Important Modern and Vintage Timepieces

Hong Kong, Feb 26, 2012

LOT 177

PATEK PHILIPPE REF. 3970 WHITE GOLD Patek Philippe, Geneve, No.3046372, case No.4153751, Ref.3970EG. Made in 2002. Very fine and important, water-resistant, 18K white gold wristwatch with round button chronograph, register, perpetual calendar, moon phases, leap year, 24-hour indication and an 18K white gold Patek Philippe deployant clasp. Accompanied by a fitted box, Certificate, and Instruction Booklet. To be sold without reserve

HKD 475,000 - 600,000

USD 60,000 - 80,000 / EUR 48,000 - 60,000

Sold: HKD 824,000

C. Three-body, solid, polished, concave bezel, fl uted lugs, transparent screwed-down case back, sapphire crystals. D. Black with applied white gold faceted baton and pyramidal indexes, subsidiary dials for the seconds and the 30-minute register, the days of the month, the 24 hours and the leap year, aperture for the days of the week, the months and the moon phases, outer 1/5 seconds/minute divisions. White gold baton hands. M. Cal. CH 27-70/155 Q, stamped with the Seal of Geneva quality mark, rhodiumplated, fausses cotes decoration, 24 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, Gyromax balance adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and 8 positions, shock absorber, selfcompensating free-sprung Breguet balance spring. Dial, case and movement signed. Diam. 36 mm. Thickness 13 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 2

Very good

Movement: 1*

As new

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 1-01

As new

HANDS Original


Ref. 3970 The Ref. 3970 is now considered a classic by collectors, following in the footsteps of its predecessors Ref. 1518, Ref. 2499, and Ref. 2499/100.
The Series: One can distinguish three series in the production of Ref. 3970. A ?series? is defi ned by variations in case designs or features, whereas dials are designated as being ?fi rst generation?, ?second generation?, and so on. As a general rule, the Ref. 3970 was produced in 18K white, rose, yellow gold, and platinum, with platinum being the rarest variation, therefore always the most sought-after. The fi rst series of Ref. 3970 featured the 36 mm. case with a snap-on case back. This particular model should be considered extremely rare since it was produced in fewer than 100 examples from 1986. The second series of Ref. 3970 also featured the 36 mm. case, but with a solid screwed back. After the second series, Patek Philippe introduced the Ref. 3971, similar in design to the 3970 but with a sapphire crystal display screwed back. The company also received many special order requests to make the 3970 with an additional sapphire crystal display screwed back. The third series is known as Ref. 3970E (E stands for étanche which means waterproof) and was housed in the same 36 mm. case. Because of numerous special order requests, Patek Philippe took the opportunity to supply the 3970E with both a solid gold screwed back and a sapphire crystal display screw back. This is probably the most common of the three series. The earliest examples of the fi rst series of Ref. 3970/2 with 36 mm. case featured a gold bracelet fi xed to the traditional case; subsequently an integrated bracelet was used. A small number of early Ref. 3970/2 watches were sold with a solid snap back. Such watches should be considered exceptionally rare. The remainder of Ref. 3970/2 will be encountered with the more common screw back. Finally, in the fi rst and second series, the watches were generally sold with tang buckles, whereas in the third series (Ref. 3970E), after 1997, a deployant buckle was added.
Dials: when Ref. 3970 was fi rst introduced, Patek Philippe would occasionally accommodate a special customer?s request to order a custom dial. This often took place after the sale was concluded and resulted in some interesting and extremely rare case/dial combinations. As time went on, it became increasingly rare for the company to accommodate requests for special dials. Consequently, any interesting or unusual dial variation can add tremendously to the value of the watch. The two generations of standard dials: The fi rst generation dial of these references was offered in two-tone silver (very subtle) with baton markers. Generally speaking, the printing is lighter on earlier dials, and the numbers on the date wheel feature a serif font. The dials may be described as satiné or opaline silver. The second generation dial is silver (not two-tone as in the fi rst generation) and features the same baton markers, but the font used on the dial will be slightly different, and the date wheel will be without serif. The third generation dial is silver, but with darker printing and triangular markers. The platinum and 18K white gold Ref. 3970s were also available with a black dial, and or diamond markers or white gold/ platinum indices (the latter being much rarer). There are a very small number of Ref. 3970s in 18K yellow gold with silver diamond-set dials; such watches are extremely rare. Patek is also known to have produced diamond dials in both salmon and white. Again, it is exceptionaly rare to fi nd a Ref. 3970 with a custom dial.
Hands: During production of the hands of the watch changed slightly, the earlier models (fi rst generation) having leaf hands, whereas later models (second generation) had baton hands. It is not known when this change took place. One extremely rare variation has been seen with luminous dauphine hands.
Movements: Ref. 3970 was fi tted with the 27-70 caliber throughout its entire production. Although there are no variations in the caliber itself, the number system did change during the mid 1990s, when it went from a six-digit serial number beginning with 875 to a seven digit serial number beginning with 304. In 2005, Reference 3970 was replaced by Reference 5970 in the Patek Philippe catalogue.