Patek Philippe is one of the most popular luxury watch brands in the world. It is a close competitor of other big watch brands like Rolex and Omega. And it is widely known for making some of the most expensive and complicated watches in history. The most expensive watch sold at an auction was a Grandmaster Chime wristwatch manufactured by Patek Philippe. It was sold for 31 million USD at an auction in 2019.
Aside from these watches, Patek Philippe is known for its Aquanaut and Nautilus collections. The Nautilus is one of Patek Philippe’s most popular watch models, if not the most popular. It is also one of the most popular luxury watch models in the entire market. But there is more to Nautilus than its popularity. This article will provide three main facts about Patek Philippe’s most coveted watch.
Patek Philippe’s Most Popular Watch Model
The Patek Philippe Nautilus is the most popular watch model created by this Swiss watch brand in the market, and many watch enthusiasts would certainly agree. If you search for articles about the most popular and sought-after Patek Philippe watches in the market, you will most likely see the Nautilus on these articles over and over. It has always been popular since its first release in 1976, and many watch collectors want to get a hold of this luxury sports watch. The Nautilus comes in many varieties and colors, but that is not the main reason why this watch model became so well-known.
Why Is It Popular?
Before the Nautilus watch was first introduced to the market, luxury mechanical watches faced intense competition from quartz watches, such as the ones introduced by Seiko in 1969. These quartz watches were seen as more precise and cheaper, which drew more consumers away from luxury mechanical watches. Because of this, luxury watch manufacturers like Patek Philippe had to create high-end, innovative luxury watches that are expensive yet functional and versatile. The Nautilus became popular because it is a watch that you can wear with your suit and when you are at the beach at the same time. The Nautilus also has a sleek, thin design compared to other luxury sports watches, which looked big and bulky on the wrist.
And finally, the Nautilus is a great mix of comfort and beauty. The watch has a unique and classy design yet it can be worn comfortably on the wrist and it also has a water resistance of up to 120 meters. It may not be the first luxury sports watch made from steel to be released in the market, but there are other things that the Nautilus is known for.
The Designer Was Gerald Genta
Many watch nerds and enthusiasts are familiar with Gerald Genta. For those who do not know him, he is a prominent watch designer and artist from Switzerland. And he was known for his collaboration with big watch brands such as Omega, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe. This is noteworthy, as Genta also helped design the Royal Oak, one of Audemars Piguet’s most popular watches. The Royal Oak is also considered to be Nautilus’s main rival since it was released four years before Patek Philippe released the Nautilus. The Royal Oak was the first of its kind, a luxury sports watch made from steel and with an integrated bracelet. After designing the Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet, Gerald then worked with Patek Philippe and introduced the design of the Nautilus.
Inspiration for the name and design
Gerald said that he got his inspiration for the design of the Nautilus when he had dinner at a restaurant of a hotel. He thought about the porthole shape of windows found in many transatlantic ocean liners while dining alone on one side of the dining hall and looking at Patek Philippe executives, who were located on the other side of the dining hall. The name “Nautilus” was derived from the submarine featured in Jules Verne’s classic novel “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.” The name and porthole shape of the watch was also inspired by the Stern family’s passion for sailing. For additional context, the Stern family is the family that currently owns Patek Philippe, with Thierry Stern serving as President of the company. Nevertheless, the Nautilus was marketed by the company as “one of the world’s costliest watches is made of steel” and it was released at the time when the entire watch industry is starting to feel the hit from the quartz crisis in the 1970s.
Nautilus Was Discontinued (But Revived Again)
Saying that Nautilus is Patek Philippe’s most popular watch model may seem repetitive and annoying. But it is just the truth. While the company does not provide specific details about the number of Nautilus watches it manufactures every year, many Nautilus watches are priced at around 140,000 USD depending on the retailer. This watch model is extremely popular that watch collectors would need to wait for around ten years just to buy a Nautilus. Nonetheless, the Nautilus could have become the victim of its own success, as Patek Philippe announced that it would discontinue manufacturing Nautilus watches somewhere around January of 2021.
This came as a shocker to the entire watch industry, as they did not expect that one of the world’s biggest watch companies would stop manufacturing its most popular and profitable watch model to date. It was even compared by an article published by GQ as if McDonald’s stopped selling the Big Mac. After all, Patek Philippe was victorious in creating a watch that everyone wanted, so why did they decide to discontinue manufacturing Nautilus watches anyways? Turns out, the Nautilus was not a favorite of Patek Philippe’s President, Thierry Stern. And while he was impressed with its sales, he was not amused with how the Nautilus model stole all the attention from Patek Philippe’s other watch brands like the Aquanaut. As soon as this news was released, many investors and luxury watch collectors scrambled to get a piece of this watch as the supply of the Nautilus became more scarce. But a few months later, Patek Philippe announced that it would release new versions of the Nautilus watch. This news was received well, but Patek Philippe said that it will make good on its promise to end production of this watch model by 2021.
Allow us to say it again even if it sounds cliche, the Nautilus is the most popular Patek Philippe watch ever made. Maybe it is even the most popular luxury sports watch ever conceived. The Patek Philippe Nautilus was born out of intense competition, designed by one of the watch industry’s most creative and brilliant minds, and it became one of the most coveted watches in the industry after its release. Truly, the Nautilus embodies the watchmaking tradition that Patek Philippe has stood by for hundreds of years, and it will continue to represent the brand even if its manufacturer no longer has any plans to continue making these watches. This watch has made history, and it surely deserves its spot among the most well-known watches in the world.