Nautilus 3800 | yellow gold
This Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800/1J in yellow gold features an elusive double-signed dial, bearing the name of the Zürich based retailer, Beyer Chronometrie. Having left the manufacture in 1984 - three short years after the reference was introduced - this example also features a range of early features, from the more traditional signature on the dial to the elusive black date disc.
A double-signed Nautilus
Shortly after the introduction of the "Jumbo" Nautilus 3700, Patek Philippe experimented with a mid-size version of the design, in response to a slow start for the original model. Introduced in 1981, the reference 3800 was meant to bring the Nautilus to a wider audience, who at the time favoured more modestly sized wristwatches. In essence, the ref. 3800 is a scaled-down version of the ref. 3700, retaining many of the same features, such as the ridged dial, integrated bracelet and porthole case penned by Gerald Genta.
Double-signed dials from Patek Philippe have a special appeal to collectors, given their exclusivity and rarity. Available from a select few retailers around the world, the prestigious Beyer Chronometrie in Zürich is one such name, with others including Tiffany & Co. in New York, and Gübelin in Lucerne. Examples of the reference 3800 with Beyer on the dial are exceedingly rare, with very small numbers having reached the market to date.
The close proximity of the brand and the retailer represents the permanence of watch collecting in the German-speaking world, which endures to this day. Beyer started selling Patek Philippe watches around 1842, with the two family-owned businesses still working closely together. The strength of the bond between the manufacture and Beyer Chronometrie is neatly summarised by the fact that the first 25 models of the reference 3940 were individually numbered and stamped by Beyer, thus launching the iconic model.
A distinctive dial
Far from being uniform, the dial of this ref. 3800 has developed a very subtle green colour, displaying a gradient of greenish-blue tones throughout. This variation is a result of changes in the production process throughout the early lifecycle of the reference, ageing over time, or a combination of the two. Such colour changes have also been observed examples of the ref. 3700, where such variances in dial colour are most commonly associated with specific types of dials.
This example also features an unusual diamond-set dial. To date, all yellow gold Nautilus 3800 watches which have come to market bearing the Beyer signature have featured these precious indexes, suggesting that the combination of these elements was considered particularly desirable at the time. The style and font of the Beyer signature is consistent with other examples which have come to market.
This particular dial also features a range of characteristics only featured on the earliest examples, with this example having been produced in March 1984 - only three years after the launch of the reference. The “PATEK PHILIPPE GENÈVE” signature at 12 o’clock also shows an accent above the second “È” in “GENÈVE”, with the majority of the production not having one. The accent appears to be a feature of the earlier models, for the first ten years or so of production. Complementing the deep blue dial is the rarer, dark-coloured date disc. You will also find the “σ · SWISS · σ” signature at the bottom of the dial, used to signify the use of precious materials on the dial and hands.
An all-gold case
An all-gold Nautilus is a bit of a paradox. Though the Nautilus was originally conceived as a luxury steel watch, its design and proportions render wonderfully when executed in yellow gold. Like the ref. 3700, the case and integrated bracelet are excellently finished, with angular, bevelled and polished edges. The polished bezel and case edges fantastically-contrast with the brushed surface of the case and bracelet. This particular 3800J features a seldom-seen "thin" bracelet, where the individual links are slimmer than those commonly found on most Nautilus 3800 watches.
The watch also features a white gold deployante buckle, as indicated by the "750" stamp visible on one of the blades. It features a blade-style clasp, also most commonly found on the earliest models, in the same style as what you might expect to find on an early ref. 3700. At 37.5mm in diameter and only 7.5mm thick, this 3800 Nautilus case is an elegant twist of perspectives and size, and wears comfortably on the wrist.
As a result of Patek Philippe's decision to develop its own in-house, ultra-slim movement, the reference 3800 features an updated calibre 335 S C (for “seconde centrale” or “central second”), replacing the previous calibre 28-255C movement.
The calibre 335 S C features 29 jewels, a straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance; adjusted to cold, heat, isochronism, and 5 positions, a self-compensating flat balance spring and shock absorber mechanism. Furthermore, the solid-gold rotor is finished in classic Patek Philippe style, with circular Geneva stripes.
This Patek Philippe Nautilus 3800/1J is accompanied by an Extract from the Archives, which confirms its date of production as of March 1984. The corresponding movement (1.422.XXX) and case (559.XXX) numbers are confirmed.
To find out more about the Nautilus 3800, read our in-depth Collector's Guide.
|Brand:||Patek Philippe x Beyer|
|Movement:||mechanical automatic Cal. 335 SC|
|Functions:||date, hours, minutes, central seconds|
|Features:||blue ridged dial, Beyer signature, black date-disc|
|Case:||37.5mm yellow gold|
|Bracelet:||3800/001J yellow gold bracelet (with "thin" links) and signed white gold clasp|
|Box & papers:||Extract from the Archives|
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