Patek Philippe
Ref. 3597 | yellow gold

Beta 21

Regular price

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Patek Philippe
Ref. 3597 | yellow gold

Beta 21

Regular price

This Patek Philippe, Ref. 3597, is as bold and exuberant as it is historically significant. It is powered by the important Beta 21 movement, which was developed at a time of crisis for the Swiss watch industry, and is housed within a design which was unprecedented for Patek Philippe at the time. John Reardon of COLLECTABILITY, formerly from Christie’s, explains why he find this watch irresistible: 

"In the early 1970s, the quartz revolution was redefining the whole direction of horology. This particular watch to me represents that monumental shift, not only for the world of horology, but for Patek Philippe in particular. [...] It couldn’t be further from my preferred aesthetic, and for that reason I’m in love with the watch."

The quartz crisis of the late 1960s and early 1970s, fuelled by the development of inexpensive and accurate quartz movements from Japan, posed a heightened threat to traditional watchmaking. As a response, Patek Philippe and other manufacturers, including Rolex, Omega and Piaget, joined forces to form the Centre Electronique Horloger (CEH) in 1962, in order to research quartz movements. Seeking to develop more accurate alternatives to mechanical timepieces, the CEH’s research culminated in the development of the Beta 21 movement, which delivered unprecedented accuracy of just five seconds deviation per month.

Only 6,000 Beta 21 movements were ever produced and shared amongst the co-operating brands. Patek Philippe further altered the base movement, reducing the oscillation rate from 8192 Hz to 256 Hz, by means of a proprietary frequency reducer. The unique power plant jumps 256 times per second to create the impression of continuous motion, as the seconds hand smoothly glides across the dial.

The Ref. 3597 was introduced in 1973, having been preceded by the Ref. 3587, introduced in 1969, which was the first Patek Philippe reference to house a Beta 21 movement. This particular example was produced in 1974, and subsequently sold on 30th June, 1976.

From a design standpoint, the Ref. 3597 is a testament to Patek Philippe’s capacity to remain contemporary and relevant. Measuring an imposing 43mm in diameter, this reference was the largest diameter, serially-produced wristwatch ever made by Patek Philippe at the time. With its television-shaped design and absence of visibile lugs, the case exudes 1970s design, with this particular example retaining its brushed finish. The dial features a two-tone gold sunburst finish, date indication and distinct multi-facetted hour markers.

The bracelet, believed to have been made by a German jeweller specifically for Patek Philippe, is built with two layers of woven gold, in a pattern sometimes playfully referred to by collectors as “Swiss cheese”. The bracelet on the Ref. 3597 is removeable, which is unusual and rare, as the vast majority of Beta 21 watches produced had fixed bracelets.

Unashamedly a product of its time, the assertive design and often polarising effect of the Ref. 3597, only adds to its appeal and explains its cult following among collectors.

Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.
Brand: Patek Philippe
Model: Ref. 3597
Movement: Quartz - Beta 21
Functions: date, hours, minutes, centre seconds
Features: Beta 21 movement, removeable bracelet
Case: 43 mm yellow gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Bracelet: Patek Philippe yellow gold bracelet and Patek Philippe yellow gold buckle
Year: 1974
Box & papers: Extract from the Archives
This Patek Philippe Ref. 3597 is accompanied by an Extract from the Archives, confirming production of this watch (in 18K yellow gold) in 1974 and its subsequent sale on 30th June, 1976.

The case is well-preserved, with the brushed polish finish showing signs consistent with wear and and sharp hallmarks visible on the left-hand side of the case. The inner-case-back correctly displays the watch’s unique serial number (274 XXXX), as well as the reference number ‘3597'.

The dial is similarly well-preserved, with no signs of previous exposure to the elements (or intervention), with slight patina apparent on the hour markers.
The original date disk (photographed on the watch) has been replaced, due to a known fault with two of the teeth on the disk. The watch is fitted with an almost identical, period-correct replacement date disk - believed to be of Patek Philippe manufacture - with some small, subtle differences which distinguish the two. The original date disk is also supplied. Whilst the date works perfectly, when operated manually or changing automatically, the quick-set function is longer available via the crown.

The 13 jewels Beta 21 movement of this Ref. 3597 has been fitted with a new battery. It keeps excellent time and comes with a two-year warranty from A Collected Man.

All of our pre-owned watches have undergone thorough mechanical inspections, including being ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and resealed if appropriate and tested for at least four days, to ensure they meet our highest timekeeping standards. Our pre-owned and vintage watches, unless stated otherwise, are covered by a full or a limited twenty-four month warranty. For example, due to their age, some vintage watches should not be subjected to the same conditions as when they were new. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further information. 

All of our new watches are covered by the warranty from the original manufacturer. Please contact us for further information.

We offer complimentary worldwide delivery on our watches. If ordering from overseas, delivery will depend on the value of the timepiece and the destination. All import taxes and duties are the responsibility of the buyer.

If ordering from the UK before 1 PM, your watch will be sent the same working day. The courier will depend on the value of the watch, with all watches delivered the next working day.

Please note that pre-owned goods (in the United Kingdom) are subject to a marginal rate of VAT, which can not be reclaimed. For further information, please see here

You can cancel your order without giving any reason, within 14 days from the day the watch has been delivered to you.

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