A Historic Lineage
This Patek Philippe 3796 is a direct descendant of the Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 96, a series which was first introduced in the 1930s. The Calatrava was the first model released after the manufacture was bought over by Charles and Henri Stern, with the intention of breathing new life into the 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, including in this charming “Rose on Rose” variation that features both a rose-gold case and a rose-gold dial.
The Ref. 3796 was in production between 1982 to 1999, representing the “neo-vintage” period that bridges the gap between vintage and modern timepieces. It also maintains the same size as the original Calatravas, as it is 30mm in diameter and has a thickness that is just under 7mm – which might be on the smaller side compared to today’s watches, but allows it to retain a certain vintage feel and aesthetic that's all but lost in contemporary watchmaking.
"Rose on Rose"
While the origins and use of rose gold are disputed, most agree that it gained popularity in the 19th century, when Carl Fabergé used it to craft magnificent pieces of jewellery. Rose gold is essentially a combination of copper and gold in varying ratios depending on the desired shade the maker wants to achieve. Since the 19th century, the use of rose gold has only grown, and it became particularly popular during the 1920s, a time when experimental forms of luxury began to emerge.
Today, we see that the combination of a rose-gold case and a rose-gold dial is a rare choice that gives the watch a more classically vintage look, almost reminiscent of the watch’s origins in the Art Deco era.
The dial is a shade of rose-gold that blends into the similarly coloured case, creating the illusion that there is little to no separation between the watch dial and its case, while the matching dauphine-shaped hands create a sense of depth on the face. Furthermore, the applied rose-gold baton indexes provide a contrasting texture that plays into the complexity of the piece.
This Ref. 3796 leans into the classic aesthetic embodied by Patek Philippe, taking many aesthetic cues from the manufacture's vintage pieces. Its pink-gold 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. This is further amplified by the contrast between the polished lugs that frame the dial.
The dial of this Ref. 3796 also features an outer minute division as well as a sub-dial indicating the seconds, while the crown is signed with a Calatrava Cross. Additionally, it also features the “σ SWISS MADE σ” signature at the bottom of the dial. The “σ” symbol, for sigma in Greek, was used as a visual declaration of the use of precious materials on the dial and to signify a high-quality mechanical watch.
Compared to the original Ref. 96, there is a slight change to the font used on the Ref. 3796’s face – where the brand’s earlier pieces usually have an accent on the "è" of "Genève,” they have been lost on the more recent pieces, resulting in the current “Patek Philippe Geneve,” which provides a slightly more modern juxtaposition to the vintage colouring of the watch.
This ref. 3796 is powered by a cal. 295 movement, with a straight-line lever escapement, Gyromax balance, and 18 jewels. 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 3796 comes with its original, vintage-inspired rectangular box and is also accompanied by a Certificate of Origin, enclosed within a small Patek Philippe leather document holder. Further documents are included, such as an official distributor booklet, and an instruction manual for the watch.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Patek Philippe 3796 will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.