With Patek Philippe extract from the archives confirming production of the present watch with black ribbed dial and applied gold indexes in 1980 and its subsequent sale on the 11 May 1982.
Stemming from the Greek language, meaning sailor, the present timepiece was designed by the eminent Gerald Genta and took firm inspiration from the nautical universe. Inspired from the hermetically sealed portholes of marine vessels, the Nautilus was assembled in a large, ingenuously built, monocoque case and allied to a metallic bracelet.
Available as of 1976, the Nautilus reference 3700/1, known as the Jumbo, was Patek Philippe's response to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Initially surprizing Patek Philippe collectors, the wristwatch opposed the prevalent school of thought were luxury timepieces did not come in steel and were assembled with conservatively shaped and sized cases. With evolving attitudes towards watch collecting, the popularity of the Nautilus arose through the 1980s, redefining the meaning of a luxury timepiece.
Now portrayed as an icon in the watch industry, the Patek Philippe Nautilus became throughout the years one of the most recognizable wristwatch in the industry.
Reference 3700/1 was equipped with calibre 28-255 C based on a Jaeger-LeCoultre ebauche, the best thin automatic movement at that time. The cases were manufactured by Favre-Perret and they existed in stainless steel, steel and gold, 18k yellow, white gold and platinum and the dials were hand made by the highly skilled Stern Freres creators.
In 1980 Patek Philippe started to create cases and bracelets in their Ateliers Runis workshops and the Nautilus changed its reference number to the new 3700/11. The new stainless steel which was being used is called Chrome-Nickel-Molybdenum steel and the bracelets deployant clasp has been reduced to 16 mm, from 18 mm on the previous reference.
The production estimate of reference 3700/11 in stainless steel is approximately 1,200 pices.
For an illustration and description of a reference 3700/1 in stainless steel, see Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe - Volume II, p. 252, Inv. P-1557.