RETAILED BY TIFFANY & CO.
Consigned by the original owner, this 3700/1A Tiffany & Co. was bought on March 30, 1981 from Tiffany & Co. in New York City. The owner recalls buying this watch hours after the news broke that Ronald Reagan was shot in an attempted assassination. While the news traveled around the world, the original purchaser walked into Tiffany & Co, notably hushed and empty on that historic day, and quietly traded his two-tone Rolex Datejust plus $500 to become the new owner of this 3700/1A. Seeing a Nautilus in San Juan for the first time during a cruise the week before, the buyer was inspired to find this watch in New York City after his vacation. Learning from a Tiffany salesperson that the Nautilus was a hard to sell due to its large size, this watch remained in the store’s inventory for four years before the gentleman made the deal to acquire the watch.
The case of this watch confirmed by the Extract to have been replaced by Patek Philippe and most likely this was done before it was sent to Tiffany & Co. in 1977. The period correct case numbered 536'419 on the watch is confirmed on the Extract from the Archives.
Cared for and worn for almost 40 years, this watch remained with the original owner until this important anniversary year and now a new owner has the opportunity to wear and enjoy this Nautilus.
A close inspection of the dial reveals the original tritium lume beautifully aged, the Patek Philippe signature perfectly period correct for 1977, and the same font that can be seen on original period Tiffany & Co. Nautilus advertisements. The ad presented on this page reveals that both style fonts were used making it very likely that this retailer signature is original to this dial. The SWISS signature with double APRIOR further suggests that this dial has not been modified from the day it left Tiffany & Co. in 1977.
A similar 3700/1A with the same Tiffany & Co. font signature was sold at Antiquorum Geneva, May 13, 2007, lot 670. This watch was movement no. 1'305'263 and case No. 536'423. Also made in 1977 and sold to Tiffany & Co., this watch featured a case number only 4 numbers away from the presently offered lot with case number 536'419.
From 1971 until 1995, all watches made in Switzerland with gold applied markers or gold dial plates were required to have the ‘APRIOR’ (often called ‘sigma’, after the Greek letter) logo marked on the dial. With Nautilus watches from this period, the APRIOR mark can be seen on each side of the ‘SWISS’ under the 6 o’clock baton. This was due to the fact that the hour-marker batons of the watches were made from white gold rather than steel. APRIOR stands for Association pour la Promotion Industrielle de l’Or. From today’s perspective, it’s rather ironic that this association is ‘promoted’ on the dial of such an iconic steel reference.
Special thanks to Italian watch enthusiast and historian “mstanga” for his assistance and invaluable research text, A Study of the Patek Philippe Ref. 3700 “Nautilus”.