Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1978
    Reference No: 3700/1
    Movement No: 1'305'975
    Case No: 552'216
    Model Name: Nautilus Platinum "Jumbo"
    Material: Platinum
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 28-255, 40 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Platinum Patek Philippe bracelet, max length 170mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Platinum Patek Philippe deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 42mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present timepiece in 1978 and its subsequent sale on February 21, 1983, further accompanied by Gübelin Extract from the Archives confirming retailer signature on the dial and date of sale by Gübelin on February 21, 1983.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Today, the story of the Nautilus is well known, repeated so many times that it has more or less become folklore and legend. Since its introduction more than 45 years ago, the Patek Philippe Nautilus completely altered the idea of a luxury sports watch in our collective consciousness, and truly revolutionized the landscape within the watch industry. The opus, drawn by the legendary Gérald Genta, was inspired by the porthole of a ship constructed via a solid mono-block case with octagonal bezel. A quick sketch became a truly timeless horological masterpiece that is now more popular than ever.

    Patek Philippe developed the model in the midst of the quartz crisis. The manufacture's relentlessness and pursuit of preserving haute horology was remarkable; to execute something truly special, commanding the price of a gold watch, was most definitely a calculated risk taken by the firm - one that 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.

    Few watches today have become as culturally significant as the Nautilus. It is not simply just any tool watch - it is the tool watch par excellence, embodying values such as luxury, glamour, exclusivity and access.

    Yet, of all Nautilus models ever produced, there is one iteration that is undisputedly the king of all examples, so rare that few can even boast of having held on in their hands. This is one such timepiece. The noblest of all Nautilus models, is undoubtedly the platinum reference 3700. Subtle, shimmering, heavy and imposing, the timepiece is understated yet absolutely commanding - when wearing one such timepiece, the phrase "if you know, you know" is particularly apt. To date, only two examples of the reference 3700 were known to be cased in platinum, making this example the third. Most interestingly, all known examples appear within a few case number digits, and each have their own dial and case configuration, leading one to believe that all platinum reference 3700s were special pieces, perhaps made upon special order.

    We know of the following two other examples:
    1. Movement number 1308349, case number 552218
    2. Movement number 1309828, case number 552214

    Adding to the rarity of the present piece is the Gübelin signature on the dial. Founded in 1855, Swiss retailer Gübelin is today known as the destination for exceptional jewelry, gemstone expertise, and the world's most luxurious watches. It was a rare honor for any retailer to have their name on a Patek Philippe watch, and this dial attests to Gübelin's prestige. This fact, coupled with the non-diamond bezel, makes the present watch absolutely singular in its appearance and is the only one known in this configuration.

    Fresh to the auction market, it has never seen an auction room in its lifetime. It was originally presented to the original owner as a gift from his father, and thus sold to the present consignor, making it a two-owner-since-new watch.

    Its condition is particularly noteworthy. This timepiece is an absolutely exceptional specimen and offered in excellent condition. Displaying completely crisp lines, curves, and finishes, it best demonstrates the genesis and factory specifications of the mythical reference. The bezel is overwhelmingly crisp and the bracelet is tight and rigid. All hallmarks are deep and crisp.

    To acquire a platinum reference 3700 is a dream for many collectors today. Yet, to discover one fresh to the auction market and preserved in such condition with a Gübelin signature, is positively unheard of. It is unimaginable when a white whale of watch collecting comes to the market, and it is with great certainty that another will not appear soon.

  • 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 exceedingly important and extremely well-preserved platinum wristwatch with date and bracelet, retailed by Gübelin

42mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF1,000,000 - 2,000,000 

Sold for CHF2,540,500

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Deputy Chairman, Watches, Head of Watches, Europe, and Middle East

+41 79 637 17 24

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 79 460 55 88


The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII

Geneva Auction 3 - 4 November 2023