Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XII Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 2001
    Reference No: 3974
    Movement No: 1'906'113
    Case No: 4'129'601
    Material: Platinum
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. R27Q, 39 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Platinum Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed by maker, case further signed by casemaker
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin and Guarantee dated January 29, 2004 and stamped by Patek Philippe Salon Geneva, additional black dial with Breguet numerals, second solid caseback, numbered sale tag, setting pin, leather document holder, massive wooden presentation box and outer packaging. Furthermore delivered with Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of this watch with two dials - a white opaline one with white gold indexes, and an additional black one with Breguet numerals - in 2001 and its subsequent sale on January 29, 2004

  • Catalogue Essay

    Patek Philippe’s reference 3974 is the epitome of the famed brand’s technical and design prowess of the late 20th century.

    Created under the guidance of Philippe Stern, this reference was launched in 1989 to celebrate Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary. Featuring an in-house self-winding movement with minute repeater, perpetual calendar, 24-hour indication and phases of the moon, it was the world’s most complicated wristwatch when it was launched.

    The movement beating in the heart of this masterpiece is Patek Philippe’s caliber 27RQ, a 6.80mm thick movement comprised of 467 components. Another surprising feature is the micro-rotor, which provides an unobtrusive view into the superbly finished movement. Reference 3974 was the first automatic winding minute repeater ever made.

    This ultra-complex mechanism is housed in a case whose downturned stepped lugs are reminiscent of another of Patek Philippe’s iconic timepieces: the perpetual calendar chronograph reference 2499. Patek Philippe turned to Jean-Pierre Hagmann, a living legend among case makers, to create a case that would not only be a beautiful frame for the watch but could also act as a superb sound carrier for the repeater’s delicate chimes. Some of these Hagmann-cased masterpieces - such as the present one - actually bear the JHP stamp of the casemaker, a subtle detail which is not present on all examples. The JHP stamp is also present to the inside of the solid caseback, highlighting the pride this legendary craftsman took in his job.

    Patek Philippe discontinued this reference in 2000 - making this one of the very last examples produced - and given how complex it was to manufacture, very few examples were made over its 11-year production period. In fact, the present example is only the eighth known in platinum, and the overall production of platinum 3974 is thought to be less than a dozen examples.

    Platinum is a metal known to dampen the sound of chimes in a repeating watch, however thanks to Patek Philippe’s technical expertise and Hagmann’s savoir faire, the 3974 in platinum chimes with surprising clarity and volume.

    Any platinum 3974 can be considered an absolute grail, sitting at the very top of any Patek Philippe collector’s wish list. The present example, however, sets the bar even higher as it is a special order, fully documented by the Extract; the watch was originally sold with two, very different dials: one with white baton indexes, the other black with Breguet numerals. Given how rarely Patek Philippe grants special requests - especially on timepieces of this importance and exclusivity - one can rest assured that the original owner was one of the most distinguished and affluent clients of the brand.

    In fact, according to our understanding, this is the last 3974 example made, any case material. It was delivered to a VIP customer in January 2004, 3 years after the production of the last movements for the reference (2001, the year of production of this movement). Apparently, when the company realised this special order piece, they employed this extremely late production movement, “sacrificing” it to the cause and completely closing the production of the reference.

    The presence of all the accessories, including the numbered sale tag, is the final icing on this superlative cake.

  • 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. 3974
A very important, extremely rare and highly attractive platinum automatic perpetual calendar minute repeating wristwatch with moonphases, 24 hours indication, original additional dial, Certificate and box

36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed by maker, case further signed by casemaker

CHF700,000 - 1,400,000 

Sold for CHF1,421,500

Contact Specialist

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

41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: XII

Geneva Auction 6 - 7 November 2020