The Bagelsport Nautilus: A Respectable Homage, Or A Cheap Copycat?
Simon Schneider6 February 2021 | 6 min read
The homage market, by virtue of functioning as a magnifying glass for the trends of the real watch market, is completely dominated by Rolex. Sure, if you wander deep enough into the pits of the internet then you will inevitably find a cheap version of any watch you want. The bread and butter of any aspiring “watchmaker“ lacking in creativity who is trying to cut out the middleman is to make yet another Submariner homage.
What if you, however, do not care for a Submariner or in fact care for Rolex at all? Maybe, what you want to rock on your wrist has to trump a Rolex in every way. In that case you will at some point inevitably stumble upon the beauty that is the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Having found out the price as well as the waiting list involved in getting one, however, suddenly a homage seems to make a lot of sense. That is the point where we end up meeting the Bagelsport Nautilus homage.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus
Before moving onto the Bagelsport, and wondering about its ridiculous naming, I would first like to talk about the reputation of Patek and the Nautilus in general. The watch industry has changed a lot in the last decade, and I remember the transition since I started getting involved in watches just about 10 years ago. Back then you could get discounts on certain Rolex models and even the more desirable ones could be had at retail with a little luck. I remember actually being able to try on a white dial Nautilus, which used to be considered the least popular of the dial variations, after spotting an Aquanaut in the window of the shop.
Whereas Patek was a brand that only watch enthusiasts knew, social media and many other variables have come together to raise the awareness of them as a brand in the minds of the people. People who never used to care for watches now tell me the Nautilus is their dream watch. Why exactly has the Nautilus become so popular though? I think it’s design and history surely play a part but the real reason has to be it’s status as the ultimate steel sports watch. It is the Rolls-Royce of the watch industry, a design synonymous with luxury that is recognizable regardless of the onlookers knowledge of watches.
Therefore, it almost seemed inevitable that a Nautilus was to become the target of the homage market. Today we will look at that which we all know would eventually happen even though some of us hoped the day would never come. We will look at the Bagelsport and answer whether it butchered the original design and stripped it of all its intricate beauty, or whether it manages to pay respect to this legend and let its looks be made available to the masses.
The Bagelsport Nautilus
The first thing I would like to talk about is the name. Bagelsport. Honestly, what where these guys smoking? I have talked previously about how homage brands like to use fancy sounding names to inspire a sense of luxury and confidence in the product. A great example of this is Filippo Loreti which is a company that made the rounds recently. You would think that they are an Italian luxury manufacturer with a knack for fashion when in actuality they are a horrible company based in Lithuania with the watches being made in China.
Bagelsport on the other hand sounds like the leftovers from a cheap hotel breakfast buffet.
Design wise this is one of the lower levels of an homage. The reason I say this is because unlike some of the more premium copycats, the Bagelsport does nothing in the form creative input. There is no design element where they thought they could include something interesting in the watch which speaks volumes about the lacking passion in the brand and lays bare their purely financial motives.
This lack of creativity also means that all the differences between this watch and the original are products of their limitations. Then again with the massive gap in price anything but severe limitations would surprise me. Moving on to the case I think it does a pretty good job at emulating the look of the original. It lacks the many details of the Nautilus but maintains its broad strokes. Taking a second look however the facade starts to show its cracks once you focus on the individual parts. And with watches being made great by the sum of their parts I think that says a lot about the total package.
The dial is one of the weakest points of the Bagelsport. While it does feature the texture of the original with its interchanging higher and lower lines it fails to understand it. When you look at a Nautilus you will see that the text will only be displayed on the raised lines and the lower ones left blank so that it is all on one level and does not stress the eyes.
The Bagelsport on the other hand uses both the higher and lower lines and at times misses them completely leaving the letters cut in half. The result is a look so sloppy you wish they would have just not printed anything on the dial at all.
This is a great indicator of what I mean when I say that this is not a passion project. It should have been possible without any extra costs to make sure that the text was done correctly, but they did not do it.
This leads me on to talk about another issue I have with the Bagelsport. It’s dimensions. When I first looked at the Bagelsport, and was done laughing about the silly name, it left me with a very uneasy feeling.
Even though it does nothing to differentiate itself beyond what they legally could and skill wise couldn’t, it only resembles a Nautilus for those who have never had the pleasure to handle the real deal. That is because the Bagelsport looks like it got warped and stretched. On the wrist it looks significantly longer than the Nautilus which usually sits very wide on your arm.
This is a result of the side elements of the iconic porthole construction which are too thin on the Bagelsport. Just like with the dial this leaves us with a morphed copy that fails to understand the original on a level beyond the limitations of its budget.
To its credits the bracelet is an aspect that I feel the Bagelsport does a fair enough job with copying. Of course it fails to give the same feel, but from a visual perspective it doesn’t make any grave errors compared to those found on both the case and the dial. Further, I appreciate them using a butterfly clasp as can be found on the Nautilus rather than a horrible pressed sheet metal clasps. Unfortunately, they decided to secure it with a flimsy latch which to be fair is somewhat hard to notice.
Having said all that I do think it is still worth talking about the price difference here at place. While I believe that to afford a Rolex is somewhat reasonable in the western world if you put your mind to it a Nautilus is in a very different league. Costing several tens of thousands of Euros the truth is most people will not be able to call one of them theirs. In that light the argument of “I will never be able to afford the real thing anyway” suddenly seems to make the Bagelsport so much sweeter of a deal with it’s two digit pricing.
I would like to tackle that sentiment by dissecting the people who think that this is the only Nautilus they will ever be able to afford into two groups. Ask yourself whether you really think you would crave the Nautilus even if it did not say Patek Philippe on the dial and lost its status.
If you just want it because it is known to be the best, have a look around and maybe you will find something in your price range from a company that actually cares about the product (see: Patek Nautilus alternatives).
If you happen to deeply love the Nautilus simply because of its style then I regret to have to inform you that the Bagelsport will never satisfy that desire. The cheap dopamine rush from buying it will wear thin in a few weeks.