you throw out speculation that "speculates" with real world examples.
I'm not sure this is a "fair" thing to throw out there into the world, sorta like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.
If you have even an inkling of seriousness about the Nautilus being penned before the RO, do share, even if only unsubstantiated rumour (present it as such) - thrown out the way you did, it has the very real risk of becoming the origins of yet another internet myth.
I'm not addressing the broader issue of "real" inspiration, which at the end of the day no one can really, really suss out (or only very, very rarely) - only the the "random speculation" statement. I myself don't know, even if my interest in watches did see, real time and contemporaneously, the original introduction of each of those lines you mention specifically by name. Is it possible the Nautilus was penned before the RO? Sure, it is possible, but this falls into the "who was first, the AP 2001, or the VC 1001?" category of marketing hyperbole the Swiss high end industry is so famous for. What is KNOWN is that the RO really ignited (some would argue "created" as being the first really successful model in the category) the high end steel "sporty watch" category (there were precedent successful steel "sporty" (read: casual) watches like the Rolex models, but at that time, Rolex really wasn't part of the "luxury haute luxe" segment of the market yet...some would argue they aren't today...) and the PP Nautilus followed.
Also, again, historical but probably little known fact, the RO market success was really "made" by the Italian market almost single handedly; other markets didn't get it at first, and only later "caught up."
PP's Nautilus did achieve some modicum of market success when introduced (riding the momentum for a "new" market segment started by the AP RO? This is purely a question, not an implied statement) but it petered out fairly quickly, certainly didn't sustain momentum nearly as long nor as successfully as the RO. It's recent resurgence as a result of a. marketing by PP for its 30th annivesary makeover; b. market manipulations by "market makers"; is already petering out again, as seen by steeply dropping demand and secondary market prices (from their ridiculously over-priced and speculatively hoarded levels of the last several months)
Yes, I suppose one could argue that the RO (and ROOS evolution) has gone through similar market cycles, and I wouldn't argue with you...
As to your last comment regarding someone working for a "copycat" now who might have worked previously for a copied 'nother brand or house, I'm not sure how serious you were with that comment, but I'll treat is seriously and here are a few PERSONAL thoughts (I myself already see it is fraught with thousands, if not millions, of shades of possibilities)
If the person worked for the other brand being "copied" (or "faithfully inspired") and was one of the "designers" then I can see some legitimacy. If they were "only" in the marketing department and secondarily or even more removed from the original design conception and development, then it can be, at best, an "homage" and at worst, a blatant rip off.
Some have levied some of the above positions to certain Roger Dubuis models vis a vis Frank Muller, with similar complicated historical personal relationships.
In the end, it is a spectrum, and speaking only for myself, I see no clear and obvious delineating point of where inspiration ends, and copying begins...sorta like what constitutes pornography vs erotica.