I guess I have to begin by saying what everyone already knows: The Nautilus has to be the most popular watch of the last five years, especially in blue. With the modern 5711 trading at multiples of its retail and the vintage Jumbo 3700 trading for even more, most people were priced out of these examples.
Well, good thing Patek had a mid-size sibling to go along the Jumbo back in the day and as a result of these premiums, the prices of these have followed too. The 3800 was introduced at a time when the Nautilus was still seen as a brash, anti-Patek watch. Clients and critics alike were used to seeing elegant dress watches and were perhaps shocked to see that they followed in the footsteps of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak when they introduced the 3700 in the 70’s. Not to mention using the same designer in Gerald Genta! Furthermore, watch sizes of that era were much smaller, so to have a 42mm piece was considered hugely oversized. This is where the 3800 fits in, sized at 38mm and more acceptable to the general public.
The 3800 is every bit as good as its larger sibling and featuring the same mono bloc case with beautiful finishing throughout. Every surface is brushed and polished and when it reflects light it simply looks amazing. The blue dial with its horizontal stripes looks so good in the light and depending on the conditions reflects of different hues of blue, green, black and grey. It is no wonder blue dials are so hot right now.
Furthermore, this particular example is made even more special as it is an early series, distinguished by the black date window and the large Nautilus cursive writing on the clasp. It has developed a nice patina overall and despite being mid-size, sits low and fantastically well on the wrist. The profile of this piece is every bit as impressive as the front of it.
It’s hard not to love the Nautilus, despite the mainstream craze as once you strap it onto your wrist, you begin to understand why.