As we all know, the Gérald Genta-designed Nautilus was first released in 1976 and is a founding member of the ‘1970s steel sports watch club’. The Nautilus ref. 3700/1A – along with its contemporary, the also Genta designed Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref. 5402ST from 1972 – were the first of its kind. Catering to a new breed of watch wearer: the international, perma-tanned, pleasure seeking, Maserati Merak driving, Riva Aquarama sailing, playboy. Able to accompany its wearer on everything the dolce vita might throw at him (or her) – from the beaches of Cannes, to the slopes in Gstaad and dinner in Paris.
However, its genesis was nowhere near as relaxed as its archetypal louche wearers. It came from an industry in crisis; traditional Swiss watchmaking was under serious threat of extinction from quartz. The grand old houses of horology needed to innovate and find their place in a brave new world. And Patek nailed it – the integrated bracelet, its almost industrial design, coupled with slim elegant lines and shapes all mean the Nautilus still looks as contemporary today as it did 40 years ago.