Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar ref. 5740 1/G : A technical review

First Nautilus so-called « Grande complication”, reference 5740 1/G was launched during Baselworld 2018. This is the first series of Nautilus sporting a perpetual calendar complication.

First watchmaker to ever commercialize a wristwatch with a perpetual calendar complication in 1925, Patek Philippe is perfectly mastering this complication with which it evidences all of its know-how, having mastered the title of “master of complications”.

Before getting to this 5740/1 specific reference, topic of this article, we will spend some time over the history of Patek Philippe and its relationship to perpetual calendars as well as to complications embedded in Nautilus models.

 

The perpetual calendar complication was originally designed in the 18th century by Thomas Mudge on a pocket watch, whereas Patek Philippe was the first to introduce this complication on a wristwatch (the first introduction of a perpetual calendar by Patek Philippe dates back from 1864).

Illustration of the first wristwatch sporting a perpetual calendar, sold in 1925 by Patek Philippe.

Patek will illustrate its know-how later on with reference 1526 in 1941, still with a hand wound movement.

Illustration of a perpetual calender ref 1526 (credit Phillips auction house)

Patek Philippe stayed later on the leading edge with the introduction of the first perpetual calendar complication on an automatic movement with reference 3448 in 1962.

Perpetual calendar on an automatic movement reference 3448 (credit Philips)

One has to wait until 1976 to see the first Nautilus designed by Gerald Genta introduced in the Patek Philippe catalog. This first version bears reference number 3700 with a date function as the only complication.

Illustration of the first drawings of a 3700 by Gerald Genta.

Some time later on, the Nautilus family gets bigger with reference 3710 introducing a power reserve function in 1998.

Illustration of Nautilus ref 3710 with power reserve function

The Nautilus family will progressively get bigger and bigger over time with new versions sporting various complications, such as 3712 and then 5712 with moonphases, date and power reserve, 5980 with chronograph function, 5990 with GMT function, 5726 with annual calendar function…

The perpetual calendar function on the Nautilus automatically takes into account the length of each month, including bisextile years. This is undoubtedly from a watchmaking standpoint one of the ultimate complication one can offer (even more when coupled with a chronograph function such as with reference 5970P)

The sub left dial on this watch tells the day of the week, whereas the sub right dial indicated the month. The sub dial located at 6h tells the day of the month, with moonphase.

The white gold case keeps its 40MM diameter with 8,42 MM thickness only!

All calendar indications can easily be corrected via four push pieces recessed in the side of the case

The self-winding caliber 240 Q movement is composed of 275 parts yet stands apart with its ultra-thin profile. This is possible because of an off-center mini-rotor in 22K gold and the ingenious arrangement of the perpetual calendar and moon-phase mechanisms.

With its 48-month (four-year) cam, the perpetual calendar automatically displays the correct date, taking into account months with 31, 30 and 28 days, as well as February 29 in leap years. It does not have to be corrected until 2100 – a secular year when the Gregorian calendar will omit February 29.

Illustration of caliber 240Q used in many perpetual calendars of Patek Philippe manufacture.
Decorated with Patek Philippe stamp, the manufacture went into great and subtle details to create this masterpiece.

The manufacture paid great attention to the folding clasp noticeably where one can admire the Calatrava cross artfully crafted into the folding clasp.

A very hot reference for all collectors, Patek Philippe arbitrarily decides amongst its privileged top clients who are going to be the few lucky ones to acquire this stunning piece priced at 111 930 EUR in 2020. Without much surprise, this fine watch is priced in the secondary market well above the listed price.

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