Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches: Some Good Things Truly Last

Apr 10, 2020
Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches: Some Good Things Truly Last

As the last independent, family-owned Genevan watch manufacturer, Patek Philippe prides itself in its full control over its watchmaking process. To fulfil its promise of delivering highly precise and well-crafted watches, each Patek Philippe timepiece is meticulously finished by hand. Amongst its many well-loved and diverse timepieces is the Patek Philippe Nautilus, which stands out as one of the brand’s most iconic watches ever.

Introduced in 1976, the Patek Philippe Nautilus is the epitome of elegance. Moreover, it demonstrates Patek Philippe’s masterful craftsmanship and artistic techniques. With its recognisable round octagonal bezel, the luxury sports watch possesses a distinctly masculine yet elegant look.

A Glimpse at the Rich History of the Patek Philippe Nautilus Watch

Since the launch of the Patek Philippe Nautilus Collection in 1976, it has become one of the brand’s most sought-after watches. Although it wasn’t the first luxury sports watch made of steel (that position is being held by Audemars Piguet Royal Oak), the first Nautilus — the Nautilus Reference 3700 — was known as the first costliest sports watch made of steel. It had an octagonal shape housed in a 42mm stainless steel case. 

Gerald Genta's sketch of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe's Nautilus
Photo from Patek Philippe

Designed by Gérald Genta, the same designer who did the Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet, the Patek Philippe Nautilus’ innovative design was inspired by a ship’s porthole. The inspiration came to Genta one day while he was having dinner at a restaurant in a hotel. And it was said that it only took him five minutes to finish the sketch of the watch. Little did he know that his design would become iconic to this day.

And so there it was; the first Patek Philippe Nautilus, Reference 3700. It had an octagonal bezel with a dial featuring horizontal grooves pattern. It was powered by the thin self-winding movement 28-255 and had a water-resistance of 120 metres, which was such a big deal at the time.

A Hero in the Quartz Crisis

The name ‘Nautilus’ came from Captain Nemo’s submarine of the same name from the classic French novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. And just like Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, Patek Philippe’s Nautilus also played a big role in surviving a crisis. This time, it was the Quartz crisis in the ’70s.

When the quartz movement was introduced by Seiko in 1969, the luxury watch market nearly collapsed. Imagine the traditional watchmakers with their complex mechanical movements that required a substantial amount of time and resources to produce, competing with machines that produced quartz movement in bulk at a much shorter period of time and sold at a much cheaper price. It was a disaster for the mechanical watch industry. Understandably so, most of the companies decided to close down.

But not Patek Philippe. Instead of going with the flow and producing affordable watches, just like the others, they’ve decided to launch the Nautilus as a high-end luxury watch at a very expensive price. With its marketing line: “The Costliest Watch Made of Steel,” Patek Philippe changed its course with the help of the mighty Nautilus.

And the rest is history. To this day, this watch is as legendary as it was more than 40 years ago.

15 of the Best Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches

As a tribute to this legend of a watch, we have rounded up 15 of the most elegant and luxurious Patek Philippe Nautilus watches available in the market. Find out which one suits you best — from the minimalist to the diamond-studded!

1. Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph

Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph, Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches, Swiss Watch, Date Display, Silver Watch

As suggested by its name, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph is furnished with a time travel function, which indicates two different time zones at a single glance. Combined with a chronograph equipped with a 60-minute counter, this is a highly functional timepiece that offers everyday convenience to professionals.

Enclosed within a 40.5mm steel case, this watch boasts a black graduated dial with gold applied hour makers. A calibre CH 28-520 C FUS, specially developed for the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph, powers this watch.

Instead of a traditional column wheel with a disk clutch, the chronograph features a time travel mechanism. This innovative movement allows for a dual time zone function without compromising the amplitude of balance and rate accuracy. Likewise, thanks to its iconic octagonal bezel, the silver-black chronograph melds functionality with a rugged elegance.

2. Patek Philippe Nautilus 59800R/001 Chronograph

Patek Philippe Nautilus 59800R/001 Chronograph, Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches, Date Display, Alligator Strap, Swiss Watch

The Nautilus Chronograph 5980 is the first Patek Philippe Nautilus that features a leather strap. Having debuted at the 2010 Baselworld, this timepiece proves that gold and brown are the perfect partners in crime. Additionally, it also possesses a handsome, rugged vibe with its black-brown dial and a 40.5mm case crafted in 18K rose gold.

A matte brown alligator strap further accentuates this watch’s masculine elegance. Indeed, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980 is a versatile accessory perfect for a casual weekend or a professional setting.

3. Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A Moon Phase

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712/1A Moon Phase, Sapphire, Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches, Swiss Watch, Luxury Watch

With a dial coated in an enchanting shade of black-blue, this Patek Philippe Nautilus Moon Phase watch is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement. What sets this watch apart from other Nautilus models is its unique moon phase indicator. Etched on the dial is a sapphire-crafted disc that rotates within an aperture to indicate different moon phases. Notably, this is decorated with golden stars and two moons.

At the start of each lunation, the edge of the golden moon emerges, representing a new crescent moon. As the lunar cycle progresses, the moon appears in full and then wanes as it disappears behind the terminator on the right. Indeed, the moon phase indicator offers a unique way to chart the passage of time. With its silver and midnight blue design, this timepiece embodies craftsmanship at its finest.

4. Patek Nautilus 5980/1R Chronograph in Full Gold

Patek Nautilus 5980/1R Chronograph in Full Gold, Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches, Gold Watch, Self-winding Watch, Date Display

With an exquisite rose gold design, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph stands out from the rest. Contrasting against the 18K rose gold case is its black dial which features a horizontal embossed texture. More than that, the appeal of this rose gold chronograph goes beyond aesthetics. It lives up to Patek Philippe’s name with its sapphire-crystal caseback and water-resistant properties of up to 120 metres.

Powered by a mechanical self-winding movement, the chronograph has both a 60-minute and 12-hour mono-counter. At the 3 o’clock mark is a date window peeking within a gold frame. This full-gold Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph is certainly a sturdy and handsome timepiece that brings out confidence in whoever wears it.

5. Patek Philippe Nautilus 5724G/001 Moon Phase

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5724G/001 Moon Phase, Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches, Blue Strap, Diamonds, Swiss Watch

With a diamond-embedded bezel, this Patek Philippe Nautilus Moon Phase calls out to gentlemen who are out to make a statement. Embellished with 44 baguette diamonds, it comes in a 40mm white-gold case. Besides that, a navy blue alligator leather strap completes its elegant design.

Far from compromising masculinity, the diamonds add a new dimension to the watch, creating a dignified and stylish look. With a self-winding mechanical movement, this dashing timepiece is perfect for the modern, fashionable gentleman.

6. Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740/1G Perpetual Calendar

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740/1G Perpetual Calendar, Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches, Silver Watch, Swiss Watch, Blue Watch Face

Launched in 2018, this is the first grand complication in the Patek Philippe Nautilus line. The Nautilus 5740 showcases an analogue perpetual calendar, with three sub-dials harmoniously integrated into the blue dial. A testament to the technical finesse at Patek Philippe, this timepiece features an ultra-thin self-winding calibre 240 Q movement, making it Patek Philippe’s thinnest perpetual calendar. (Source)

This Patek Philippe Nautilus also comes in an 18K white-gold bracelet that has a new fold-over clasp. The new clasp design optimises security by preventing any unintended release, at the same time offering greater comfort. With its new features, this timepiece embodies Patek Philippe’s commitment to innovation and watchmaking artistry.

With casual elegance, the Nautilus Perpetual Calendar is a must-have for any avid watch collector.

7. Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A Sweep Seconds

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A Sweep Seconds, Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches, Stainless Steel Watch, Date Display, Swiss Watch

Thanks to its simple design, this stainless steel Patek Philippe Nautilus Date/Sweep Seconds timepiece embodies class and understated elegance.

This minimalist watch features a silvery-white dial which complements its 40mm stainless steel case and bracelet. It runs on the self-winding mechanical movement calibre 26-330 SC, which provides a 45-hour power reserve. Furnished with a sweep second hand, this watch flaunts a smooth and delicate movement that would captivate any watch enthusiast.

Overall, with ingeniousness and simplicity, this is an unpretentious watch that offers sleek functionality with a touch of sophistication.

8. Patek Phiippe Nautilus 5711/1R Date

Patek Phiippe Nautilus 5711/1R Date, Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches


With its 40mm rose gold case and a matching bracelet, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1R spells luxury. A nice accessory to a suit or tuxedo, the watch has a dark-brown minimalist dial displaying gold-applied hour markers with luminescent coating and indexes. The only other feature adorning the dial is a small window peeking at 3 o’clock.

Running on the self-winding mechanical Calibre 26‑330 S C movement, the elegant watch boasts a maximum of 45 hours of power reserve. At only 8.3mm thickness, the watch fits right under a dress shirt of your suit for any formal affairs or sit-down dinners. 

9. Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726A-001 Annual Calendar

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726A-001 Annual Calendar, Patek Phlippe Nautilus Watches


A suave and handsome watch for the gentleman, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726A-001 boasts a sophisticated look and cutting-edge functionality. It features a 40.5mm stainless steel case paired with an elegant black leather strap. On its dial with the iconic horizontal pattern, you’ll see gold-applied hour markers as well as hour and minute hands and sweep seconds hands. At 12 o’clock sits the day and month window, while at 6 o’clock peeks the date aperture. You’ll see the beautiful Moonphase feature at 6 o’clock as well. 

Inside this sophisticated watch beats the self-winding mechanical Caliber 324 S QA LU 24H/303 movement, giving it a robust 45 hours of power reserve. With a 120m water-resistance, this watch is as versatile as it gets — you can wear it any time of the day at any occasion, or for a weekend of island hopping

10. Patek Philippe Nautilus 7010R Quartz

Patek Philippe Nautilus 7010R Quartz, Nautilus Watches from Patek Philippe

No lady can resist this gorgeous timepiece in a 32mm rose gold case! The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ladies’ 7010R is what dream watches are made of. From its minimalist cream-coloured dial with the horizontal embossed pattern to the 46 diamonds on the bezel, down to its matching beige leather strap, this watch is every inch feminine yet powerful. 

Aside from the golden and luminescent hands and hour markers, the only other adornment on the dial is a tiny date window peeking at 3 o’clock. Beating at its heart is the Calibre E23‑250 S C quartz movement, which boasts a frequency of 32,768 Hz and a battery life of three years! Talk about being low maintenance, too!

11. Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980/1AR Chronograph

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980/1AR Chronograph, Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches

Epitomising what a luxury sports watch should be, this two-tone Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980/1AR Chronograph enchants not only with its aesthetics but with its exceptional functionality as well. The 40.5mm steel and rose gold case houses a vibrant blue dial made more appealing by the iconic horizontal embossed pattern. The dial retains its minimalist appeal even if it features a chronograph sub-dial at 6 o’clock. A nice date window at 3 o’clock keeps the whole design interesting. 

Underneath its handsome design, the watch is equipped with the mechanical self-winding Caliber CH 28‑520 C movement, giving the watch a power reserve of 55 hours! What’s more, the watch boasts a 120m water-resistance, a sapphire crystal caseback, and a screw-down crown for maximum protection and durability. To finish the whole design, a matching two-tone stainless steel and rose gold bracelet wraps up the elegant watch. 

12. Patek Philippe Nautilus Full Diamond 5719/10G 

Patek Philippe Nautilus Full Diamond 5719/10G, Patek Philippe Full Diamond Watch

Now, just when you thought you’ve seen the best from this collection, comes the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5719/10G in full diamond! From the 40mm white gold case to the dial, bezel, and bracelet, this enchanting Nautilus is studded with diamonds all over! To illustrate further, the case has 100 diamonds and 32 baguette diamonds, the dial is also fully set with 255 diamonds and three baguette diamond hour markers, while the bracelet is studded with 803 diamonds and 150 baguette diamonds. This totals to 1,343 diamonds of 18.73 carats! How’s that for opulence?

Inside, the watch does not skimp on beauty as well. It runs on the self-winding mechanical Calibre 324 S C movement, giving it a robust 45 hours of power reserve. Just like the rest of the watches in the collection, it also boasts a screw-down crown, a sapphire crystal caseback, and water-resistance of up to 120 metres. 

13. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ladies’ 7118/1200A

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ladies 7118/1200A, Patek Philippe Ladies' Nautilus Watches

Another diamond-set number in the selection is the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ladies 7118/1200A. Although they did not go all out on the diamonds this time, this watch retains its understated opulence. A slightly bigger ladies’ Nautilus — 35.2mm compared to the usual 32mm case — the 7118/1200A features a vibrant blue opaline dial with a matching stainless steel bracelet. The dial displays a clean design with only the hands, indexes, and a date window at 3 o’clock adorning it. 

Powered by the self-winding mechanical Calibre 324 S C movement, this elegant yet sporty ladies’ watch boasts a 45-hour power reserve and water-resistance of up to 60 metres. To provide wearer more comfort, the bracelet comes with a new adjustment system. Did we mention the bezel is covered with diamonds?

14. Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712R Moon Phase

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712R Moon Phase, Patek Philippe Nautilus Watches

Another elegant number in the selection is the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712R Moon Phase watch in a gold case and a rich brown leather strap. At first glance, this watch reminds you of a gentleman who knows what he wants. And he is out to get it. The 40mm rose gold case houses a black-brown dial made more interesting by the iconic Nautilus horizontal pattern. Even though the dial displays three sub-dials for its calendar and moon phase features, seconds function, and power reserve indication, it still manages to look uncluttered and elegant. 

The whole setup is being powered by the self-winding mechanical Calibre 240 PS IRM C LU movement. This gives the watch a robust power reserve of 48 hours! The screw-down crown and the sapphire-crystal caseback also allow the watch a water-resistance of up to 60 metres.

15. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ladies’ 7010/1R

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ladies’ 7010/1R, Patek Philippe Ladies' Nautilus

Last but not least in our selection of watches from the iconic Patek Philippe Nautilus collection is this decadent Nautilus 7010/1R for the ladies. The 32mm rose gold case is studded with diamonds and paired with a matching bracelet. This watch is not for the faint of heart! Yes, ladies, you need to earn this watch. 

The applied gold hour markers and hands look elegant against the golden dial. Meanwhile, only a small date window at 3 o’clock is interrupting its minimalist design. Surrounding it is a bezel with 46 diamonds! As if these aren’t enough, this luxurious watch runs on the Calibre E23‑250 S C quartz movement. This gives the watch a battery life of three golden years! How’s that for a keeper? 

Final Touches

So, whoever said a sports watch needs to be rough and rugged clearly hasn’t laid eyes yet on the Patek Philippe Nautilus. These luxury sports watches are the embodiment of style and functionality. From its first introduction more than 40 years ago in 1976 until today, the Nautilus’ charm has never ceased to appeal to watch lovers, young and old alike.


Curious to know why a Patek Philippe watch is expensive? Read our story here

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