Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak are contemporaries who’ve endured decades of popularity and a common creator (Gerald Genta). However, while the Nautilus has always missed a grand complication model, Audemars Piguet has enjoyed much success with their perpetual calendar Royal Oak models over the years, more recently with a ceramic version and a concept ultra-thin model that was unveiled at SIHH this year.
It was only a matter of time before this anomaly was corrected and at Baselworld 2018, Patek introduced the first Nautilus perpetual calendar, the Ref. 5740/1G-001. And like all Nautilus models, it brings together casual sportiness and technical finesse in a way that only the big boys of haute horology can.
The 40 mm white gold case is just 8.32 mm thin – a record for any Patek perpetual calendar - and is water-resistant to 60 meters. The characteristic design of the bezel is emphasized by vertical satin-finished surfaces that contrast against polished chamfers
They may have taken their time to launch a perpetual calendar version of the Nautilus, but the dial seems worth the wait. The sunburst blue, seen on the 40th anniversary versions, returns on this dial that also features the same raised horizontal embossed pattern that’s typical of Nautilus watches. Applied white-gold hour markers with luminescent coatings indicate time.
The three subsidiary dials of the perpetual calendar (day of the week and 24-hour dial at 9 o'clock, month and leap-year cycle at 3, date and moon-phases at 6) sit in right proportion around the rounded octagon of the dial. The subdial for the date is slightly larger than the other two and also houses the moon-phase indication which is accurate to 122 years.
The correctors of the perpetual calendar (day correction at 9 o'clock, date correction between 11 and 12 o'clock, month correction between 12 and 1 o’clock, moon-phase correction at 6 o'clock) are subtly integrated in the Nautilus case design.
The sapphire crystal case back offers glimpses of the self-winding ultra-thin Caliber 240 Q, used in classics like the Ref. 5140 and 5940 models. Equipped with a 22K gold micro-rotor with an engraving of the Calatrava cross, the 3 Hz movement has a power reserve of 48 hours and is finished in the finest haute horlogerie traditions – expect to see details like expertly chamfered and polished edges, perlage on the base place and Geneve Stripes on the bridges.
The integrated white gold bracelet has alternating polished central links with satin-finished lateral links. To improve wearing comfort, Patek Philippe has introduced a totally new, patented fold-over clasp. It features four independent catches to optimize opening and closing and to prevent the unintended release of either of the two clasp segments. Despite the horological heft, on the wrist the watch feels slim and comfortable. Considering how desirable the Nautilus already is among Patek aficionados, to say that this will be a high-demand timepiece would be an understatement. The price? $109,500 (Approx. AED403,000)