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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1990
    Reference No: 3974
    Movement No: 1'906'014
    Case No: 2'867'037
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 27RQ, 39 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k yellow gold Patek Philippe buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by original presentation box, Certificate of Origin, Duplicata Certificate of Origin, product literature, spare caseback, spare glass, and setting pin. Further accompanied by an Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1990 with black lacquered dial and raised Breguet numerals in gold and its sale on October 16, 1990.
    Literature: Reference 3974 is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p. 325.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The reference 3974 was launched in 1989 to celebrate Patek Philippe's 150th anniversary. A self-winding watch and featuring a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, 24-hour indication and phases of the moon, it was the world’s most complicated wristwatch when launched.

    The movement beating in the heart of this masterpiece is Patek’s caliber 27RQ comprised of 467 components and coming at in at a mere thickness of 6.80 mm. Another surprising feature is the micro-rotor not only providing an unobtrusive view into the superbly finished movement, but also making the reference 3974 the first automatic winding minute repeater ever made.

    The movement of the first reference 3974 bore number 1'906'000, the present lot with movement number 1’906’014 is thus the 15th model to be produced. Not only is it a very early example, but the watch is made extraordinary thanks to the special and possibly unique dial it was born with. Likely custom-ordered by a very important client, it is the only known version of this reference to feature the Calatrava cross under “Patek Philippe” at 12 o’clock. Other details, such as the black lacquer base of the dial, the italicized font used for the calendar indications, and the beautiful, applied gold Breguet numerals show extensive customization by Patek Philippe. Accordingly, the Certificate of Origin indicates the dial was made on special order, and fully describes the special features of the dial that make it unique.

    Reference 3974 was discontinued in 2000 and its complexity was such that very few were made within the 11 years it was in production. It was a milestone in the history of Grand Complication timepieces, already rare and avidly sought after in any version. The uniqueness of the dial, its pristine state of preservation, and the presence of its original box, papers, and certificates of origin, make this one of the most important examples of the reference to ever appear on the market. The present reference 3974 can certainly be considered a true masterpiece for the world’s finest collections.

  • Maker Bio

    Patek Philippe

    Swiss • 1839

    Since its founding in 1839, this famous Geneva-based firm has been surprising its clientele with superbly crafted timepieces fitted with watchmaking's most prestigious complications. Traditional and conservative designs are found across Patek Philippe's watches made throughout their history — the utmost in understated elegance.

    Well-known for the Graves Supercomplication — a highly complicated pocket watch that was the world’s most complicated watch for 50 years — this family-owned brand has earned a reputation of excellence around the world. Patek's complicated vintage watches hold the highest number of world records for results achieved at auction compared with any other brand. For collectors, key models include the reference 1518, the world's first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph, and its successor, the reference 2499. Other famous models include perpetual calendars such as the ref. 1526, ref. 3448 and 3450, chronographs such as the reference 130, 530 and 1463, as well as reference 1436 and 1563 split seconds chronographs. Patek is also well-known for their classically styled, time-only "Calatrava" dress watches, and the "Nautilus," an iconic luxury sports watch first introduced in 1976 as the reference 3700 that is still in production today.

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Σ160

Ref. 3974
A possibly unique, most attractive, and important yellow gold minute repeating perpetual calendar wristwatch with phases of the moon, black lacquer dial and applied Breguet numerals

1990
36mm. Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
CHF400,000 - 800,000 
€367,000-734,000
$412,000-824,000

sold for CHF1,181,000

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

The Geneva Watch Auction: THREE

Geneva Auction 15 May 2016