/1G 40th Anniversary Limited Edition

The limited-edition Nautilus models launched on the occasion of the 40th anniversary subtly allude to the history of Patek Philippe’s first casually elegant model family. The Ref. 5711/1P with the 40-mm platinum case pays tribute to the original Nautilus Ref. 3700/1A “Jumbo” dating back to 1976, while the 44-mm Nautilus flyback chronograph Ref. 5976/1G salutes the tastefully redesigned 30th anniversary collection introduced in 2006. Both models feature a blue dial with diamond hour markers, the typical Nautilus embossed decor, and a discreet recessed anniversary logo.



>>> Discover the new Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P & the new Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5976/1G on pages 2 and 3 >>>



Here is your first teaser…


Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P 40th Anniversary Limited Edition
Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P 40th Anniversary Limited Edition


Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P 40th Anniversary Limited Edition
Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1P 40th Anniversary Limited Edition




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  • Most of the PPC watches look very 1950 and have a boring design. Totally overestimated brand. Will never buy one, even if I had the money to throw out of the window. And by the way: who cares about a 40th birthday?

  • 700 Pieces in Platin gives a Turnover of 70 Mio @ retail of an Astronomic Price of 105000 Euro without complications , are there 2 kg Platin on the watch ? I think the Sterns are overshooting here, will the next ‘Limited’ Edition be 7000 Watches ?
    This Limitation is produced to absurdum.
    Ok, prices for Pateks have skyrocked, but enough is enough, this is a very unhealthy Development in my Point of view. Are these Watches only produced for russians that want get rid of their Cash Money ? Patek, a watch for generations ? But which Generation shall afford that anymore ? Carlos

  • Nothing personal, but I’m disappointed!
    Firstly, I didn’t expect that Patek will celebrate minor (non-circular) anniversary. 40 years – it’s not 50. For example, the brand celebrated 175 years by the release of limited editions, not 260 years as some rivals:))
    Secondly, the commemorative inscriptions “1976/40/2016” on dials look cheap.
    I’m even willing to agree with diamonds, which Alex didn’t like, but these inscriptions… Unfortunately, the world is ruled by marketing and Thierry C. was affected in this case.
    And, by the way, the question for Alex: Why do you call Patek Philippe PPC? What does “C” mean?

  • This watch is a threat and a plague for people with taste. With totally useless numbers commemorating the 40th anniversary of Nautilus, with diamond hour markers, even the dial color, this watch has zero volume, the way an epidemic or an infectious disease has none; it is like any contagion, which spreads even though it is not spatial. Patek Philippe, at least for me, is no longer an event.

    • Again a very, very personal statement that does not reflect our all opinions here. As already mentioned e.g. I see the things differently. The only thing I share with are the diamonds. For me they shouldn’t be there. Sizes and design although are perfect.

      • Alex if you are honest you have to publish EVERY comment here not only the ones that you like!!! So please tell us what Yanko thinks!!! I don’t want a caesura here on this blog that’s not honest!!!

        • Gerhard, there is no censorship here, but there are clear rules! In this case the comment was rude and insulting persons the author does not even know. I accept every comment as long it stays factual and polite. Again no censorship here!

        • That’s OK not to publish my last comments. There is something you don’t understand: texts contain context which clarify their meaning. You don’t seem to acknowledge this. I am not insulting anybody. You sound like a medieval executioner.

          • If you wish try again in a more polite and factual way and then I will publish your comment with pleasure. I simply do not accept certain wording here … it’s my blog, I make the rules …

  • Wow, is this a joke or what?????
    One of the most horrible new releases from Patek ever.
    I thought that after the release of “Pilot” Calatrava last year things could not get any more ridiculous.
    I was wrong.
    This is just totally insane. What a platinum, diamond studded 2016 Nautilus has in common with a genius GG idea of a stainless steel, superb quality, plain sports watch of a unparalleled, ground braking design????
    Poor Gerald Genta is turning in his grave!
    Patel could not insult him any more with that release!

    • Tom we will see what the international PPC community thinks. It´s your personal point of view… Concerning the Calatrava Travel Time from last year I have to tell you that the watch is an incredible success and many interested buyers are still waiting for their example. All those who did not like it finally bought one, especially those critizising the watch the most. I am sure we will se exact the same phenomenon with the two limited Nautilus watches… First hate than love … PPC now bears the signature of Thierry Stern …

      • You have got to be joking. 48.9 mm is completely obscene. As for ruining what I consider one of the most perfect dials ever ( both the 5976/3700) well, sacralidge. The outrage from all watch/Patek lovers says it all Alexander. Let’s not measure the success by the idiots who will support these hideous pieces because they will purchase for their collections.
        Gerald Genta is turning in his grave!!!

        • Diameter (10 to 4 o’clock): 44 mm
          Width (9 to 3 o’clock incl. crown): 49.25 mm Length (lug to lug): 49.60 mm
          Height (crystal to display back): 12.16 mm

          for the Ref. 5976/1G

          Not bad for a PPC!

          The only thing I personally could do without are those diamonds on the dial… But the rest – size / design – is fine for me …

          Diameter (10 to 4 o’clock): 40.00 mm
          Width (9 to 3 o’clock incl. crown): 44.05 mm Length (lug to lug): 44.00 mm
          Height: 8.3 mm

          for the 5711/1P

          • Alexander, the 5976 is 49.25 from ear to ear! … That is the actual width of the watch. Ridicously oversized. AlthoughI have no issues with the 5711, the date stamp on the dial is a disaster on what was a perfect dial.

      • Hi Alexander,
        With all due respect I have to vehemently disagree.
        You are making common mistake arguing that sales equal success.
        If sales are the only judgement criteria of this new release, PP quite possibly will succeed.
        I, actually, believe that they will sell out all of this limited production quite quickly.
        So what????
        If PP states clearly that sales were all they were concern about, and the only goal of that release was to design something they would profit the most out of, than I would agree it may be a stunning success.
        Otherwise they have miserably failed again.
        There is nothing exciting about it, it looks like an inexperienced, talentless designer has spent half a day looking at 5711 and said:
        let’s make it in platinum, stud it with diamonds and STAMP a dial with ridiculous numerals and let’s sell it for 100K USD. Let’s make a killing!
        Is this is PP philosophy? – than say it. Say it loud and clear.
        Do not give me ” You never own a Patek Philippe…”, give me “We only want to make as much money on a watch as humanly possible” slogan.
        (I will not even discuss the chronograph.
        49.25mm – it says it all!!)
        If this is all PP design team is able to come with on the 40th anniversary of their most iconic watch then I say they failed miserably.
        The box is nice though.

        • It’s the less possible and at same time the maximum PPC could have done in terms of design. Nothing seriously happened to the design, it is still a Nautilus, but the two, three little things generate hate and love … I like it! Not bad at all! I know these are no watches for the traditional PPC lovers. I never was one of them and always found the PPC design a little boring and the watches much to small. Starting with the last years Calatrava Travel Time I started to love PPC more and more… The diamonds on the dial are to much for me either, but the rest is fine …

          • I share the same sentiments as you, Alex. Not too crazy abt the dial and ciMonds which renders it as a special occasion watch. I would like a watch I can wear daily.

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