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Patek Philippe Nautilus: Luxury in Stainless Steel
The Patek Philippe Nautilus is one of the world's most famous and coveted luxury watches. Its value has skyrocketed in recent years, making it a great investment. Rare editions are known to sell for astronomical prices.
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One of the Most Expensive Stainless Steel Sports Watches
"One of the world's costliest watches is made of steel." That's how Patek Philippe advertised the Nautilus in the 1970s. Today, this luxury sports watch is one of the most sought-after and famous timepieces in the world. Demand is so high that waiting lists at brick-and-mortar retailers are often several years long. Those who don't want to wait can skip the queue and purchase a Nautilus on Chrono24, though at a significant premium.
The value of all Nautilus models has increased substantially in the last few years. The blue dial stainless steel ref. 5711/1A-010, which was retired along with the rest of the 5711 series in 2021, is a particular favorite. In 2015, this timepiece sold for around 25,000 USD, whereas by the end of 2022, prices had soared to over 160,000 USD. The final stainless steel edition of the Nautilus 5711, the ref. 5711/1A-014 with a green dial, was in production for less than a year. The timepiece has since reached a value of 390,000 USD.
These don't seem to be isolated incidents, as evidenced by the financial performance of the ref. 5811/1G-001 released in October 2022. Patek lists this white gold timepiece for 69,785 USD, but prices on the secondary marked shot up to around 220,000 USD shortly after its debut.
With all the media attention that the 5711 models have recently attracted, it's easy to forget that the Nautilus collection offers more than simple three-hand watches with a date display. The series also includes women's watches set with gemstones, and models with a moon phase complication, chronograph function, and GMT display. The Nautilus 5740/1G-001, released back in 2018, is the flagship model in this collection. It is crafted from white gold and uses an in-house caliber with a perpetual calendar.
5 Reasons to Buy a Patek Philippe Nautilus
- One of the world's most sought-after sport watches
- Iconic porthole design by Gérald Genta
- A great investment: fantastic performance in recent years
- Top models with a chronograph, second time zone, or perpetual calendar
- Vintage watches especially popular among collectors and fans
How much does a Patek Philippe Nautilus cost?
|Reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, size, function(s)|
|5711/1A-018 Tiffany||3.4 million USD||Stainless steel, 40 mm, date|
|5976/1G-001||800,000 USD||White gold, 44 mm, flyback chronograph, date|
|3711/1G-001||430,000 USD||White gold, 42 mm, date|
|5990/1R-001||326,000 USD||Rose gold, 40.5 mm, flyback chronograph, second time zone, date|
|5740/1G-001||278,000 USD||White gold, 40 mm, perpetual calendar|
|5811/1G-001||207,000 USD||White gold, 41 mm, date|
|3700||270,000 USD||Stainless steel, 42 mm, date|
|5980/1A-001||210,000 USD||Stainless steel, 44 mm, flyback chronograph, date|
|5711/1A-010||151,000 USD||Stainless steel, 40 mm, date|
|5726/1A-014||146,000 USD||Stainless steel, 40.5 mm, moon phase, annual calendar|
|3710/1A-001||130,000 USD||Stainless steel, 42 mm, date, power reserve indicator|
|7118/1A-001||69,000 USD||Stainless steel, 35.2 mm, date|
|7010R-010||40,000 USD||Rose gold, diamond bezel, 32 mm, date, quartz movement|
Nautilus Prices: Detailed Information
The Patek Philippe Nautilus has evolved into an extensive collection since its debut in the 1970s. Prices also vary widely; current models range from around 40,000 USD for smaller timepieces with quartz movements to several million USD for exceptionally rare variants such as the special edition Nautilus 5711 with a Tiffany dial.
The three-hand models from the current collection are highly sought-after, and run between 160,000 to 425,000 USD. You might be surprised to learn that timepieces with additional complications do not demand much higher sums. In fact, watches from the 5712 series, which feature a moon phase, among other intricate functions, can be found on Chrono24 from around 129,000 USD. Even highly complicated models like the Nautilus 5990 Travel Time Chronograph or the ref. 5740/1G with a perpetual calendar are in a similar price range as their counterparts with three hands at 200,000 to 350,000 USD.
If you're interested in vintage watches, you can find models from the 1980s and 90s for around 64,000 USD. However, if you want a Nautilus 3700 from the early years of production or one of the rare 3711 models, you should expect prices between 265,000 and 425,000 USD.
Why is the Patek Philippe Nautilus so expensive?
The Patek Philippe Nautilus has always been one of the most expensive sports watches, especially stainless steel versions. Its official list price is on par with that of gold watches or more complicated timepieces from other manufacturers, and there's good reason for the discrepancy between this model's list price and its market value.
It primarily comes down to demand outpacing Patek's production numbers. Only around 70,000 watches leave the Swiss manufacturer's hallowed halls each year. Most of these timepieces are from the Calatrava and Complications collections, leaving little room for the Nautilus. Only a couple of thousand copies of the latter are produced annually. Waiting lists at brick-and-mortar stores are thus lengthy, and it's become quite common to wait several years before getting your hands on the coveted timepiece. You can skip the queue by turning to the secondary market, but you'll have to reckon with a much higher investment.
Following the discontinuation of the stainless steel version, and later the entire 5711 series, prices rose again. Demand for the Nautilus has soared, and so too has its market value. As of December 2022, the stainless steel ref. 5711/1A-010 with a blue dial costs about 151,000 USD. Just two years earlier, listings on Chrono24 sat just under 73,000 USD. The model has thus appreciated by a staggering 106%.
The New 5711 in White Gold
The hype was bolstered by the release of the new ref. 5811/1G-001 in the fall of 2022. After only a few weeks on the market, the value of the white gold timepiece had surpassed 330,000 USD on the secondary market, more than four times its MSRP.
The new release only really differs from its predecessor in its diameter, which grew from 40 to 41 mm. Patek also made a few updates to the bracelet and fitted it with a new clasp. The movement and overall design remain the same.
Stainless Steel Nautilus With Moon Phase
Since Patek shelved the Nautilus 5711/1A, many Nautilus fans have turned to the 5712/1A and 5726/1A as alternatives. The former model is very similar to the 5711, but boasts extra complications, namely a moon phase, pointer date, small seconds, and power reserve indicator. Patek crafts the ref. 5712 from stainless steel, white gold, and rose gold. The steel model is only available on a link bracelet. If you're interested in a gold version, you can choose between a link bracelet and leather strap. Depending on the exact model, the Nautilus 5712 costs between 100,000 and 270,000 USD on Chrono24.
The ref. 5726/1A is another interesting stainless steel Nautilus model in the Patek catalog. The watchmaker equips this timepiece with the caliber 324 S QA Lu 24H/303, which features an annual calendar, a moon phase, and a 24-hour display. You can buy the model with a blue dial on a link bracelet for about 145,000 USD or the version with a gray dial on a leather strap for about 87,000 USD.
Both the 5712 and the 5726 have significantly higher market values than their official list prices. On average, you can expect prices on the gray market to be up to 2.5 times the MSRP.
Ref. 5980: The Nautilus Chronograph
If you're in the market for a Nautilus with a chronograph function, the ref. 5980 is a great choice. The chronograph caliber CH 28-520 C ticking away inside the case offers a flyback function and a shared subdial for the 30-minute and hour counters at 6 o'clock. The date window sits at 3 o'clock.
Patek Philippe currently only offers this model in 18-karat rose gold or in a two-tone stainless steel and rose gold design. The stainless steel ref. 5980/1A-001 was taken out of production some time ago, but you can find models on Chrono24 for around 210,000 USD. The rose-gold edition on a matching gold bracelet (ref. 5980/1R-001) can be yours for around 247,000 USD. The gold 5980R-001 on a brown alligator leather strap sells for about 152,000 USD in mint condition. Lastly, the two-tone model paired with a steel and rose gold bracelet goes for roughly 160,000 USD.
Top Models With Intricate Complications
One of the collection's highlights is the Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph ref. 5990 with a stopwatch function and second time zone. The Genevan manufacturer presented this complicated watch at Baselworld 2014. The automatic caliber CH 28-520 C FUS is the driving force behind the timepiece. In addition to a pointer date and flyback function, the Travel Time Chronograph has a day/night display for both time zones. This feature is necessary because the additional GMT hand for the second time zone works on a 12-hour scale.
Even though it is one of the most complicated models in the collection, prices for the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph are relatively affordable by Nautilus standards. Launched in 2022, the stainless steel ref. 5990/1A-011 with the gray-blue dial cost around 186,000 USD in December of the same year. This is around 20,000 USD less than the three-hand Nautilus 5811/1G in white gold, which hit the market at the same time. The rose gold edition of the 5990 demands around 326,000 USD – a rather reasonable price for such a highly complicated gold Patek watch.
The series' top model is the Nautilus Perpetual Calendar with the reference number 5740. Thanks to the in-house caliber 240 Q's micro-rotor, this white gold watch is only 8.42 mm thick. This is one millimeter thinner than the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. The Patek displays the month and leap year at 3, the date and moon phase at 6, and the day at 9 o'clock. The subdial at 9 o'clock also features a 24-hour display. The Nautilus Perpetual Calendar has a list price of 145,480 USD. You can find this complicated, flat luxury watch on Chrono24 for about 315,000 USD. Two years ago, it was valued at 189,000 USD. More complicated Patek watches are thus also performing extremely well financially.
Complications at a Glance
- Ref. 5990: chronograph, pointer date, two time zones, day/night display
- Ref. 5740: perpetual calendar, moon phase, 24-hour display
Coveted 40th Anniversary Limited Edition
In 2016, Patek Philippe celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Nautilus by releasing two limited editions. You can recognize both watches by the anniversary inscription on the dial and their baguette-cut diamond indices.
The first special edition had a limited run of 700 pieces, making it especially rare. This model is a platinum version of the classic Nautilus with three hands and can be found under the reference number 5711/1P. In 2016, it had a list price of 113,400 USD. Since then, prices for mint-condition pieces have risen to just south of 700,000 USD. In other words, the value of this Patek watch has soared to almost six times its MSRP.
The second model is the Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph ref. 5976/1G. Only 1,300 copies exist of this 44-mm chronograph with a white gold case. At its release, it had a list price of 96,390 USD. Today, this gold chronograph costs closer to the 800,000 USD mark.
Prices for Vintage Watches and Older Models
Many vintage watch collectors and enthusiasts consider a Patek Philippe Nautilus from the 1970s or 80s their "grail watch." Early pieces bear the reference number 3700 and were produced from 1976 to 1990. Due to their 42-mm cases, these watches earned the nickname "Jumbo." If you're interested in one of these original Nautilus watches, plan to spend around 270,000 USD. Between 2020 and 2022, the price of this reference increased by over 140%.
The much smaller 37.5-mm Nautilus ref. 3800 debuted in the early 1980s and is significantly less expensive. You can get this model for around 60,000 USD. The same timepiece demanded only 22,000 USD in 2018. Even though its value has risen greatly over the years, it remains one of the most affordable Nautilus models on the market.
If 37.5 mm is too small for you, you should take a closer look at the Nautilus ref. 3710. This watch is 42 mm in diameter and has Roman numerals and a power reserve indicator. Patek Philippe introduced the model in 1998. It is currently valued at around 125,000 USD.
The ref. 3711 is especially rare and appeals to collectors. Patek Philippe released this Nautilus in 2005 and discontinued it just one year later. Today, this white gold watch changes hands for around 430,000 USD.
Patek Philippe Nautilus: Women's Watches
In 2019, Patek Philippe introduced a series of women's watches under the reference number 7118. These 35.2-mm timepieces feature a narrower bezel and have a more delicate, feminine look than their larger counterparts. Patek Philippe offers the 7118 in stainless or rose gold and produces versions with or without diamonds. You can also choose from a golden brown, blue, silver, or gray dial. Each watch is powered by the automatic caliber 324 S C with a central second hand and a date display.
The stainless steel version with a white dial changes hands for roughly 69,000 USD in mint condition. The addition of diamonds to the bezel raises the price tag to around 80,000 USD. The women's Nautilus in 18-karat rose gold demands about 95,000 USD without diamonds and 120,000 USD with diamonds.
The latest addition to the collection is the ref. 7118/1300R-001. The rose gold watch was unveiled in 2022 and has the same inner workings as the other models in the series, but its bezel is adorned with 68 baguette-cut spessartine crystals. Featuring a color gradient from champagne to cognac, the crystals blend beautifully with the gold case's reddish shimmer. Plan to spend roughly 210,000 USD on one of these models.
Quartz Nautilus Models For Women
The ref. 7010 is a great choice for those with more slender wrists. This quartz watch measures 32 mm across and follows in the footsteps of the 7118. The case is crafted from rose gold, and the bezel is decorated with diamonds. You can choose between watches with silver or gold dials, and whether you want to pair it with a leather strap or link bracelet.
Prices for watches on a leather strap start at around 45,000 USD. If you would prefer to pair it with a gold link bracelet, expect prices closer to 81,000 USD.
Patek Philippe Nautilus: Success Through Continuity
When Patek Philippe presented the Nautilus in 1976, the company pushed the boundaries of conventional luxury watches. A sporty, stainless steel watch was completely new for them. The Nautilus was controversial in its first few years, but has since developed into one of the most iconic and sought-after watches of all time. Its design remains largely unchanged even today. It still has an octagonal bezel with rounded edges and a stainless steel bracelet made of satin-brushed and polished links. The porthole design was inspired by the submarine (also called the "Nautilus") in Jules Vernes' famous novel "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea."
Instead of a classic guilloché, Patek Philippe chose a horizontal relief on the dial, giving the watch a sportier, maritime touch. The luminescent baton indices also contribute to the Nautilus' sporty flair, as do the luminous hands for the hours and minutes.
Gérald Genta designed this watch. The designer, who had previously worked for Omega, also created Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak, which debuted in 1972. Genta presented Patek Philippe with his ideas for a steel sports watch in 1974. Two years later, they had finally agreed on the design for the first Nautilus with reference number 3700. Before 1976, Patek had only offered classic watches in precious metals. In addition to the Royal Oak and the Nautilus, Genta also designed the IWC Ingenieur ref. 1832 from the late 1970s.
Case Technology and Calibers
Introduced in the mid-1970s, the 42-mm case diameter caused quite a stir and led to the watch's nickname, "Jumbo." At the time, case sizes around 36 mm were the norm. The Nautilus's case construction was also novel, as it comprised two pieces: the bezel and a monocoque body. Usually, manufacturers use a three-piece case construction consisting of the case back, midsection, and bezel. The Nautilus's case only had one hole for the winding stem, and the bezel was pressed on. There was also a seal between the monocoque and the bezel. Together, these elements guaranteed water resistance to 120 m (12 bar, 394 ft).
Patek Philippe used the caliber 28-255 C based on a movement from Jaeger-LeCoultre. At the time, the movement was considered one of the thinnest automatic calibers at 3.15 mm. It also had a date display at 3 o'clock.
Since the early 1980s, there have been many different versions of the Patek Philippe Nautilus released. The model with the reference number 3800, a mid-sized, 37.5-mm wristwatch, is available in solid gold, platinum, or a two-tone mix of steel and gold. When Patek temporarily stopped producing the larger Nautilus in the early 1990s, the 3800 became their only sports watch.
In the mid-1990s, Patek Philippe introduced the gold ref. 5060. This was the first Nautilus to come on a leather strap. Its lugs were also new and lent the watch an elegant touch. This watch was the inspiration behind Patek's second sports watch, the Aquanaut.
In 1998, Patek Philippe reissued the large Nautilus. The reference number 3710/1A has a power reserve indicator below 12 o'clock and Roman numeral hour markers. In the mid-2000s, this model was also available in 18-karat white gold with a sapphire crystal back.
At the same time, Patek launched the most intricate version of the Nautilus to date. It features a pointer date, power reserve indicator, and moon phase display. The caliber 240 PS IRM C LU powers the watch. Today, these complicated watches are among the most sought-after collector's items. You can find them under the reference number 3712/1A.
In 2006, the Nautilus celebrated its 30th birthday. The company took the opportunity to quietly refine parts of the timepiece. The sides became slightly domed, and the width of the reference number 5711/1A increased slightly to 43 mm (from side to side). Measured diagonally from 10 to 4 o'clock, this watch is 40 mm across.
In 2020, Patek CEO Thierry Stern announced that they would stop production of the 5711 series at the end of 2021. At the same time, he promised a successor model, which came to fruition with the release of the ref. 5811/1G in the fall of 2022.