It’s hard to pick apart the best, and Patek Philippe is among the best – there is no dispute amongst the knowledgeable. I often get a customer that has reached a level in their life where they can afford an elite timepiece, so they go and get a Patek. Interestingly enough, the common purchase is the steel Nautilus. With this timepiece it feels like all bases are covered, you bought the best watch in the world! Then it happens. Entry-level luxury remorse sets in: you got the steel Nautilus, and yeah it’s automatic with a house movement and all, but you still feel empty as a collector.
Grail dreams are fulfilled at first, yet many Nautilus/Aquanaut buyers would attest that this feeling of satisfaction begins to fade not long after the first time the watch is worn. While it’s true that every grail piece is just a goal, or mere stepping stones to bigger and better timepieces, I come across few who really enjoy the Nautilus. If you find yourself saying “it really doesn’t do anything for me,” it won’t, sorry, the steel Nautilus is the biggest lost leader ever produced by a high end company. That’s why collectors tend to obtain this model and dissolve quickly.
The watch pictured is a 40mm Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167, a slightly more affordable cousin of the Nautilus introduced in 1997. $23,400