The Evolution of the Patek Philippe Nautilus in Steel

The Evolution of the Patek Philippe Nautilus in Steel

Updated at 22/12/2019 09:28 Collectors Watches Patek Philippe

The Patek Phillipe Nautilus is a truly classic watch from a legendary maker. Now with more than 40 years of history, the watch continues to evolve. The shape is a rounded off octagon. Its unusual shape demands your attention. The shape has stayed the same over the years with a few exceptions. The embossed face and rich colors give you a reason to look closer. Add it all up and you have a luxury steel sports watch that is worth its weight in gold.

Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus


PP earned its reputation by producing gorgeous gold watches with sophisticated features. Nautilus 3700 launched in 1976. The watch is a creation of the legendary designer, Gerald Genta. The design was a departure and launched the company in a new direction.


This is a classic three-hand watch. A date indicator takes the place of the 3 on the embossed dial. Dials came in various colors depending on the configuration. The larger case sizes, 42 and 43 millimeters, are often referred to by fans as the Jumbo. For the most part, the case shape and function are the same from watch to watch. There are several variations on this classic. Genta designed a watch with very specific characteristics. The porthole design is now a classic shape. The polished and satin-brushed parts and integrated bracelet glisten. The finish is of the highest grade.


Looking back, the different versions are all based on the REF 3700. What hasn’t changed is Genta’s porthole design. It has stayed with the model since the beginning and with only slight variations such as case size. Nautilus comes in a variety of case materials and dial colors. The metal parts are an intricate balance of satin-brushed and polished surfaces. The stainless steel bracelet integrates into the case lugs.


This is the one that started it all. The world wasn’t ready for a stainless steel sports watch from Patek Phillipe in 1976. The 3700 took a little while to catch on. The Nautilus line is now dear to collectors, and prices at auction prove it. The original watch featured an embossed dark blue face. No real complications to mention other than a date indicator. The 42mm case is steel, yellow gold or two-tone and was a thin 7.66mm. The horizontal grooves on the dial held simple stick markers and simple text at 12 o’clock. There is no mention of the word Nautilus on the dial.


The 3710, launched in 1998, featured a black dial and date indicator at three o’clock. Roman numeral markers and power reserve indicator below the 12 o’clock marker. The case and bracelet are stainless steel. The 3710 marks the first step in making the Nautilus a well-rounded collection.


The 3712 featured a stainless steel case and bracelet. The familiar date at three o’clock shifted to a black dial with moon phase. A power reserve indicator and stick markers completed the face. The 3712 launched in 2005.


One of four Nautilus models launched in 2006. The 5980 offered the same steel case and bracelet. This automatic chronograph has a unique 60-minute and 12-hour Mono-counter at 6 o'clock. Like the original, the date was back at 3 o'clock. The blue-black dial with luminescent hand and stick markers. The watch featured a screw-down Crown and is Water resistant 120 Meters.


The 5800 marked the return to the discontinued 3800. The watch has a dark blue embossed dial with date indicator at three o’clock and familiar stick markers. This reinterpretation produced this watch for about one year starting 2006.


The 5711 came in rose gold, REFERENCE 5711/1R, and a splendid stainless model 5711/1A. A sweep seconds hand with a black blue dial on both. The 5711/1A is the same watch with a silvery-white dial. The attention to detail is flawless. Polished to the highest standards, these watches are stunning. It is easy to see why they are so prized by collectors the world over.


5712 is a stainless steel case and bracelet. A rose gold version with a brown leather strap and the same watch in white gold with a black leather strap. Like the 3712, this watch features the familiar embossed dial with moon phase and date dial. A dial seconds hand at five o’clock and a power reserve indicator near the ten and eleven. Stick markers complete the face.


The 5726 launched in 2012. The dial’s blue-black gradation gets its inspiration from the original Nautilus. The polished metal gives the watch an elegant and sporty feel. Many of the watches 347 moving parts are visible through a sapphire crystal case back.


Presented in exquisite detail, 5990 is a gorgeous travel watch. This is a more complicated Nautilus. The wearer can see the time in two different time zones at a single glance. The new watch combines two popular complications and features for enhanced everyday convenience. The dial is black gradated. The hour markers feature a luminescent coating. The watch is stainless and rose gold with a dark blue dial, ref 5980/1AR. The rose gold version with a rich brown dial and brown leather strap is ref 5980R. The Rose gold with black dial is ref 5980/1R.


The Nautilus lives on in the lore of iconic timepieces. Gerald Genta created a timeless shape, and it lives on with only minor changes. A 40-year journey to the hearts of PP collectors around the world inspired by a ship's porthole shape. Strap one on; you'll know what we mean when we say it is one of the most sought after of all Patek Phillipe watches.


Not content with a watch that only tells time? Special watches are out there. If you are asking yourself how do I choose a watch like this? What should I pay? Is there value behind the brand and price? You owe it to yourself to look closer into the buyer decision making guides. shows you your options as a buyer. Our guides are indispensable while trying to decide which brand and model is right for you. is ready to help.  Our passion is timeless.

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