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While still in production, the 3700 has been followed by an extremely close edition, in a smaller case, the mens Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 3800 replica watch. However, after a closer inspection, it appears that the Nautilus 3800 has several differences – and some that are not negligible. While the “jumbo” case, with its 42mm diameter, was part of the Nautilus concept as designed by Genta, it seemed that some of the collectors at that time were not yet inclined to buy a watch that large. Visually, if looked briefly, the mid-size Nautilus was a simple copy-paste of the 3700 “Jumbo”: same overall shape, same bracelet, same dial, same display.
This extra-hand indicates the mechanical evolution of the Nautilus, which started to be powered by an in-house movement with this ref. 3800. Inside was ticking the Calibre 335 SC (for seconde centrale / central second), the result of Patek’s decision to create their own automatic slim movement. Compared to the previous JLC-based movement, the calibre 335 was much more modern, with 29 jewels, a central rotor, a 3Hz frequency and all the Patek delicacies: superior finishing, gold rotor with circular Geneva stripes, Gyromax balance wheel… The Nautilus entered the modern era. However, this movement, probably due to the central second, was slightly thicker than the 28-255 C (at 3.5mm vs. 3.05mm) and just a tiny bit smaller in diameter (27mm vs. 28mm). Regarding the dial, once again the evolution seems timid at first. The standard Patek Philippe Nautilus mid-size, the 3800-1A (steel on steel), had the same dark blue dial with horizontal grooves, the same baton indexes and the same date at 3. However, one important feature had been added: a central second hand.
The first evolution is of course the size of its case. While the “jumbo” measured a massive (for the 1970s and 1980s) 42mm, the mid-size 3800 was “only” 37.5mm in diameter, much smaller than the first edition for sure, however not a small watch either. With this watch, Swiss-made fake Patek Philippe Nautilus answered critics, by providing a watch that was more in line with its usual luxury and discretion standards.The style was retained, with a monobloc case, an added module on top secured by two-ears, an integrated bracelet that tapered to the buckle and the iconic smoothened octagonal bezel.
Alongside the mid-size Ref. 3800, Patek also launched another watch that same year: the Nautilus 3900, another mid-size versions, more seen as a unisex watch (even advertised as a small men’s version), larger than the 4700, smaller than the 3800, with a 33mm case and a quartz movement. It means that during the 1980s, the Patek Philippe Nautilus was available in 4 sizes (all the 4 editions on the photo below, with the right proportions).
For the rest, the Nautilus mid-size ref. 3800 has seen several evolutions, mainly for the choice of colours and materials. Most options were possible: stainless steel with a dark blue dial, stainless steel with a white dial, stainless steel and gold with a gold dial, stainless steel and gold with a dark blue dial, gold with a black dial, gold with a gold dial… But all them sharing the same dial pattern, with horizontal grooves.The addition of the central second hand might be seen as a simple evolution, however, considering the breaking it does with the initial concept and the fact that it is found in all the following time-and-date references, it has to be mentioned here, in the history of the Patek Philippe Nautilus copy watch.