Christie's to auction 40 Patek Nautilus
Forty years ago Patek Philippe first launched the Nautilus - a sports wristwatch made in steel. At the time the concept was deemed almost laughable, but today it is sits on high as one of the watch industry's truly classic watches.
Things weren't going great for Patek in the 1970s. The Swiss company knew that it had to do something drastic to compete with the likes of Rolex and Audemars Piguet, who were dominating the market.
Patek enlisted the talents of legendary design Gerald Genta, who did not disappoint. The designer is widely considered to be the greatest in his field (thanks to countless successes including both AP's Royal Oak and the Nautilus), took the bold move to design a steel sports watch that was both bold and deceptively simple.
The original design of the Nautilus was notable for its immediacy. Water resistant to 120 metres and made from an non-precious material, it was a watch that would be a massive leap into new territory for Patek, but one that proved to be worth it.
As the story goes, while attending the Baselworld watch fair, Genta was sitting alone in the restaurant of a hotel at the same time as a group of people from Patek were also dining. Later Genta recalled that he asked the waiter to bring him a pencil and some paper, he sketched out the Nautilus there and then in just five minutes.
Genta asked the waiter to bring him a pencil and some paper, and he sketched it out in just five minutes.
The design was supposedly based on a porthole of a transatlantic liner with wide bezel and 'ears' at each side evoking the large hinges of the watertight windows. With this new form of case Patek Philippe patented its new water-resistance system where the more external pressure is exerted on the case the more watertight it becomes. The patent was submitted on 23 April 1976.
Since then the Nautilus has played a central role to the continued success Patek. Proving that high-end watchmaking didn't have to involve expensive materials, the brand has continued to develop countless new special edition models - each highly sought-after, with an estimated waiting list of 5 years.
This month sees Christie's auction house celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the watch, auctioning off 40 editions across four different regions (Geneva, Hong Kong, New York and Dubai). This week (Oct 19) ten of those watches will be auctioned off in Christie's Dubai as part of its special Important Watches auction. Estimates range from Dhs30,000 to Dhs910,000.
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To find out more, visit: Christies.com