A Historic Lineage
First introduced in 1932, the Calatrava reference 96 was one of the earliest wristwatches ever released by Patek Philippe. The manufacture had just been purchased by Charles and Henri Stern, and this was the first model they released, with the intention of breathing a new life into the Genevan brand. Looking back, this original design is considered by many as the ultimate blueprint for a time-only dress watch. Since its inception, the Calatrava has taken on many different forms, with some of the vintage configurations having become particularly sought after by collectors.
The Patek Philippe ref. 3923 was in production between 1986 and 1999, recreating the lines of the original ref. 96, from half a century earlier. The standard production model was available in yellow and rose gold. However, Patek Philippe also produced a handful of pieces in stainless steel, exclusively for the Japanese market. It is believed that this was done at the request of Isshin Tokei Co. Ltd., one of the brand's retailers in Tokyo.
This Patek Philippe 3923 leans into the classic aesthetic embodied by Patek Philippe, taking many aesthetics cues from the manufacture's vintage pieces. Its silver dial features subtle vertical brushing throughout, which creates some interesting effects when the watch interacts with the light at different angles, whilst on the wrist. The applied hour indexes are made out of white gold, with multiple facets, which complement the style of the hour, minutes and seconds hand.
The "Patek Philippe Genève" signature features subtle serif details, which have now been lost on current pieces from the manufacture, further imbuing this piece with a distinctive "neo-vintage" aesthetic. In particular, the accent on the "è" of "Genève" is a feature most attributed to the brand's earliest pieces.
The stainless steel case features an amorphous shape, with a stepped bezel and curved lugs, reminiscent of those found on some vintage pieces. At 31.5mm in diameter, with 37mm lug to lug, the proportions of the Calatrava are perfectly balanced, helping it fulfil its role as a classic dress watch. The curved lugs, as well as the relatively large 17mm lug width, help the watch feel larger on the wrist than its dimensions would otherwise suggest. With a thickness just under 7mm, it also hugs the wrist, in a way that is both comfortable and elegant. The caseback features a circular engraving.
This Patek Philippe 3923 is powered by the manual-winding caliber 215 PS, which beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and offers a 44-hour power reserve. The movement is subtly finished, with chamfering on some of the angles, as well as polishing and decoration, in the form of Geneva striping.
This movement carries the Geneva Seal, which is unique in its accreditation as it focuses on the art of decorating a movement with finesse and skill, in the style of Genevan watchmaking.
This Patek Philippe ref. 3923 is accompanied by an Extract from the Archives, which confirms that the watch was manufactured in 1987, and sold in February of the same year. It comes on one of our taupe grained calfskin straps, and is also accompanied by a red Patek Philippe alligator strap and stainless steel Patek Philippe buckle.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Patek Philippe 3923 will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.