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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 2001
    Reference No: 3974G-001
    Movement No: 1’906’121
    Case No: 2’962’729
    Material: 18K white gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. R27Q, 39 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: Patek Philippe 18K white gold
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed. Additional caseback signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming date of manufacture in 2001 and its subsequent sale on November 30th, 2001. Additionally accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin confirming sale in Andorra, presentation box, leather folio, instruction manual, setting pin, additional caseback with blue sticker, hangtag, and product literature.
    Literature: Reference 3974 is illustrated in "Patek Philippe Wristwatches" by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition pp. 325

  • Catalogue Essay

    The reference 3974 from Patek Philippe epitomizes the brand’s technical and design prowess manifested in the late 20th and early 21st century. The execution of a perpetual calendar minute repeater is the litmus test for greatness in the horological field, and Patek Philippe has proved time and time again that they are incomparable in this regard.

    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 moon phases, it was the world’s most complicated wristwatch at the time.

    The movement beating in the heart of this masterpiece is Patek Philippe’s caliber 27RQ, an impressively thin movement measuring just 6.8mm, comprised of 467 components. Another surprising feature is the micro-rotor, which provides an unobtrusive view into the superbly finished movement. The historical reference 3974 additionally stands-out as the first automatic-winding, minute repeating watch ever made.

    While the case architecture is derived from the famed reference 2499, particularly the gracefully arched lugs when viewed in profile, there are some marked differences to allow for the slide mechanism and lack of chronograph pushers. Patek Philippe turned to Jean-Pierre Hagmann (whose initials are proudly stamped inside the solid caseback and inner lug), a living legend among case makers, to create a case that would not only be a beautiful vessel for the watch but could also act as a superb sound carrier for the repeater’s delicate chimes. These minute repeaters are known to be Monsieur Hagmann’s favorite creations for the brand, and the early examples with his initials are coveted by collectors. He began his career creating watch bracelets at Gay Frères and went on to create watch cases for the most illustrious Swiss brands – even creating the 26 cases for Patek Philippe’s Star Calibre 2000 in six weeks. The chimes in the present timepiece are crystal clear, perfectly-timed, loud, and extremely pleasant to the ear - thanks to Patek Philippe’s technical expertise and Hagmann’s savoir faire.

    Patek Philippe discontinued the 3974 in 2000, and given how complex it was to manufacture, very few examples were made over its 11-year production period. In fact, the present example in white gold is the rarest of all case metals and is only the fifth known, according to scholarship.

    Dating from 2001, this white gold reference 3974 is notable for its exceptional state of preservation and completeness. Never before offered to the public, it is in spectacular condition, with the shading for the day/night indication having deepened ever so slightly and the hallmarks strong and present. Presented with its original Certificate of Origin and second solid caseback, and setting pin, we are thrilled to bring this white gold 3974 to market for the very first time. It is, undoubtedly, a trophy piece for the world’s finest collections.

  • Maker 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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Σ10

Ref. 3974G-001
A highly important, incredibly rare, and exceptionally preserved white gold minute repeating perpetual calendar wristwatch with moonphases, additional caseback, Certificate of Origin, and presentation box

2001
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed. Additional caseback signed.

Estimate
$600,000 - 1,200,000 
CHF540,000-1,080,000
€505,000-1,010,000
HK$4,650,000-9,300,000

Sold for $1,022,200

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
[email protected]

RACING PULSE

New York Auction 12 December 2020