There is no question that the Patek Philippe Nautilus is one of the most coveted watches of the modern era. But let’s be real, while the model undoubtedly plays an important role in the watch world, its design has barely changed since 1976! Nevertheless, market prices have skyrocketed to astronomical levels, even when you take the mid-2022 dip into account. This begs the question: Should we be looking at better or cheaper alternatives? Why does everyone want a Patek Philippe Nautilus? And is it even worth buying a Nautilus in 2023? Well, I’ll give you three reasons why the answer to the last question is a resounding yes – if you have the required funds on hand, that is.
Reason 1: The Nautilus Is an Icon
The term “icon” is used pretty loosely in the watch community, which isn’t that surprising when you consider legendary watches like the Rolex Submariner or Omega Speedmaster. Not only do both watches have timeless designs, but they also boast fascinating histories. However, no watch deserves the title of icon as much as the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Even though the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was technically the first stainless steel watch launched as a luxury timepiece, and the Nautilus didn’t appear until several years later, the Patek is nevertheless very much responsible for shaping the luxury watch industry we know and love today. It is still considered one of the earliest steel luxury sports watches on the market and was revolutionary at a time when most luxury watches were delicate pieces of jewelry made of precious metals. The Nautilus’s creator, Gérald Genta, is at least as legendary as the watch itself. What Battista “Pinin” Farina is to cars, Genta is to watches: a pure genius and visionary designer who is responsible for timeless pieces we can still appreciate to this day. Genta’s association with the model certainly enhances its appeal, arguably making it the most iconic watch among all the watch icons – and I definitely don’t see this changing any time soon.
Reason 2: The Nautilus Will Never Go Out of Style
If we’re completely honest, watches are a dime a dozen these days, but how many luxury watches can truly be called timeless? While most luxury watch manufacturers completely redesign their longer-standing models time and time again, I can think of very few watches that manage to get by with little to no visual changes over the decades without losing some of their appeal; there are a few Rolex icons, certain tool watches like the Omega Speedmaster, the Breitling Navitimer, and the AP Royal Oak – but that’s where the list ends.
This phenomenon is even more extreme when it comes to the Patek icon. Both the case and integrated bracelet design have remained virtually unchanged since the 1970s, and yet the watch doesn’t look the least bit old-fashioned or outdated. On the contrary, the Patek Philippe Nautilus offers everything you could ask for from a luxury watch today. Plus, it’s still sporty as ever. The dégradé dial is perfectly crafted and breathtakingly beautiful, particularly in natural light – it’s hard to take your eyes off it! The Nautilus is more stylish that almost any other luxury watch I know of and it’s guaranteed to never go out of style. It is literally the perfect blend of luxury and sportiness, and no other model manages to strike that balance with such bravado.
Reason 3: The Patek Philippe Is a Good Investment
While luxury watch prices dipped slightly in 2022, the Patek Philippe Nautilus still remains one of the most profitable investment watches of all time. The Patek icon lost some ground last year, but the proof is in the pudding: An unworn, white gold ref. 5811/1G with a blue dial is currently valued at over $175,000. A modern version of the legendary – and now discontinued – ref. 5711 with a steel case and blue dial will set you back at least $150,000, and the green dial version (likewise discontinued) has a staggering market price approaching the $340,000 mark. With market values for steel versions so high, gold 5711s almost seem like bargains in comparison; of course, they are also less popular among collectors. At the end of the day, however, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a gold or steel version, or one with complications: The Patek Philippe Nautilus is and remains an attractive investment and one of the most collectable luxury watches of all time. In the aftermath of last year’s market correction, now could be a great time to finally add the Genta legend to your own collection – provided you have the funds, of course. Most of us will probably just have to be satisfied with the dream of ever owning this timepiece.