You cannot just write about a Nautilus watch without mentioning its extraordinary story. In the 1970s, Patek Philippe dared something that was risky and somehow unusual for such a traditional brand, which had, until then, exclusively focused on elegant, slim gold watches and complications – the epitome of Haute Horlogerie. Suddenly, a man called Gérald Genta (yes, the same mastermind who designed the Royal Oak a few years before) suggested to Philippe Stern (then-CEO of Patek) to launch a steel sports watch. Critics say that the Nautilus became the “enfant terrible” of Patek Philippe’s history.
A popular color code – the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980 in Bicolor
When the new design was first introduced in 1976 at Baselworld, buyers and clients were not exactly fans. Nevertheless, Philippe Stern saw great potential in it and had an ingenious marketing idea in mind. He justified the Nautilus’ design by saying: “They work as well with a wet suit as they do with a dinner suit”. This statement was targeted at a new potential clientele, while simultaneously addressing loyal customers. And it worked! Today, the Nautilus is a true member of Patek Philippe.
Unchanged – the porthole construction of the case inspired from steamboats
In 2006, the Nautilus celebrated a comeback after some years off the radar. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the line, Patek Philippe introduced their in-house movement, calibre CH 28-520 C. We got our hands on to the Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5980/1AR with a bicolour case and bracelet design that was introduced in 2010. Although at the beginning the Nautilus became famous in a steel case, Patek Philippe later added gold versions to the collection. However, the rounded octagonal shape of the bezel and famous porthole construction (inspired from steamboats) of the case has remained unchanged.
The Nautilus 5980 is equipped with the anniversary calibre CH 28-520 C
The chronograph start/stop pusher is located at 2 o’clock. The pusher at 4 o’clock resets the mechanism with its flyback function. The 60-minute and 12-hour counters are displayed on one mono-subdial at 6 o’clock. There is a tiny date correction push piece at 8 o’clock, which can be adjusted with a tool delivered at purchase. Patek Philippe has its own quality seal called the ‘Patek Philippe Seal’. It approves the technical, functional and aesthetic factors and also rates accuracy and dependability.
Elegant and sporty – the Nautilus 5980 with flyback chronograph
For everyone that has never worn a Nautilus watch before – in the 1970s, when this watch was designed, the major challenge was to produce the steel bracelets and lugs, which are seamlessly attached to the case. This technique remains in use to this day, and ensures a unique wearing comfort on the wrist, which is well worth discovering.
The Nautilus 5980 measures 12.6mm in height, it feels thicker than all other Nautilus models