Released in 1976 as Patek Philippe's response to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, an avant-garde luxury stainless steel sports watch borne from AP's necessity to survive the Quartz Crisis, the Nautilus was Patek Philippe's attempt to go head to head with AP's increasingly popular sports watch. Designed by Gerald Genta, the same man that had designed the Royal Oak, the Nautilus was inspired by a porthole and thus features a rounded-over octagonal bezel and hinge-like protrusions on either side of its case. Featuring its signature horizontally embossed dial and iconic integrated bracelet, the Nautilus has become the most sought-after watch in the market today as collectors clamor over available examples thanks to its iconic design, extreme exclusivity, and impeccable craftsmanship. Famed as the very first variant, the Nautilus ref. 3700 was nicknamed the “Jumbo” thanks to its enormous, for the time, 42mm case. An unpopular timepiece from the get-go, the ref. 3700 failed to sell as well as Patek may have hoped, thanks to its significant departure from what Patek was known for at the time – complicated timepieces and classical dress watches. So, today the ref. 3700/1J exists as a rare timepiece indeed. As the ref. 3700 was originally offered in stainless steel, the ref. 3700/1J that we have here is one of the rarest with its all-yellow gold 18kt construction, and is estimated to be joined by around 1500 other examples that were produced until the ref. 3700/1J's discontinuation in 1990.
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Vetted & Approved
Est. value range
$150,000 – $250,000
Watch is in overall excellent condition. The case shows light signs of wear and has been previously polished at service, with a partial Patek Philippe service sticker still affixed to the back. Original dial has some light oxidation around some indexes on the dial and in a few other places on the dial surface. Bracelet has 22 links total, 8 of which are removable. There is little stretch to the band.
An icon within the world of horology, the Nautilus is the ultimate must-have timepiece for any collector, with the ref. 3700/1J being one of the most important, as the earliest variant, and one of the most luxurious with its 18kt yellow gold construction.