In 1976, Patek Philippe introduced the first-ever Nautilus, the reference 3700. A few years later, in response to the slow start of the original model, the manufacture released the mid-size reference 3800. With a reduced diameter of 37.5mm, down from an imposing 42mm, it was meant to bring the Nautilus design to a wider audience. The more palatable size, as well as the wider range of configurations it was available in, made it an appealing alternative.
The reference was produced for nearly two decades, proving to be a success amongst collectors from the time. The steel example is known to appear in catalogues until 2006, with the yellow gold appearing as late as 2007, in parallel to the successor reference, the 5800. From 2008 onwards, it disappears completely from official catalogues.
An all-gold Nautilus is a bit of a paradox. The Nautilus was originally conceived as a luxury steel watch, yet its design and proportions render wonderfully when executed in yellow gold. The case and integrated bracelet are excellently finished, with angular, bevelled and polished edges, which make the yellow gold case glisten in the sun. The striking blue dial also makes for a versatile combination and an unmistakable nod towards the very earliest Nautilus configuration.