3970EP | platinum
This 3970EP-033, with semi-gloss black dial, is a fine example of an haute horlogerie complication which has become almost synonymous with Patek Philippe: the perpetual calendar chronograph. Highly collectable and coveted, it is considered by many as the pinnacle of Patek Philippe’s watchmaking and design prowess. As a member of this iconic lineage, the 3970 was created in the mid-80s, at a time when perpetual calendar chronographs were scarce. With it, a standard for all modern perpetual calendars was established.
A Historic Lineage
In 1941, Patek Philippe released the first serially produced perpetual calendar with chronograph, the reference 1518. It was decades ahead of any other brand. It not only marked the beginning of perpetual calendar chronographs for the brand, but of serially produced complicated watches for Patek Philippe, and for the industry in general. The complication has been in Patek’s catalogue ever since.
More than 40 years on from the release of the original perpetual calendar chronograph, Patek Philippe released the ref. 3970, considered by many to mark Patek Philippe stepping into the modern era. At a time when complicated watches were scarce, this was an important statement of ability from the manufacture.
Following on from the iconic reference 2499, the 3970 was produced from 1986 to 2004, in four successive series. Sold in 2003, this example belongs to the fourth series, which scholarship suggests was produced in 2,000 examples, across all four metals (yellow gold, white gold, rose gold and platinum). This platinum Ref. 3970EP-033 is distinguished by its rare, semi-gloss black dial, only seen in a small number of examples.
The majority of platinum pieces were fitted with glossy black dials and diamond-set numerals, with fewer carrying the sword-shaped baton index markers seen in this example. Within those, even less come with semi-gloss dials. In fact, this 3970EP-033 corresponds closely with another recently sold example (within 5 movement numbers), also carrying the semi-gloss black dial. It is believed that this small number of semi-gloss black dials were produced around 2002 or 2003, though exact production numbers are unclear. Recent examples which have appeared publicly all exist within a narrow range of movement numbers.
Classical in design, this 3970EP features a 36mm platinum case, making it 1mm larger than the original 1518 and 1.5mm smaller than its predecessor, the 2499. Evidence suggests that Philippe Stern, CEO of Patek Philippe at the time, felt that this was the perfect size from an aesthetic perspective, and was also likely motivated by a desire to assert the manufacture’s expertise, by producing a complicated perpetual calendar chronograph in a smaller case size.
The dial on this fourth series 3970EP respects the same key design principles as other Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronographs. It features a rare semi-gloss black dial, with white gold, pointed baton indexes. You will find the day and month in apertures at 12 o’clock, the date with moon phase at 6 o’clock, a 30-minute counter for the chronograph and leap year indicator at 3 o’clock, and seconds and day/night indicators at 9 o’clock. This fourth series features baton hands, setting it apart from the leaf hands used in the first and second series. Overall, the design is balanced and restrained, carrying on the standard for perpetual calendar chronographs set by the manufacture.
Powered by the caliber CH 27-70 Q, the 3970 marked Patek Philippe's transition from a Valjoux-based movement to the venerable Lemania 2310 ébauche. Modified and decorated to Patek Philippe's standards and with an added perpetual calendar module, this reliable base movement remained in use for the entire lineage of the 3970.
Aesthetically, the new caliber is finished to the highest standards. The movement features exquisite chamfering on all angles, polishing and decoration, in the form of Geneva striping. To the wearer's delight, the movement is visble through the sapphire snap-on sapphire crystal caseback.
This Patek Philippe ref. 3970EP-033 comes as full-set, with its original box, Certificate of Origin, leather wallet, brochure, an additional platinum screw back and setting pin.
It comes on one of our Zürich taupe grained calfskin straps, and is also accompanied by its original Patek Philippe black alligator strap and platinum deployant clasp.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.
|Model:||Perpetual Calendar Ref. 3970EP-033|
|Movement:||manual winding - caliber CH 27-70 Q|
|Functions:||perpetual calendar: leap year indicator, month, date, day, moonphase, day/night indicator, hours, minutes, centre seconds, chronograph|
|Features:||semi-gloss black dial, display back, deployant clasp|
|Crystal:||sapphire front and back (with additional platinum screw back)|
|Strap:||Zürich taupe grained strap, Patek Philippe black alligator strap and platinum deployant clasp.|
|Box & papers:||original box, original Certificate of Origin, leather wallet, brochure, additional platinum screw back and setting pin.|
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