Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

Angus Davies succumbs to the charms of the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001, a svelte timepiece endowed with a grand complication, self-winding movement and peerless finissage.

This detailed review of the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001 includes numerous images, specification details and price.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

Seeing a smartly dressed gentlemen or an elegantly attired lady consume food without any sense of decorum proves an embarrassing spectacle. In England’s polite society there are accepted norms of behaviour. The fork should be held in the left hand with the tines pointing downwards. The knife should be placed in the right hand with the index finger extended along the upper edge of the blade. Under no circumstances should the knife be held like a pen.

A modest amount of food should be introduced to the mouth and masticated with the mouth closed. It is bad form to talk with one’s mouth full of food. The fork or spoon should be taken to the mouth, rather than lowering the head to the food. The knife is used merely for cutting food and should not be placed in the mouth. Utensils should not be used as a tools for communication. The elbows should never be placed on the table.

The aforementioned rules were instilled in me at a young age. In truth, I have listed only some of the practises an individual should be aware of. When eating a meal in polite company, etiquette, or, lack thereof, categorises an individual. Regrettably, with the increasing popularity of fast food, huge swathes of society have abandoned the niceties of formal dining.

Thankfully in the esoteric world of fine watchmaking, horological etiquette is alive and well. Traditions are maintained and there is no tendency to debase craftsmanship in some crass desire for expedience. One company which can always be relied upon to uphold standards is Patek Philippe. The Genevan company’s history dates back to 1839 and its watches have been highly prized ever since. Patek Philippe is considered one of the finest practitioners of haute horlogerie.

While Patek Philippe offers traditionally styled watches, including pocket watches, the luxurious brand also makes high-end timepieces brimming with modernity. The Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001 is a paragon of contemporary design, but preserves the no-compromise, traditional craftsmanship synonymous with the Genevan maison.

The first Nautilus was launched in 1976 and has been coveted by horophiles ever since. Supplies have never kept pace with market demand, reinforcing strong residual values on the pre-owned market. Over the years, Patek Philippe has unveiled several versions of the Nautilus, including a chronograph, date with moon phases, annual calendar with moon phases, travel time and haute joaillerie timepieces for ladies.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

At Baselworld 2018, the Genevan brand launched ‘the first grand complication in the Nautilus collection’, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001.

The dial

In 2016, Patek Philippe unveiled watches featuring dials endowed with a sunburst blue motif, created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Nautilus collection. This new watch, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001 features the same sunburst blue motif. 

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

The dial surface is endowed with ‘raised horizontal embossing’. This in turn delivers differing dial depths, augmenting the allure of the display. The styling of the hour and minute hands, together with the indexes, have barely changed since Gérald Genta penned the original design. It is this consistency which underpins the Nautilus’s iconic status.

The baton-style hour and minute hands and the applied indexes are formed of 18-carat white gold and lined with Superluminova coating. The combination of the lucid hands and crisp indexes confers excellent readability.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

Three subdials populate the dial and feature snailed detail. A month display and leap-year indication are positioned at 3 o’clock. Located at 6 o’clock is a pointer date and moonphase indication. The third subdial, positioned at 9 o’clock, pairs a day display with a 24-hour dial. Interestingly, Patek Philippe has chosen to make the subdial at 6 o’clock larger than its neighbours. This is eminently logical as the date display is likely to be viewed the most.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

Part of the charm of this watch, a trait it shares with other Nautilus models, is that the dial is framed with a porthole-inspired aperture, delivering an attractive alternative to the ubiquitous round window. This is just one of the many characteristics which distinguish the design of this timepiece as special.

The case

The scale of the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001, measuring 40mm in diameter, should prove agreeable to most individuals. The height of 8.42mm differentiates this slender watch from the majority of timepieces on sale. While some of Patek’s competitors may offer slimmer watches, they are unlikely to incorporate a perpetual calendar or proffer automatic winding. The svelte profile of the Caliber 240 Q, measuring 3.88mm, is remarkable for a movement imbued with such complexity.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

When discussing the Nautilus, Patek collectors will often talk about the ‘ears’. There are two ears, one positioned either side of the case. The ear on the right hand side of the case proffers crown protection, mitigating the risk of impact damage harming the winding stem. The protruding ears increase the aforementioned diameter by approximately 4mm, but I did not find this to be an issue. Furthermore, when flexing the wrist, the right ear did not impinge on free movement or cause any chafing of the skin.

The noble Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001 is appropriately housed in 18-carat white gold. The precious metal confers a neutral, understated tone which plays a deferential role to the blue PVD coated dial, allowing the latter to shine.

As stated earlier, the Nautilus is said to embrace a ‘porthole-inspired design’, granting the model with a notable degree of individuality. The eight points of the octagonal bezel are rounded and feature smooth, gentle edges. The upper surface of the bezel is embellished with vertical satin finishing, while the edges are bevelled, evincing a beautiful gleaming appearance.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

The case-band of the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001 supplants the ordinary with its complex construction. The bracelet integrates into the case. Again, similar to the bezel, Patek juxtaposes polished and brushed surfaces. The vertical flanks of the ears are highly polished and shine resplendently adjacent the brushed vertical surfaces. The correctors for the perpetual calendar are positioned on the case-band at various points around the case. Each corrector is presented in a highly polished form.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

Clearly, Patek collectors are of discerning temperament. It is for this reason that the Genevan brand has equipped this model with a sapphire-crystal caseback, granting views of the exquisitely finished Caliber 240 Q. Encircling this pane of sapphire crystal is a highly polished circlet, bestowing contrast with the adjacent surfaces.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

During my time with the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001, I closely appraised the 18-carat gold bracelet. The central links are highly polished, while the neighbouring lateral links are satin-finished. The prestigious maison ‘has introduced a totally new, patented fold-over clasp. It features four independent catches to optimise opening and closing and to prevent the unintended release of either of the two clasp segments’. As well as proffering greater security, the brand claims the new design provides improved wearer comfort, a statement I would endorse.

The movement

The ultra-thin, self-winding Caliber 240 Q has a depth of 3.88mm. This stated height is the sum of the base movement, measuring 2.53mm, and the calendar module, measuring 1.35mm. What makes this particularly svelte watch impressive is that it is equipped with a ‘grand complication’, a detail which usually results in a bulkier profile.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

One reason for the slender appearance of the Caliber 240 Q is the presence of a 22-carat gold micro-rotor. This oscillating weight sits flush with the adjacent bridges, preserving the ultra-thin appearance of the movement.

The self-winding characteristic of the Caliber 240 Q makes this ideal for daily wear.

The balance wheel is fitted with masselottes. These inertia blocks can be rotated clockwise or counter clockwise in order to make the watch run faster or slower. By positioning the inertia blocks in-board, there is less air turbulence when the balance oscillates to and fro, enhancing precision.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001

Patek ownership transcends the functionality conferred and invites the wearer to absorb the painstaking attention to detail and peerless craftsmanship. The mainplate is embellished with crisp, perfectly formed perlage. The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, gold engraved text, polished jewel and screw sinks and circular grained wheels. Each bridge features matchless anglage, the product of adroit hands bevelling a bridge between its upper surface and vertical flank. It is this obsession with finissage which has resonated with watch aficionados for years, resulting in the watch marque’s products being the subject of much auction room interest.

Closing remarks

The Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001 encompasses many of the attributes synonymous with high-end watch ownership. The dial has texture and depth, heightening its allure. The shade of the dial is exquisite and proffers a slightly casual appearance, while the 18-carat white gold case provides a tasteful, understated mien.

Despite the complexity of the Caliber 240 Q, endowed with a highly complex perpetual calendar and the convenience of self-winding, it remains ultra-thin. This slenderness is apparent when viewing the neat profile of the watch and experiencing its unobtrusive and comfortable qualities when worn.

While the case is slender and luxurious it possesses a robustness, characterised by the crown nestling within the protective arms of the right ear. This is a watch you could wear every day.

Lastly, I have to return to the finissage. Despite the modernity of this watch, it incorporates flawless traditional finishing including: perlage, Côtes de Genève, anglage, circular grained wheels and polished sinks. It is this horological probity, practised by the brand since 1839, which I deeply admire. Indeed, as this timepiece perfectly illustrates, Patek Philippe know how to conduct themselves in public, upholding best practises and demonstrating a decorum connoisseurs know and love.

Further reading

Technical specifications

  • Model: Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740/1G-001
  • Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 40mm, sapphire crystal to front and caseback; water resistant to 6 ATM (60 metres).
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; date; day; moon-phase indicator; leap year cycle; 24-hour dial; perpetual calendar
  • Movement: Caliber 240Q; Self-winding movement; frequency 21,600 VpH (3Hz); 27 jewels; power reserve min. 38 hours / max. 48 hours.
  • Strap: 18-carat white gold bracelet with fold-over clasp
  • Price: £91,150 (RRP as at 30.7.2018)

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