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A Patek Philippe you can wear with a wetsuit or a tux

It was 40 years ago that one luxury sports watch broke the mould. In 1976, the best timepieces were slender, gold and circular; yet the Patek Philippe Nautilus hit the market encased in stainless steel, featuring an octagonal bezel and unfashionable bulk on the wrist.

Designed in close collaboration with famed watch designer Gérald Genta, it picked up a maritime theme that reflected the love of sailing of Philippe Stern, who was a Patek Philippe executive and the son of company president Henri Stern.

Named the Nautilus, it became the Swiss manufacture’s first sports watch, and a timepiece that the company gamely asserted was interchangeable between a wetsuit and a tuxedo.

patek philippe Nautilus Ref 3700 1A

The Nautilus Ref. 3700/1A released in 1976 (above) was water resistant to 120 metres and absolutely distinctive with its two-part case ensemble inspired by the locking mechanism of ocean liner portholes, alternating gloss and matte surfacing, and the dial featuring a horizontal bar pattern.

patek philippe nautilus 40th anniv 3

Across 17 subsequent releases featuring 34 updated models, the Nautilus has ventured into gold cases, leather bands, chronographs, ladies’ models, differing sizes and faces of many hues - but always framed by Genta’s trademark octagon.

patek philippe nautilus 40th anniv 4

To mark the Nautilus’ 40th anniversary, Patek Philippe released a pair of timepieces that pay homage to the model’s success and longevity. The Ref. 5711/1P (top) draws directly on the original Ref. 3700/1A model with a 40mm platinum case and blue dial with diamond hour markers and embossed decor, while a 44mm flyback chronograph (Ref. 5976/1G, above) recalls the 30th anniversary timepiece introduced in 2006. Both contain a discreetly recessed 40th anniversary logo.

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