Jumbo Nautilus 3700/1



ICONEEK is very proud to present here, one of the most iconic, famous and sought-after 1970s self-winding wristwatch with date and integrated bracelet: the Jumbo Nautilus. The legendary Nautilus collection was introduced in 1976 when Patek Philippe was not only looking for a new style, a modern construction, but it had to have also an inimitable personality, to compete with the AP model, The Royal Oak.  The goal was to enter in a new market and attract a younger clientele. The selling price was above some gold models, around 3’100 usd in 1978, and Patek’s advert was  « One of the world’s costliest watch is made of steel».

“The Nautilus is the most rugged wrist watch ever designed by Patek Philippe and one of the slimmest” quoted the prestigious brand in the 1970s. Not only the model was inspired by a universal shape of a porthole found on virtually all maritime vessels, but also the whole sealing system, patented on March 23, 1976 patent no. CH607869, where the bezel is secured to the case by two screws, on each side, hidden in the two symmetrical extensions.

Made in nickel-chrome-molybdenum steel by Favre-Perret, these cases were build to be resistant to 120 meters. The Nautilus is well born from the famous and genius watch’s designer Gerald Genta, four years after the introduction of the Genta’s other masterpiece in 1972: the Royal Oak AP. In fact in the 1970s, AP, Patek and Vacheron and others had to joined to the « club » of water-resistant wristwatches, led at the time by Rolex and Omega.

The 3700/1A was produced from 1976 till 1986 and is said to be the King of all versions, due to its oversized diameter. With its 42 mm two-body case, the watch was incredibly large for the time, reason why the model is growing in demand each years by collectors worldwide. The steel version was in Patek Philippe catalogs till 1987. Around the 1980s, Patek Philippe introduced a second generation of Jumbo Nautilus, the reference 3700/11, with the cases and bracelets made by their Atelier Reunis Workshop.

Under the flat sapphire crystal, a superb mint black/blue, aka “deep ocean grey” by PP,  ribbed dial with Aprior mark « o swiss o » is fitted with applied luminous white gold baton indexes, luminous hands and an aperture for the quick date at 3. Trained eyes will notice than the dial is not only black but depending on the light becomes petrol blue. It is interesting to notice that these dials, created by Stern Frères, were made with a black painted base covered by a protective layer, so called zappon. Depending on time, oxydation, exposition to light, these dials were « color-changed », turning into a variation of grey, brown,   or blue petrol color, such as the present watch. The luminous material has also turned into an uniform nice patinated light brownish color.

The watch is powered by a caliber 28-255C, a thin 3.15 mm only, automatic movement, hand-finished, stamped with the Geneva seal, with 36 jewels, Gyromax balance, free sprung regulator, 18K gold rim to the rotor. These movements were really thin for the time, using a Jaeger-LeCoultre ébauche, with Patek finishing, of course.  According to our researches, the movement no. 1’303’700 was made around 1974. In the Patek Philippe book, we can read that caliber 28-255 was produced with mouvement numbers from no. 1’280’000 till 1’299’999, starting in 1970 , ending in 1980.

The Jumbo Nautilus is one of the most sought-after timepieces at auction, for several reasons: the iconic shape, the XXL size, the brand, the overall superb finish, the attractive blue-black dial, the rarety. This exceptional watch comes with a fitted presentation box and certificate of origin, as well as an extract from the Archives. The original certificate bears the code PR00 for June 1977 and is stamped F. GREMAUD SA, the retailer name, and the sale date July 1st 1977. The bracelet is in excellent overall condition, with no signs of wear, the deployant clasp is embossed with the “Calatrava Cross”. Case, dial and movement are signed.

This model remains, 40 years after its creation, one of the biggest Nautilus ever produced by the manufacture, along with the recent ref. 5711/1 and its 43 mm. However for purists, the two-part construction is more attractive and interesting than the usual « classical » three-body construction with screwed case back found on the 5711/1.

The Nautilus collection is today more than ever at its best, the real proof of a successful avant-gardiste design. With its iconic status, the original model will turn 40 next year, without any wrinkles.

Ref. 3700/1 is described and illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p.230 & 231. The model is also illustrated in Patek Philippe in America, by John Readon, pages 270 & 271.

Patek’s advert was so true : ” The rudged watch that feels right on every occasion”, the Nautilus has established itself all the standards of how must be a luxury sport watch. A rare-to-find early model in such good condition, a true must-have!.

Condition: 9.5/10, as mint as any discerning collector would expect. Recently serviced at Patek Philippe workshops in Geneva.

Brand: Patek Philippe

Model: Nautilus “Jumbo”

Year : 1977

Reference: 3700/1

Movement no. : 1’303’700

Case no.: 532’832

Material: Stainless steel

Water-resistant: yes.

Movement: 28’255C, mechanical, rhodium plated, self-winding, Gyromax balance

Bracelet: stainless steel with deployant clasp, approx. overall length 180 mm.

Dimensions: 42 mm wide, thickness 7.8 mm.

Accessories: fitted black presentation box and outer packaging, “Patek Philippe” presentation booklet, “Register of Patek Philippe owners” card, certificate of origin dated July 1st, 1977, modern travelling leather box