RLT 36 Nautilus
For most watch enthusiasts the brand name RLT may not be immediately obvious unless over the past few years one has strayed onto the UK Watch forum scene, where the RLT forum (now The Watch Forum) is one of the main gathering places for UK collectors.
The RLT forum was the brainchild of the RLT Watch Company who are based in a small northern English seaside town of Bridlington. The company was set up by Roy L. Taylor in 1987 as a ‘bricks and mortar’ watch repair and sales business. In 2001 Roy closed the high street shop and became solely an on-line retailer with a store front at www.RLTWatches.com.
In July 2006, Roy unexpectedly posted a picture of a one off dive watch he had built based on an Ollech & Wajs ID3077. It was a great looking watch and used the red outlined sword hands that Roy had used previously to great effect on the RLT 11 limited edition (of 50 pieces) dive watch. Interestingly sword hands rarely make an appearance on Submariner style watches and yet were first used by Rolex themselves on the rare Military specification 5517 Submariner model in the 1970s.
Roy’s new watch soon caught people’s attention, and despite his protestations that this was a one off watch for his own personal use, he eventually succumbed to public demand and looked into the possibility of making a small run of watches as a very limited edition… This was the beginning of the RLT 36 project.
Within a few weeks it was established that it would be possible to make a limited run of 21 watches. Roy had also just a new computer controlled engraving machine delivered and this meant there was also the possibility of having a design engraved on the case back. Many ideas were floated on the forum to name the watch, and one member suggested ‘Nautilus’ which suited the watch well and was soon chosen.
•    Limited edition of 21 pieces
•    200m rated WR
•    40mm case
•    ETA 2824 automatic movement
•    Screw down crown
•    60 click uni-directional bezel
•    Bezel insert could be specified with either a 12 hr bezel or a more usual 60 minute
•    Sapphire crystal –
•    20mm lugs
•    Stainless steel bracelet
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Another forum member, ‘Born T’ who is an artist, offered to sketch some designs for the case back engraving and his stylised Nautilus logo was given a firm thumbs up by the forum members who, in a deluge of advanced orders, had ensured that the small run of watches was completely sold out before any had actually been made.
The RLT36’s basic styling is that of a classic dive watch, It is however the finer details that set this watch apart from the other obvious ‘Sub-a-like’ watches of this genre. The red edged sword hands match the red bezel colour very well, their size and shape make telling the time very easy indeed. The luminous material on the hands and dial match well and in dark conditions has a good even glow. The white on black date wheel completes the dial, adding a classy finish to the general black and red accents of the watch.
The case has the traditional Sub-style polished sides with brushed lug tops that match the brushed oyster bracelet perfectly. For ease of strap changing the watch includes drilled lugs. The stainless steel bracelet is of quality screwed solid links and incorporates a wet suit dive-extension.
The Nautilus logo makes an appearance 3 times on the watch; on the case-back is the full logo (with the signature of the artist ‘Born T’) along with the edition number of the watch. The logo is repeated on the on the stainless steel bracelet clasp and finally, quite surprisingly due to its complexity, on the crown. The engraving is very precise and clear, and is one of the watches most unique features.
There is a final piece of engraving on the watch that Roy left as a surprise for the 21 recipients. In between the lugs at the 6 o’clock position, where you might expect a hallmark or case-number, he engraved his signature.
The ETA 2824 movement’s automatic rotor is also signed with the RLT logo, even though no one will get to see it except at service time.
To sum up, there are many, many watches in this style, but the fine details and the ‘team effort’ in the design of the logos by RLT forum members makes it an extra special watch.
Many thanks to Jason Miller upon whose original RLT36 review this article is based.
Thanks to Simon Hipperson and Jason for the pictures.
The watch was originally delivered packaged in an orange outer box and matching inner box with the Nautilus logo printed on the top. Inside the box was a warranty certificate card detailing the limited number and date of purchase.
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