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 reference 5800
In 2006, Patek Philippe released the reference 5800/1A-001 (exclusively in steel) - featuring an automatic 330 calibre (SC) and ‘ridged' blue dial, with horizontal grooves. The 5800 marked the return of the mid-size Nautilus, previously discontinued in the early 2000s (as the ref. 3800). Examples of the reference 5800 were produced for a limited time (approximately one year), representing an exceptionally rare and highly-collectable modern Patek Philippe.
The 5800 re-interprets a number of signature design elements from the original Nautilus - mostly notably, the monobloc case construction (with integrated sapphire case-back) - the only reference from the modern collection (2006) to do so. Similar to its earlier, mid-size predecessor, the 5800 measures 38.4mm (up from 37.5mm), comfortably suited to most wrist sizes. The steel, two-piece case provides water resistance up to 120m, further featuring a screw-down crown.
This steel, Nautilus 5800 watch is the perfect balance between utilitarian function and elegant design. The case and bracelet are excellently finished, with beveled, polished and granular surfaces. The steel bracelet has virtually no stretch. At 38.4mm in diameter, and only 7.8mm thick, the 5800 case is a unique twist of perspectives and size. The ‘ridged’ blue dial includes all the traditional indications of a time-only watch, with applied hour-markers and Nautilus hands (with luminescent inserts).
The reference 5800/1A-001 is powered by Patek Philippe’s in-house calibre 330 SC, 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 solid-gold rotor is finished in classic Patek Philippe style, with circular Geneva stripes.
This Patek Philippe ref. 5800 Nautilus comes with its original box, outer box, Certificate of Origin, leather pouch and product literature.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.