Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII Geneva Saturday, May 8, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1974
    Reference No: 3597/2
    Movement No: 8'277
    Case No: 2'741'770
    Model Name: Beta 21
    Material: 18K white gold
    Calibre: Electromechanical, Cal. Beta 21, 13 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Integrated 18K white gold Patek Philippe bracelet measuring 190mm max
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K white gold Patek Philippe folding clasp
    Dimensions: 43mm Width
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Japan service invoice dated July 30, 2020 and related material. Furthermore delivered with Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1974 and its subsequent sale on November 11, 1974.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The quartz crisis of the late 1960s and early 1970s brought profound change to the Swiss watchmaking industry as brands were forced to compete against low cost/high-accuracy battery-powered watches mass produced by Japanese brands. It’s well-known that Swiss brands worked to reinvent their offerings and marketing efforts, with Audemars Piguet introducing the Royal Oak in 1972, and Patek Philippe the Nautilus model in 1976 - both conceptually new watches aimed at a new, younger and more dynamic audience.

    However in the formative years of quartz technology, Patek Philippe along other brands including Rolex, Omega and Piaget, began to research quartz movements when they joined together to form the Centre Electronique Horloger (CEH) in 1962. Seeking to develop alternatives to mechanical movements with greater accuracy, the CEH first released the Beta-1 movement in 1966, with the ground breaking Beta-21 movement following in 1969, which delivered unprecedented accuracy of just five seconds deviation per month. The cooperating brands agreed to produce 6000 Beta-21 movements that would be shared amongst the group.

    Patek Philippe’s reference 3597 was introduced in 1973, the heir of the first Beta 21 model, ref. 3587. The present /2 version impresses the beholder with a remarkable 43mm width, a superbly opulent bracelet, and a geometric “TV-screen” design which can be considered the synthesis of 1970s luxury and glam. In fact, the important cost of the Beta21 movement prompted the manufacturer to create timepieces as luxurious as possible in order to justify the price tag (a trend that is apparent through most if not all the brands that produced Beta 21 watches). Furthermore, Patek Philippe added some of its suave elegance even to the inner workings of the watch: the frequency of the oscillator being reduced (through proprietary technology) to 256 hz, thus allowing more refined and silky motion of the seconds hand throughout the dial.

    In general, ref. 3597 appears to be an extremely rare bird, with about 20 examples known in total. However, it was available in 3 gold colors, and three different configurations are known: a leather strap version (3597), a milanese-style bracelet version (/1), and the present “drilled” bracelet (/2) (a third bracelet-style (/3) apparently exists but is not known from the market).

    The /2 white gold is in fact one of the scarcest variations of the model: this previously unknown example is only the third to ever resurface on the public market.

  • Artist Biography

    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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Ref. 3597/2
A very rare and massive white gold electromechanical wristwatch with center seconds, date, integrated bracelet and service invoice

43mm Width
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for CHF81,900

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724



The Geneva Watch Auction: XIII

Geneva Auction 8 - 9 May 2021