OK, I kept my mouth shut on this one, but can't any longer.
If I got a D800 with 1200 activations, it would go right back to the seller. FAST!
There is something really fishy, smelly fishy here. There has been offered no real, sensible rationale for this happening, other than some "suppositions."
If Nikon pulled that camera from the line for testing, and then packaged it for sale, the activation count would have been zeroed, to make it just like every other camera they sell. Otherwise, we would have heard of many more of these.
Somehow, it seems politically incorrect here to even suggest that the dealer, or somebody, is pulling a fast one. Well, I'll at least suggest that the evidence is pretty strong that the camera is a return, being recycled to the Nikonian member. And when there is a return, there is often a good reason for it --- related to performance.