A Beautiful Time: The Patek 3800 In Stainless Steel
Watches do so much more than simply tell the time. They can make a colorful fashion
statement, impress with their mechanical craftsmanship, or dazzle with their beautiful materials,
and so much more. No matter what else they do, however, all timepieces can tell a story. They
tell the story of the minds that designed them, the hands that built them, and the people who
wear them. One of the eloquent and visually engaging stories in this history of watchmaking is
told by an exquisite example of the craft: the Patek Philippe 3800 Nautilus in Stainless Steel and
Patek Philippe & Co. is a luxury Swiss watch maker located in both Geneva and a valley in the
Swiss Jura mountains. Founded in 1851, the company was formed when Polish watchmaker
Antoni Patek joined forces with Frenchman Andrei Philippe, the inventor of the keyless winding
mechanism. Since then the company hasn’t looked back, operating without any interruptions for
the intervening nearly 170 years. The company would quickly become well-known for the high
quality of its watches, as well as its willingness to include many extra features in their
In its earlier days, the company was also something of an innovator, popularizing a wide variety
of different watch technologies. One of these, the perpetual calendar, a calendar valid for many
years in the future and useful for determining the day of the week for future dates, is still very
popular in watches today. Other meaningful innovations Patek Philippe was responsible for
popularizing include the split-seconds hand, the chronograph, and the minute repeater. More
recently, the company has shown that the innovative spirit that drove it in its early years is still
strong, as it became the first company to use Chronifer M-15 X steel, a new kind of steel
designed specifically for timekeeping, in its watches.
Today, the watchmaker is a revered global brand, known for the incredibly high quality of its
craftsmanship, as well as creating some of the most complicated mechanical watches ever
assembled. As with all Swiss watchmakers, the company focuses on producing watches with
mechanical movements, but has and still does also manufacture watches with Quartz
movements. It creates all of its own movements in-house, and manufactures every component
used in its watches. With 400 retail locations across the world and over a dozen distribution
centers in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, the watchmaker is a global powerhouse with a body
of work that speaks for itself.
Over the years, the prestigious watchmaker has supplied timepieces for some of the wealthiest
individuals on the planet, including multiple watches created explicitly for the use of royalty. In
1851, Patek Philippe began crafting watches for Queen Victoria of England and her husband,
Prince Albert, and would continue to do so for many years. Victoria owned two exclusive Patek
pieces: a key-wound watch in pendant form, and a watch hanging from a diamond and enamel
broach that was meant to be pinned to clothing. Other royal patrons of Patek watches include
King of Denmark Christian IX and his wife Princess Louise of Denmark, King of Italy Victor
Emmanuel III, and Sultan of Egypt Hussein Kamel.
Another noteworthy aspect of the company is how often it has created watches that have an
incredibly high number of extra functions, or complications. In 1933, after three years of
designing and five years of constructing it, Patek Philippe released the Henry Graves
Supercomplication, a watch created for banker Henry Graves Jr. that included twenty-four extra
functions, including the Westminster chimes and and a celestial map of New York as seen from
the Graves’s apartment on Fifth Avenue. Other interesting complications that have been part of
Patek Philippe watches include moon phase calendars and the equation of time, which details
the difference between apparent solar time, the kind of time measured by a sundial and mean
solar time, the kind of time measured by a watch, at any point in the year.
Any other complicated watches produced by the company, however take a backseat to the
Patek Philippe Calibre 89, widely recognized as one of the most complicated watches ever
assembled. Created in 1989 to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary, the watch boasts a
ridiculous total of thirty-three complications. These run the gamut from more standard additions
such as one that tells the day of the month or week, to some that are entirely unexpected, such
as a star chart and a thermometer. The monumentally complicated affair weighs over one
kilogram, has twenty-four different hands on the face, and is built from 1,728 total components.
Patek Philippe proudly proclaims that the Calibre 89 is “the most complicated watch ever
created,” and there are few watches in the world that could even come close to challenging it for
Finally, many of the watches to hold the title “most expensive watch ever sold” have been
created by Patek Philippe. In 2008, a Platinum Patek Philippe tourbillon wristwatch claimed the
record for most expensive wristwatch ever sold when it was bought for one and a half million
dollars. This record would be broken by another Patek Philippe, a yellow gold chronograph
wristwatch with a perpetual calendar and moon phase display, which sold for five and a half
million dollars in 2010 and kicked off a tradition of Patek Philippe wristwatches stealing the
limelight from each other. In 2016, another Patek Philippe, with the reference number 1518, one
of only four wristwatches in its line to be made in a steel case and featuring a chronograph and
perpetual calendar, became the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction when it was
bought for just under ten million dollars.
The most recent Patek Philippe Watch to make headlines was the famous Henry Graves
supercomplication, which was sold at auction for twenty-four millions dollars in August of 2014.
This tops even the Rolex Daytona famous for being worn by Paul Newman every day for
decades, which sold for seventeen million in October of 2017. All told, this means that Patek
Philippe watches have held the record for most expensive watch ever sold continuously for the
past decade (though the record specifically for a wristwatch now belongs to the aforementioned
Rolex Daytona, since the supercomcplication is not technically a wristwatch), no mean feat.
There’s far more to the watchmaker, however, than these one-of-a-kind timepieces
The Nautilus collection, which this watch is a part of, is one of Patek Philippe’s most famous.
First introduced in 1976, the collection has become famous in part for revitalizing the world of
high-end Swiss Watches. In the late twentieth century, the industry was reeling, struggling to
adjust to the emergence of battery-powered watches in what’s today known as the “Quartz
Crisis.” In the heyday of the disco age, ultra-thin gold watches were all the rage, and mechanical
movements were continuously waning in popularity. It was into this landscape that the Nautilus
arrived like a much-needed bolt out of the blue. Though the collection is today considered an
integral part of the brand’s identity, when it was originally released the line represented both a
bold statement and a monumental risk on the part of Patek Philippe. A risk, it turns out, that was
well worth taking.
Unlike the Complications or Grand Complications lines, which are designed to showcase the
ingenuity of the watchmakers by including a wide range of extra features, the Nautilus line was
created with simple beauty in mind. With this line, Patek Philippe endeavored to target both men
and women with a line of sports watches that conveyed both elegance and bold confidence.
Both durable and beautiful, the watch line was intended to meet the needs of any active wearer
with an unparalleled level of class and sophistication.
All Nautilus watches are constructed in a way that evokes a seafaring mindset, just as the name
of the line as a whole does. The shape of the face, a rounded octagon, calls back to the
portholes of Trans-Atlantic ocean liners, just as the prominent “ears” on each end are meant to
remind purchasers of the large hinges of these same portholes. The large, octagonal bezel
jutting prominently from the side of the watch also calls back to these portholes. The dial of
every Nautilus watch is also horizontally embossed, which conveys a feeling of horizontal
motion that once again harkens back to trans-atlantic steamers.
When they were first designed, the Nautilus line contained a calibre 28-255 C, widely regarded
at the time as one of the best thin movements on the market. Today, the Nautilus line is powered
by a movement built in-house by Patek Philippe, known as the 324 S C. This movement is
mechanical and self-winding, which means that it harnesses the energy generated when
wearing the watch to operate, and must be stored in a winding case when not in use. With a
frequency of 4 Hz, this movement can measure times as accurate as an eighth of a second,
making it incredibly precise. It also has a power reserve of up to forty-five hours, meaning that
once it’s fully charged the watch can operate without being rewound for almost two full days.
This movement has given birth to six others based on its design, more than proving its worth as
a mechanism. Emblazoned on the back of it, on can find the symbol of Patek Philippe.
This watch is a shining example of how beautiful a Patek Philippe can be, as well as how
elegant and eye-catching the Nautilus collection is. The strap made of stainless steel and
eighteen-karat gold, as eye-catching as it is durable, and will hold the watch on any owner’s
wrist for years to come. As an added benefit for watch aficionados worried about durability, the
specific allow of steel the Nautilus line is made of was also used to protect tanks during the
second world war. Beneath one’s wrist, an oyster clasp keeps the watch firmly affixed to one’s
wrist, and the watch’s heritage as a device intended for those with an active lifestyle mean that it
will stay firmly around a wrist no matter where life takes one. The case is thirty-five millimeters in
diameter, also made of stainless steel and gold, and is faced with light-colored wood to create a
beautiful contrast with the colors of the case and face of the watch.
That face is every bit as magnificent as the rest of the piece. Protected by clear, scratchresistant
sapphire, the actual face of the watch is a brilliant shade of cobalt blue. In place of
numbers, hours are marked by slender bars with the exception of the third position, where the
day of the month can be found, and the twelfth position, which is marked by a double-bar.
Beneath the twelfth hour mark, the name of Patek Philippe is inscribed, as well as the word
“Geneve,” a reference to the company’s Swiss heritage. The hour and minute hands mirror the
marks for each hour, while the second hand is a slender needle of dark gold. The large
octagonal bezel on the side of the watch is also cast in yellow, eighteen-karat gold.
Timepieces like this, with such an impressive level of quality and boosted by such a rich and
vibrant history, will always be in high demand. Thankfully, you don’t have to search through
auction houses or antique stores to make this piece of history yours. You can find the Patek
Philippe 3800 at Diamonds by Raymond Lee in Boca Raton, Florida. Coming with a special
presentation box and official papers provided by Raymond Lee, this watch will make a bold,
elegant statement for you whether it’s on your wrist or your nightstand. So if you’re ready to own
a part of watchmaking history as stories as it is beautiful, stop by Boca Raton and make the