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Model Profile: Patek Philippe Nautilus, ref. 3700

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Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700JPatek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 3700

In most collecting worlds there are a number of icons that become synonyms with their niche. In vintage car collecting we often think Ford Mustang, Aston Martin DB5, Jaguar E-type or the Corvette Stingray. In furniture our minds skip right to an Eames or Barcelona chair. Likewise, in watches we think of a few iconic models that have changed the history of watch design. These watches include the Daytona, Calatrava, Royal Oak and Speedaster, each a watch that would be at home in any collectors safe. Another iconic model, and topic of this article, has become particularly sought after in recent years: the Patek Philippe Nautilus. The Nautilus was born out of a turbulent era of watchmaking and blossomed in to one of the greatest designs in horological history. 

History of the Nautilus 

For more than a century, Patek Philippe has been perhaps the most important and well respected watchmakers in the world. Founded in 1851, Patek produced some of the worlds most beautiful dress watches available through the first half of the 20th century. While Rolex was building watches for explorers and outdoorsmen, Patek made complicated pieces of art that were almost always worn on a leather strap or watch fob. Then in the 1970s things changed. 

In 1969 Seiko released the first “Quartz” movement, a movement that runs very efficiently on a battery for a long time and requires no winding. This sent the Swiss watch world in to hysterics ushering in the “Quartz Crisis.” The major watch houses knew they needed to innovate and began making drastic changes. They took risks and produced some their most beautiful, absurd and ludicrous watches. 

Even Patek Philippe knew they needed to make some changes if they were to survive the new era, so they sought out the seasoned watch designer Gerald Genta. Genta began his career at Universal Geneve and went on to design for a number of other brands, one of which was Audemars Piguet. With Genta’s designs, Audemars Piguet released the Royal Oak in 1972 and a star was born. Patek hired Genta to help design their first “luxury sport watch,” and with his help released the Nautilus in 1976. 

Original Gerald Genta drawing of Patek Nautilus

The Patek Philippe 3700

The very first Patek Philippe Nautilus is the highly sought after reference 3700. The watch was designed with a ships porthole in mind reflected in the beautiful octagon shape and side hinges. The 42mm, mono-bloc case was typically made in steel, yellow gold or two-tone and was quite thin at 7.66mm. The trademark dial is textured with horizontal grooves and kept simple with stick markers and simple text at 12 o’clock. There is no boasting of the 120m dive depth or “Nautilus” printing, the design speaks for itself.

Diagram of Patek Philippe Nautilus

The movement is an ultra thin, automatic caliber 28-255 C, which remains the thinnest automatic movement with a center rotor ever produced. The integrated bracelet is one of the key features of the Nautilus, with brushed links and polished center links, this thin bracelet is one of the most comfortable sport bracelets ever made. 

The 3700 was in production from 1976 to 1990 and the production numbers by material are: 

Production numbers (estimation from TimeZone)

        • 3700-01A (steel with large bracelet): about 3500
        • 3700-11A (steel with narrow bracelet): about 1300
        • 3700-1AJ (steel and gold with large bracelet): about 600
        • 3700-11AJ (steel and gold with narrow bracelet): about 300
        • 3700-1J and 3700-11J (yellow gold): about 1500 (diamond versions included)
        • 3700-1G and 3700-11G (white gold): about 65
        • 3700-1P (platinum): 1 

Patek Philippe Jumbo Nautilus 3700 Yellow Gold

Our yellow gold Patek Philippe Nautilus, ref. 3700

We are now proud to offer an exceptional yellow gold Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 3700 accompanied by it’s original Certificate of Origin from 1982. This watch is in remarkable original condition with a full case, original finish, flawless dial and tight Gay Fréres bracelet.  

Find more photos and details here. 

Please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing us at hello@thekeystone.com 

Yellow Gold Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700J

Patek Philippe Gay Fréres Bracelet

Caseback Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700

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