Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XV Geneva Saturday, May 7, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1978
    Reference No: 3700/1
    Movement No: 1'304'719
    Case No: 536'102
    Model Name: Nautilus "Jumbo"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 28-255C, 40 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Patek Philippe bracelet, max length 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Patek Philippe deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1978 and its subsequent sale on March 3, 1978

  • Catalogue Essay

    Serendipity can lead to amazing occurrences. The clearest example of this concept might be Fleming’s discovery of penicillin: he noticed that a lab culture coincidentally contaminated with a certain (penicillin-producing) mold would stop growing, and the first antibiotic was born.

    A similar story can be told about tropical dials: imperfect batches of paint employed on some dials eventually become unstable which leads to the dial changing colour, with sometimes - such as this instance - absolutely marvellous results.

    Words fall necessarily short when describing this copper-tropical dial: it simply has to be admired in person to appreciate the myriad hues it bestows on the beholder. We can only state with absolute certainty that the present watch is one of the most charismatic examples of reference 3700 to ever grace an auction room.
    Compounding to its stellar looks, the watch is furthermore a completely new discovery, absolutely unknown to the general public. In fact, it resided since the day of its original sale in the same family: after enjoying the watch for a few years, the original owner gifted him to his son in the 1980s. Since then, it remained in his possession and spent most of its time in a safe.

    The Nautilus reference 3700 was designed by Genta and introduced in 1976. It embodies every aspect of Patek Philippe's avant-garde design philosophy of the 1970s, from the bold yet elegant curves to the contrasting finish of the case, and even the delicate grooves of the dial culminating in a sublimely robust and elegant wristwatch. With this model, Patek Philippe created one of the most iconic and classic wristwatches of the late 20th century. It was a new era of luxury with the use of stainless steel for high-end watches, which today is the epitome of masculine appeal with a sporty appearance that can be worn in any occasion.

    Developed in the midst of the quartz crisis, the relentlessness to preserve haute horology and to execute something truly special commanding the price of a gold watch was most definitely a calculated risk taken by the firm, which clearly paid off. In fact advertisements from the launch era boast the fact that one of the most expensive watches in the world was made of steel.

    Taking inspiration from a porthole of a ship, the case is constructed via a solid monobloc backcase with a distinctive rounded octagonal bezel secured by four lateral screws to ensure waterproof capabilities of up to 120 meters.

    The production of the 3700 was segmented into two main series with early examples (1976-1982, featuring a slightly wider 16mm bracelet) stamped with ref. 3700/1 and later examples (1982-1990, narrower 14mm bracelet) stamped with 3700/11. The dials as well present an evolution: very first examples have small painted baton outer minute tracks, found in examples bearing a case number lower than 1’303’999 and a movement number lower than 533’500. The second dial type features a dotted outer minute track with “sigma SWISS sigma” applied on the bottom of the dial and an absence of serifs on the typography of the signature. The present example no 1’304’719 is thus one of the earliest representative of this latter dial version.

    As the dials for the reference were all handmade, the ribbed texture is achieved by carving each individual horizontal furrow by hand, the white gold applied hour markers were also handmade with the luminous material applied after.

    Phillips is proud to offer this incredibly attractive example of one of the most iconic and desired timepieces ever designed.

  • 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. 3700/1
An unusual and attractive stainless steel wristwatch with date, tropical dial and bracelet

40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF80,000 - 160,000 

Sold for CHF378,000

Contact Specialist

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

+41 22 317 81 81

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 22 317 96 63

The Geneva Watch Auction: XV

Geneva Auction 7 - 8 May 2022