*One Owner* 1978 Patek Philippe Nautilus "Jumbo" (Ref. 3700/1) W/ Box, Papers, and Sales Receipt
The Patek Philippe Nautilus is a watch that contains multitudes. The watches that make up Patek’s Nautilus range are undeniable icons of the sports watch world, were somewhat unexpected late-blooming left-field hits for the marque, and are considered by both watch collectors and industrial design insiders to be one of the most important and perpetually relevant designs to come from the impossibly fertile mind of the legendary Gerald Genta. The first Nautilus references also set a new standard for a steel sports watch from a luxury marque – something that was still considered somewhat radical in the late ‘70s. These watches are painfully beautiful and strike a wrist presence that’s at once imposing and delicate, and there should be little question as to why they command the unprecedented interest from collectors that they have in recent years. That interest has made sourcing honest, one-owner vintage Nautiluses a nearly impossible task. But every now and then, you get lucky in this business and we are very lucky to be the first to offer this truly remarkable example of a 1978 Nautilus ref. 3700/001 for the first time since it was originally purchased in Bermuda.
This stunning example of the first-generation steel Nautilus comes to us via a client named John Peddar, who purchased the watch unworn from the display case of a Patek Philippe AP in Bermuda in 1980. Peddar is a British expat businessman whose work required him to travel abroad consistently throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, and this steel Nautilus was his only wristwatch for most of the years that he owned it. It was a trusted companion in his travels, a statement piece that he chose to set himself apart from the Rolex crowd (a bold decision in 1980), and a versatile daily-worn watch that has been loved and worn with pride its entire life. Moreover, Peddar has kept everything the watch originally came with, meaning this already rare example of Patek Philippe history comes with a full set including the box, papers, and even the salesman’s business card! It’s a watch that has traveled around the world and back on Peddar’s wrist and displays only the most gentle, honest wear and has quite obviously never been abused.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus "Jumbo" is rare not only because it is the original offering of the Nautilus design, but because of the scant numbers in which these watches were produced. While the 3700 was in production from 1976 to 1990, the estimated production numbers by material are:
3700-01A (steel with large bracelet): about 3500
3700-11A (steel with narrow bracelet): about 1300
3700-1AJ (steel and gold with large bracelet): about 600
3700-11AJ (steel and gold with narrow bracelet): about 300
3700-1J and 370-11J (yellow gold): about 1500 (diamond versions included)
3700-1G and 3700-11G (white gold): about 65
3700-1P (platinum): 1
The ref. 3700 Nautilus shares several design cues with its older brother from Genta’s notebook, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, but the Nautilus is undeniably the more refined of the two – particularly thanks to its integrated bracelet and geometric bezel design. The two watches also share the same movement, which is based on the Jaegar-LeCoultre cal. 920 (the Nautilus is powered by the cal. 28-255C). This movement was the perfect operating base for the Nautilus and Royal Oak as it afforded both watches an extremely thin case design without sacrificing a self-winding mechanism.
|Bracelet||Patek Stainless Steel Integrated Bracelet W/ Deployant Clasp|
The classic porthole design case is now considered an icon of watch design and this example is impressively well-preserved and an honest, gently-worn piece. Per the watch’s original owner (and our examination), we believe the case has only been polished once and was done so professionally by Patek in the 1990s. The watch's case retains all of its original factory dimensions, chamfers, and angles. The case retains its original unsigned crown and the integrated tapered bracelet features its original deployant-style clasp and retains 21 links, which display almost no stretch and only light signs of honest use.
The type 3bis “dot” dial is breathtaking from a design perspective and remains in very impressive condition. There is a small blemish on the dial just above the hand stack, which likely occurred during its previous service interval at Patek Philippe, and while it is mentionable, it does little to distract from the imposing beauty of the dial as a whole. The white gold markers all remain in excellent condition and retain all of their tritium content with no degradation, and the tritium lume has aged to a lovely ivory coloration which coordinates brilliantly with the blue/gray color of the dial. The original tritium hands match the dial lume and under U.V. light inspection, the minute hand shows only minimal cracking, but remains stable – a common thing to see in ref. 3700 hands that have not been relumed.
This one-owner time capsule watch comes complete with its original inner and outer boxes, Patek Philippe certificate, original sales receipt from 1980, Patek Philippe booklets and pamphlets, and the business card of the original Patek Philippe salesperson. The watch is keeping time very well and the watch has been serviced once at Patek Philippe.