HISTORY OF THE NAUTILUS
The early 1970s was a time of great change within the watch industry. At the time of its release, the world was already shifting towards highly-commercialised, quartz watchmaking. In 1969 Seiko launched the first quartz wristwatch, and its success drove the mechanical watch industry to critically low levels of production by the early 1980s.
Furthermore, the concept of a luxury watch in steel was a truly revolutionary idea. In 1976, the introduction of Patek Philippe’s Nautilus firmly altered the direction of luxury sports watch design – offering a true competitor to Audemars Piguet's then four-year-old Royal Oak, equally designed by Mr Genta. The Nautilus offered a different take on the idea of a luxury sports watch, though - like the Royal Oak - it was made in stainless steel for the standard version.
The original ref. 3700/001A was not only unprecedented in its design, but also in its initial pricing to consumers. When the Nautilus was released, the retail price for the watch was $3,100 - considerable for the time, and comparable to many of Patek Philippe’s gold dress watches.
THE DESIGN OF THE ORIGINAL 3700
Remarkably, Gerald Genta is said to have sketched the 3700’s design whilst dining meters away from Patek Philippe executives. His “five minutes of work”, is today considered one of the masterpieces of modern design. Its etymology comes from Jules Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, after the ‘Nautilus’ submarine, used by Captain Nemo.
Like the Royal Oak, the Nautilus’ water-resistant technology (120 meters) required innovative strategy. Gerald Genta’s inspiration for the iconic Nautilus architecture was to replicate that of the secure ‘porthole’ windows, found on transatlantic ocean liners, complete with a two-piece, solid mono-block and octagonal bezel, secured by four lateral screws (concealed at 3 and 9 o’clock), holding the case tightly together.
Following the introduction of the original Nautilus, Patek Philippe experimented with different case sizes, materials and dial designs. A few decades after it was originally sketched, the time felt right to gradually integrate a dose of complexity into Genta's design. Introduced in 2005, the ref. 3712 marked the first time a significant number of complications were integrated into the Nautilus case. Released the following year, the ref. 5712 has carried this legacy forwards to the current day, integrating a date, moonphase, power reserve and subsidiary seconds display. It was one of several models launched to mark the 30th anniversary of the Nautilus collection.
The 5712 reinterprets a number of signature design elements from the original Nautilus, mostly notably, the gradient blue dial with horizontal grooves. The different complications are laid out in an intuitive manner, retaining legibility and balance, despite the wealth of information displayed. Usually placed in prime position, in this case, the "Patek Philippe" signature is discretely shifted to the right. It additionally features all the traditional indications of a time-only watch, with applied hour-markers and Nautilus hands with luminescent inserts.
Similar to its predecessor, the 5712 measures 40mm (between 10 and 4 o'clock), classing it amongst the "Jumbo" collection. It features Patek Philippe’s modern interpretation of the Nautilus case, with 3-part construction, sapphire case-back and curved "ears" on either side. The case and bracelet are excellently finished, with beveled, polished and granular surfaces. The steel bracelet has virtually no stretch, with flat central links.
The reference 5712/1A-001 is powered by Patek Philippe’s in-house calibre 240 PS IRM C LU (for petite seconde, indication de réserve de marche, calendrier et lune – small second, power reserve indicator, date and moon), visible through the sapphire display-back. It features 29 jewels, a straight-line lever escapement, shock absorber mechanism a self-compensating flat balance spring and a monometallic balance, adjusted to cold, heat, isochronism and 5 positions. Furthermore, the 22k solid-gold micro-rotor is finished in classic Patek Philippe style, with Geneva stripes.
The watch comes with a Patek Philippe outer box, wooden inner box, Certificate of Origin, leather wallet, product literature and setting pin.
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