It has certainly been a big year for the ultra-luxury sport watch in general this year. First, we had Audemars Piguet with their Perpetual Calendar Royal Oak, a prototype piece with the thinnest perpetual calendar movement ever and shortly after came this – the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5740/1G-001 Perpetual Calendar. Patek Philippe has made the Nautilus in a myriad of configurations, from chronographs to annual calendars to moon phases, but for the first time, the manufacture is including a ‘Grande Complication’ in the name of a perpetual calendar.
Housed in a 40mm white gold case and at a mere 8.42mm thick, it is only slightly thicker than the time only 5711. The 5711 is a very slim watch and in my opinion sits excellently on the wrist, especially for guys like me with a flat wrist and to have it roughly 0.01mm thicker with a perpetual calendar module is very, very impressive.
The 5740G is powered by a classic and historically important Patek Philippe movement, the Calibre 240Q. It is Patek’s in-house perpetual calendar movement that has been used for decades. My 3940G from the early 90’s features the exact same movement! With that, you get the classic perpetual calendar layout on the dial, with three sub dials at 3,6 and 9 o’clock displaying the month date and day respectively and three smaller sub dials within them displaying the leap year, moonphase and 24-hour clock. We are now very used to the dial layout and as a result it is seems very intuitive to have it laid out like this. But really, it is a masterstroke in design and to include so much information on a small watch dial and one that I never get tired of.
Other than this, you get all the usual great things that comes with a Nautilus- the blue (albeit slightly lighter in tone) horizontally ribbed dial, the beautiful integrated bracelet that is bevelled, brushed and polished in the centre and the stunning finishing that Genta’s creations have become known for.
I guess the very point of both the Nautilus and the Royal Oak when it was first released was championing stainless steel, a seemingly pedestrian metal, as something precious and pricing it at the same level as a gold watch. Before it became the cult watch it is today, people thought it made no sense at all and the models struggled in sales. Somehow though, along the way in some strange twist of both Veblenist thinking and a consumer culture driven by rarity, stainless steel has now become the king of metals.
Fast forward to 2018, this new trend of both Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe including insanely complicated movements usually reserved for dressier watches in their sports models makes absolutely no sense. And in making no sense at all, in the true spirit of Gerald Genta and his Royal Oak and Nautilus creations, it makes perfect sense.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5740/1G is priced at £91,150. For more information visit the official Patek Philippe website.