Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1999
    Reference No: 3970EG-018
    Movement No: 3'046'005
    Case No: 4'072'852
    Material: 18K white gold
    Calibre: Manual, cal. CH27-70/155 Q, 24 jewels, stamped with the Geneva Seal
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K white gold Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificat d'Origine stamped by Spanish retailer "Unión Suiza" and dated January 17, 2000, additional solid caseback, setting pin, product literature, leather document holder, fitted presentation box and outer packaging. Furthermore accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1999 and its subsequent sale on November 30, 1999.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Reference 3970 was the first Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph to feature leap year and 24-hour indicators - enormously improving its ease of setting. Unusually, and despite the more complex mechanism within, the reference 3970 represented the first drop in size in the perpetual calendar chronograph family: from 37.5mm of reference 2499 down to 36mm.

    The production can be divided into four series: the first series features a snap-on caseback, either solid (ref. 3970) or glazed (ref. 3971), with applied gold sword indexes and feuille hands. The second series features a screw-down caseback (also in this case available either solid or glazed) with the hallmarks stamped on the outside of the lugs. The third series - exemplified by the present watch - features a sapphire display back along with a screw-down solid caseback (as a consequence, glazed-back ref. 3971 is no more). The fourth series is identical to the 3rd series, but the movement numbering system changed.

    The reference was made in yellow, pink and white gold as well as in platinum, the present white gold variant already being the most uncommon among the four metals. The present specimen however compounds to the rarity of the white gold case with a baton indexes black dial.

    Most 3970s in white gold were originally born with silver, or “argenté”, dials and the few black dial examples usually feature diamond-set indexes. The present baton indexes example not only is enormously rare and collectible, but furthermore exudes a much more sportive and masculine vibe than it’s more “evening-oriented” diamond-set siblings.

    Fresh to the market, and with the coveted baton black dial confirmed on the original Certificate of Origin, only eleven examples of the model in this configuration have appeared on the market, making this never-before-seen timepiece the 12th one. The slight warmth of the white gold case paired with the sleek, inky black dial is an irresistible combination, only made more desirable by the remarkable honest overall condition of the watch and the presence of all the original accessories: not only the Certificate, but also the second back, setting pin and wooden box.

  • 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. 3970EG-018
An extraordinarily rare, elegant, and extremely well-preserved white gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with black dial, baton indexes, leap-year indicator, moon phases, additional back, certificate of origin and presentation box

36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF80,000 - 160,000 

Sold for CHF127,000

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