The Patek Phillipe Nautilus is a truly timeless watch from a legendary watchmaker. Now with more than 40 years of history, the watch has had a vast as well as illustrious career. The design has stayed the same over the course of years with minor tweaks here and there. The shape is essentially a slightly rounded octagon, something that has historically been known to be a signature design of Gerald Genta, the creator of the watch. It is this unique shape that catches your attention.
The embossed face, the rich colors, and the clean lines help you keep your ADHD aside and pay attention. Add it all up and you have a luxury steel sports watch that is worth way more than gold.
The Career of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711
Gerald Genta and His Creations
The legendary watch designer, Gerald Genta was on a high in the 1970s. You see, while most designers hope to create one iconic design that would set their careers apart, Gerald Genta didn’t stop at that. He sketched out the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and then just after that he created the Nautilus. This was directly followed by IWC’s Ingenieur. Genta sketched the Patek Philippe Nautilus in the year 1974. Inspired by the octagonal shape of a submarine’s porthole, the Nautilus is a true masterpiece. Today, five different models make up the current Nautilus collection.
This brings up the question, is Gerald Genta a Royal Oak or a Nautilus guy?
A Royal Oak: A Genta Creation
The Royal Oak was the first all-steel sports watch ever made in history. Don’t get it wrong, though. Audemars Piguet introduced the first all-steel sports watch in 1972, but there were steel watches made before that. Steel watches did exist before the Royal Oak appeared onto the scene. There are fine examples going back to the 1950s like Omega and Breitling chronographs. The Royal Oak, however, changed the game. It added the luxury factor that no one thought of adding to a steel watch. It was not an immediate success as it took some time to catch on. However, once it did, there was no looking back.
The Question of Size
The Patek Philippe Nautilus featured a larger case than the Royal Oak. Along with its unusual shape, it was the size of the watch that put it under the spotlight. Fast forward 40 years in the future, and we have the Nautilus, along with a certain timepiece that goes by the name ‘Calatrava’, as one of Patek Philippe’s best creations.
42 mm cases were not in demand at the time the Nautilus was launched. If we take a closer look at the history of luxury watchmaking, watches have gotten bigger over the last 20 odd years. A good example would be the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch and the Breitling Super Chronomat. This gave timepieces like the Nautilus, which were way bigger than the standard case sizes back in the day, an edge, so to speak.
Stainless Steel: The New Gold
At Basel World 1974, Gerald Genta unveiled the sketch of the Nautilus to Patek Phillipe executives. The key difference between the Royal Oak and the Nautilus lied in the fact that the former has an octagonal shape with 8 clear-cut sides, whereas the latter had a rather rounded octagonal shape.
Long before the Nautilus made its debut in the watch catalogue, Patek Philippe made some of the most beautiful gold watches filled with sophistication. The Nautilus was, in other words, was a move towards a new direction.
The year 1980 saw the introduction of the lady Nautilus, an extension to the already popular Nautilus line. It took a little time to catch on but the lady Nautilus eventually received a boost in popularity.
The Reference 5711: A Cult Classic
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5711 is classic three-hand watch. A date indicator neatly takes its place at the 3 o‘clock position on the embossed dial. Dials for this watch came in various colours, depending on the configuration. The larger case sizes, of 42 mm and 43 mm, are referred to as the “Jumbo” watches. There are basically several variations on this classic model. For the most part, the case design and the functions are the same with minor tweaks varying from watch to watch.
The reference numbers actually indicate the case material. The codes read 1A for steel, 1P for platinum, 1R for rose gold, 1G for white gold, and 1J for yellow gold.
Some Popular References
- REFERENCE 5711G-001
The beautiful Ref. 5711G-001 is a white gold masterpiece with a dark dial and a metal bracelet. The watch is currently not in production.
- REFERENCE 5711J-001
The Ref. 5711J-001 is a yellow gold watch with a white dial that has a brown leather strap. The timepiece is currently not in production.
- REFERENCE 5711/1A – 010
The Ref. 5711/1A-010 is a stainless steel icon in the world of luxury watches with a dark blue dial/black dial fitted with a stainless steel bracelet.
- REFERENCE 5711/1A – 011
Similar to the Ref. 5711/1A-010, the 011 is a stainless steel watch with a white dial and steel bracelet.
- REFERENCE 5711/1R – 001
This Ref. 5711/IR-001 is a rose gold watch that features a rich brown dial. The watch has the same movement and case as the other 5711s mentioned above.
- REFERENCE 5711 / 1P
The 5711/1P is one of the two references made in solid platinum. The timepiece has a solid platinum case as well as bracelet, and a dark dial. The timepiece is currently out of production.
- REFERENCE 5711/1P
This is the second reference that comes in a platinum case. Along with a solid platinum case as well as bracelet, this watch comes with a deep blue dial. The production run for this watch was up to 700 pieces. The dial was embossed with the dates 1976 to 2016, marking 40 glorious years of production. The watch was in the market for only one year and is currently out of production.
- REFERENCE 5711-1A-014
The Nautilus Ref. 5711-1A-014 is a highly sought-after timepiece as it is an end-of-line creation marking the end of the 5711/1A series. Production for this watch was limited to the year 2021.
- REFERENCE 5711-1300A-001
The 5711-1300A-001 watch is part of the end-of-line production which witnesses, for the time, the introduction of diamonds in a stainless steel Nautilus. Production for this watch was also limited to the year 2021.
The legacy of Nautilus lives on as one of the most iconic timepieces to ever set foot in the proverbial ring. Gerald Genta created a timeless design and it lives on to this day as one of the most sought-after watches on the whole planet. This journey of a porthole-shaped watch of more than 40 years has inspired generations of watchmakers as well as collectors, and there is no doubt about it that it will continue to do so. Strap one on and you’ll know.