Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 2002
    Reference No: 3970EP
    Movement No: 3'046'502
    Case No: 4'131'135
    Material: Platinum
    Calibre: Manual, cal. CH 27-70 Q, 24 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Alligator
    Clasp/Buckle: Platinum Patek Philippe deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin dated June 19th, 2002, solid caseback, leather wallet, product literature, Patek Philippe fitted box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Some watches seem to have long been an object of admiration by collectors – pieces that are admired by the old guard and new wave alike, with the Patek Philippe reference 3970 is one of them. Replacing the legendary reference 2499, the reference 3970 was launched in 1986 with a new, modified Lemania-based ébauche as opposed to the previous Valjoux movement. While maintaining the signature aesthetics found in both reference 1518 and 2499, the reference 3970 also included a leap year and 24-hour indication for the first time. The reference was produced in yellow gold, pink gold, white gold and platinum across a total of four series with production spanning over 19 years, until 2004. It is estimated that throughout its course of production over 4,000 examples of the reference were produced.

    -First series (1986 – 1988) – Features a snap back case, feuille hands and rectangular indexes. Only produced in yellow gold with an estimated 100 examples produced.
    -Second series (1987 – 1990) – Features a solid screw back case “E – Etanche”, feuille hands and baton indexes with the hallmarks stamped on the outside of the lugs. Produced in all four case materials with an estimated 450 examples produced across all metals.
    -Third series (1989 – 1995) – Features a solid screw back case “E – Etanche” with an extra sapphire caseback, baton hands and lapidated indexes. Estimated 1,350 examples produced across all metals.
    -Fourth series (1994 – 2004) – Same configuration as the third series however the is a change in serial number ranges in the movement and case and from 1997 onwards it features deployant clasp. Estimated 2,000 examples produced across all four metals. (The present example)

    Manufactured in 2002, the present lot is part of the 4th series with an additional solid caseback and a seven-digit movement and case number. Fresh to the auction market, the present lot is a superb example of Patek Philippe’s famous reference 3970, and amongst the finest examples one could hope to acquire. It should be noted that while the watch is currently mounted with a silver dial, the Certificate of Origin states a black dial - most probably a mistake made at the manufacture during the point of sale, or a change upon special request from the owner.

  • 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. 3970EP
A rare, elegant and well-preserved platinum perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with leap year indicator, additional caseback, certificate of origin and presentation box

36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF70,000 - 140,000 

Sold for CHF114,300

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