‘Type 7’ Dial 3700 Patek Philippe Nautilus
There is one green dial Nautilus that excites me. And it wasn’t made in 2021. It wasn’t even made on purpose. Some of the most painstaking scholarship of the last decade was made by a collector who goes by ‘Mstanga’, who revealed that the first ever ref. 3700 Nautilus was made with seven distinct dial types. These dials were made by Stern Fréres, with channels cut by hand, with constantly varying print and construction style. The penultimate and ultimate types, 6 and 7, have a tendency to age into a very light seafoam green, which is as dramatic as any tropical tone, only specific to this reference and dial type.
The natural variation here is likely equal parts environment (UV, climate, etc) and a natural byproduct of the production process at this point in time. This, because we see this tone in most Type 6 & 7s, but to varying degrees. Interestingly, Certificates of Origin and Extracts from Patek Philippe for these dials will always note them as ‘noir’ or ‘black ribbed’, which has led some to speculate that these have taken on their color from an initial drab cool anthracite. The dials themselves are clearly distinguished by two little dots next to the sigma signatures. On a Type 6, the dots are inside of the sigmas. On a Type 7, they moved to the outside. They are sometimes called ‘Bleu Nuit’ or Nighttime Blue, but some examples exhibit this effect more dramatically. This is about as strong and even as it gets.
Many watches can only really be understood with the context of great timespans. Some embrace age gracefully, others less so. The brilliant thing about owning a 3700 is that it just keeps giving. Particularly with a dial like this, each extra year is just going make this tone more rich and individual. The green 5711 will remain unchanged. When you wear a 3700, it changes with you. In the two times I’ve seen a green 5711 in the metal, on both occasions it felt more like the watch was wearing its owner. Vintage doesn’t just provide soul, character, charm, or any of the other words writers like me wax on about. It allows a chance for you to truly make the watch yours, to leave a physical memento to your time with it in its patina. The value of this example is effectively that: a buy-in at three-quarters of the way to perfection already.
This example sports light surface wear on the high polished areas which is to be expected of anything this age that hasn’t been polished aggressively. That’s as it should be. The dial is magnificent, tan tritium and a deep teal tone to wherever light graces the dial. It comes with its certificate of origin, guarantee, and red cube box from a well-regarded London retailer.