The Patek Philippe Nautilus is without a doubt one of the most desired watches in the world. Waitlists have been said to be upwards of 8 years, and some retailers are no longer adding to them. The majority on these waitlists are waiting for the standard reference 5711—an outlier for Patek, whose calling card for so long has been complicated watches encased in precious metals—but today we’re focusing on the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar 5740/1G in 18k white gold.
Though the demand for the Nautilus is recent—it has skyrocketed over the last two years or so—Patek Philippe has been producing the highest quality complicated watches for nearly 200 years. The Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar 5740/1G in 18k white gold combines what consumers currently most desire with what historically Patek does best into one timepiece.
The movement powering the Nautilus Perpetual Calendar is the caliber 240 Q. This is considered a Grande Complication by Patek Philippe, meaning this movement is among the most technically and horologically complicated that the brand produces. To be clear, this doesn’t mean a grand complication according to industry standards, which is historically a watch that includes a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, a chronograph, and a tourbillon (though there is still debate on this definition). Anyway, that’s a topic for another day.
Back to the Nautilus Perpetual Calendar’s caliber 240 Q, it measures a very modest 3.88mm thick and is exquisitely finished—front and back because, well why not. The movement in question is used in 20 other Patek Philippe perpetual calendars, and has been in production since 1985, very much following the model of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it‘. The key to keeping a movement this complex so svelte is the use of an off-center mini-rotor in 22K gold. The high karat of the gold is important as it also means the rotor weighs more, enabling maximum efficiency in powering the watch.
The perpetual calendar complication here shows the month, day, date, leap year, moonphase, and 24-hour cycle. The perpetual calendar is programmed to be accurate up to the year 2100 when the Gregorian calendar omits February 29th. (Fun fact: This is why you see so many perpetual calendars that won’t need adjustment until this specific year.) While this movement is almost always put into dress watch cases, this watch is the lone exception.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus is Patek’s premier sports watch. For the 5740 however, Patek Philippe decided to kick things up a notch, Emeril style. This is the sportiest perpetual calendar in the Patek Philippe lineup; however, it is also thinnest at just 8.42mm. You aren’t sacrificing the familiar Nautilus wearability for the addition of the advanced movement. The watch also employs a new twin trigger clasp that improves upon the 5711 design and further emphasizes that this Nautilus is a step above. The case and bracelet are made of 18k white gold, and its bright hue as well as the light blue sunburst finish of its dial make this watch glow; Almost as if to signal that this is the holiest of the Nautilus watches.
Some disagree with putting a movement of this caliber—no pun intended—in a watch built for sport, but I love it. Just like an Audi RS6 Avant combines the practicality of a station wagon with elite sports car level performance. There is something very appealing about having the best internal components in a package that can take the rigors of daily life. Putting a perpetual calendar in the Nautilus allows you to wear and appreciate the highest level of horology without worrying about its destruction. The 240 Q is not only one of Patek Philippe’s best movements, but one of the best perpetual calendar movements ever built. The Nautilus belongs on the Mt.Rushmore of sports watches and is one of the best watch designs of all time. The simple fact is, these two belong together.