Sport watches are consistently one of the most popular types of timepieces. The name of the category may make you think of a watch with a more casual or rugged appearance. However, as sport watches have grown in demand over the years, watchmakers have pushed the boundaries of their design. Even brands known for their more refined models, like dress watches, have gotten in the sport watch game (pun intended).
Patek Philippe and Piaget are two of those unsuspecting brands. When you think of these manufacturers, you might immediately conjure up an image of a handsome Calatrava or understated Altiplano. You might be surprised to learn Patek took its first step into the realm of sport watches back in 1976. That year, they debuted the first Nautilus. The legendary designer Gerald Genta is responsible for both developing the Nautilus and creating the luxury sport watch. Then, in 2016 – the same year the Nautilus celebrated its monumental 40th anniversary – Piaget shook up the market. They launched their game-changing Polo S. The brand surprised the industry when they entered into the luxury sport watch arena. The watchmaker and jeweler has made a name for them self with their classic and luxurious in-house designs. The Polo Sport S was a leap for Piaget. Plus, it came in at a more attainable price point, posing admirable competition to models like the Nautilus.
The Splurge: The Patek Philippe Nautilus
Patek Philippe’s original Nautilus had an unmistakable design. It featured a durable stainless steel case and a distinctive integrated bracelet. However, its most notable feature was its cushion shaped dial, which showcased a unique texture with horizontal grooves. This became the trademark of the model for two decades.
In 1996, Patek Philippe did a complete redesign of the once iconic Nautilus dial. It lost its signature grooves, baton indexes and hands, and integrated bracelet. Instead, the brand made the dial matte. They replaced the indexes with Roman numerals and added leaf hands. In addition, they included an option for a leather strap. At the time, these variations of the Nautilus were a success. However, most collectors today dismiss this generation as not having the same charm as the original design. The brand listened. Just eight years later in 2004, they welcomed back some of the original features of the Nautilus. Now, it seems like the grooved dial and baton indexes are here to stay.
Today, the Nautilus is not only available in stainless steel but also precious metals, like gold and platinum. Patek Philippe offers the model in an array of sizes and with a range of complications as well. Each is houses one of the brand’s exceptional in-house movements.
The Steal: The Piaget Polo S
Piaget’s Polo family of watches dates back just about as far as the Nautilus, first debuting in 1979. The signature characteristic of the collection is its distinctive bracelet and dial, which feature a bold horizontal pattern. This trademark is also one of the defining traits of the Polo S. It showcases a similar horizontal pattern on the dial in honor of the original bracelet. However, this design also bears a striking resemblance to the signature pattern on the dial of the Nautilus. Both also happened to be cushion shaped.
Like the original Nautilus, the Polo S also features a stainless steel construction. This is a first for Piaget, as all of the brand’s wristwatches have been made of precious metals since the mid-1950s. However, it’s worth noting that the “S” in the model name stands for “sport,” not “stainless steel.”
Again, similar to the Nautilus, the Polo S is available as a time-only watch or with a range of complications. In typical Piaget fashion, each model comes equipped with an in-house movement.
Choosing the Best Model for You
As you can see, the resemblances between Patek Philippe Nautilus and Piaget Polo S are uncanny from the inside out. They feature a similar design and each boast in-house movements from powerhouse brands. The biggest difference between these two models is undoubtedly the price tag. If you love the look and feel of these models and want a more attainable option, buy the Polo S. However, if you think it’s worth the wait, save up and splurge on the Nautilus. You really can’t go wrong with a Patek Phillipe or a Piaget. Both brands are time-tested and produce exceptional timepieces.