I don’t recall the first occasion when that I saw a Patek Philippe reference 3970, however I do recollect one of the first, and it had a serious impression. It was 2014, and I had recently been elevated from Cataloger to Associate Specialist at Sotheby’s. There was a customer that I had worked with in the past who had dispatched some more modest pieces. He was in every case agreeable and warm, and he contacted me one day to say he was prepared to commit his 3970E in yellow gold. I anxiously looked for comps and concocted a gauge: $60,000-$80,000 with the save at the low gauge. The bartering before long drew nearer and, sadly, there was little interest in the watch. I hysterically considered the agent the night prior to the sale and brought the save down to guarantee really offering movement – obviously he was unsettled, and I got an earful (that is the way things are at a bartering house, as you may already know). The watch wound up selling for $68,000 all-in, and to say that the sender – and myself – were disillusioned would be putting it mildly. Right up ’til today, I consider this story at whatever point I know about a 3970. It hasn’t checked my adoration for the watch, yet I have consistently pondered: What’s up with the 3970, and for what reason does no one appear to think often about it?
The Patek Philippe reference 3970.
For me, the fascination has consistently been there. It’s viewed as one of the last incredible plans from Patek Philippe and is a genuinely complicated piece. The feel are there, the size is there, the development is there – it has all the makings of a gatherer’s watch, however for reasons unknown the outcomes are consistently somewhat delicate, somewhat dull. So I set out to truly separate this watch and to perceive what it’s about. We should burrow in.
What Is The Reference 3970?
The reference 3970 was brought into the world in 1986 (a decent birth year, on the off chance that I may say so myself). One should recall the 1980s were a peculiar time for mechanical watches. Quartz developments were shaking things up and individuals simply couldn’t have cared less about complicated watches. Indeed, even chronographs weren’t well known. Like, by any means. So when the 3970 unending schedule chronograph dropped in 1986, it was difficult for retailers to move. As indicated by John Reardon, Head of Watches at Christie’s and an expert on everything Patek Philippe (he in a real sense composed the books, plural), retailers would even not like to take them from Patek on the grounds that they were too difficult to even think about selling. Yet, before we get into the ubiquity and cost of these watches, you need to understand what the 3970 really is, altogether its different incarnations.
The Patek Philippe Reference 1518 in Steel
The vessel est of chalice watches may very well be the treated steel Patek Philippe 1518, an archetype of the 3970. Just four models are known and the latest one sold for over CHF 11 million. Peruse more about this epic watch in Ben’s profound plunge here .
The 3970 is an interminable schedule chronograph, and the replacement to the notable 2499, which was underway from 1951 until 1986. Earlier that that, the reference 1518 involved the proclaimed “interminable schedule chrono” title for Patek. Indeed, the 1518 was the primary sequentially created unending schedule chronograph generally speaking ( you can peruse more about it here ) and it’s a genuine symbol of 20th-century watchmaking.
The 3970 was delivered in white, yellow, and rose gold, just as platinum. The actual case estimates 36mm, which is 1.5mm more modest than that of the 2499. Scaling back was a fascinating proceed onward Patek’s part. It includes a customary dial show with three auxiliary dials: jump year sign and chronograph brief aggregator (at three o’clock), moonphase and date (six o’clock), and chronograph 12 hour aggregator and running seconds (nine o’clock). There are twin gaps for the day of the week and the month at 12 o’clock, and conventional round chronograph pushers flanking the crown. In general, it’s very Patek Philippe, and addresses a temporary time for the brand as an advanced piece delivered after post-vintage period greats, for example, the 1518 and the 2499, the two of which have arrived at vessel status. It’s significant that the 2499/100 was as yet underway well into the 1980s, so the 3970 was a decent, close development to that reference.
The first Patek Philippe interminable schedule chronograph in rose gold, steel, and yellow gold – the reference 1518.
At the focal point of the 3970 is its development – the caliber CH 27-70 Q. This caliber was the main non-Valjoux-based development Patek at any point utilized in a chronograph. All things being equal, it depended on the Lemania 2310, which was likewise the base of the darling caliber 321 development utilized in early Omega Speedmasters. This manual-winding development has a 60-hour power save, and was additionally utilized in the later 5970 and 5004 (with added rattrapante work). It’s a lovely and dependable development that stayed being used for the whole heredity of the 3970 is as yet utilized today in some uncommon pieces like Vacheron’s Cornes de Vache . The completing on this caliber is phenomenal – everything hand-done, obviously. The CH 27-70 Q was among the best developments on the planet at the hour of creation, and addresses a very Genevan method of doing things.
The caliber CH 27-70 Q
One, Two, Three, Four Series
As I referenced before, the 3970 was brought into the world in 1986 and was underway as far as possible up to 2004, which is certainly not an irrelevant measure of time for any Patek reference in the cutting edge age. The reference is separated into four arrangement and each changes somewhat, some more extraordinary than others. The subtleties that change are altogether tasteful and can be found in the hands, lists, and casebacks.
First Series (1986)
The first-since forever Patek Philippe reference 3970 unloaded at Antiquorum in 2015. (Photograph: graciousness of Antiquorum)
Only 100 first arrangement pieces were made, so it is the most extraordinary of the arrangement (except for the 3971). The principal arrangement was characterized by the silvered dial, feuille (or leaf) hands, stick lists, and somewhat unseemly sub-dials. Moreover, it has a strong snap-on caseback and all were created only in yellow gold – and all in 1986. Additionally, there are a couple that can be found with a wristband (#swoon), and for those the reference number is followed with a – 1. This applies to both the 3970 and the 3971.
The Reference 3971 (1986)
The Patek Philippe 3971 that had a place with Reginald “Pete” Fullerton.
The snap in plain view caseback that separated the 3971 from the 3970.
There was another reference conceived close by the 3970 of every 1986 – the 3971. This reference was actually equivalent to the primary arrangement 3970 with feuille hands, stick files, and distinctively hued sub-dials, anyway this reference includes a snap-on sapphire gem back. This watch was created close by the first and second arrangement, yet was suspended after. There are under 300 reference 3971s at any point made, making this a super-uncommon reference to discover. Also, with that snap-on sapphire gem caseback, can you truly censure anybody for needing this one?
A pamphlet for the 3971.
Second Series (1987-1990)
The second arrangement 3970ER with uniform dial and sub dials, stick files (my fave), and feuille hands. Not imagined: the strong screw-down caseback.
The second arrangement was created from 1986 to 1991 and was delivered in yellow, rose, and white gold, with a couple of made in platinum as well. Actually, it’s known as the 3970E (E = étanche, otherwise known as waterproof) because of the strong screw-down caseback. Around 650 (3970 and 3971) were made altogether, with white gold being the most uncommon (there just six models known today). The actual watch is separated from the main arrangement by two things: the sub-dials are a similar tone as the dial, and the caseback is a strong screw-down variant. There was the choice for customers to arrange an extra sapphire screw-down caseback, yet this is uncommon. The feuille hands and the stick records continue as before, and it ought to be noticed that the cases were hand-wrapped up until 1990, making the first and second arrangement more attractive to gather, and by a lot.
A second arrangement 3970EP with the strong screw-down caseback.
Third Series (1990-1995)
A third arrangement 3970 with pointed files and pointed mallet hands.
The third arrangement 3970 is when things began to progress to marginally more various creation. It was produced using 1989 to around 1995 altogether four metals, with around 1,350 absolute pieces delivered. The significant contrasts here are that the watch accompanied both strong and sapphire gem screw-back cases, pointed stick lists, and rod hands rather than the leaf hands. Furthermore, the dial is splendid silver and the printing is heavier, making it a more lively piece. Since this is the most common 3970, it is regularly the most affordable, with the fourth arrangement running close by it.
Fourth Series (1995-2004)
The fourth and last arrangement was delivered from around 1994 to 2004 and was actually equivalent to the third arrangement yet with another chronic number reach, and accompanied a deployant fasten. Around 2,000 pieces were made and altogether four metals. It was the last run and is the least collectible.
This is a fourth arrangement 3970EP from 2002 and is essentially equivalent to the third arrangement with pointed stick lists and hands with sapphire screw-down caseback.
The screw down sapphire caseback flaunting the caliber CH 27-70 Q.
The 3970 was underway for more than 20 years and stayed one of the more pursued complicated references before the finish of its life cycle. The reference was hindered by the 5020, which presented the QP chronograph complication in a pad structure case (not my fave, nor was it anybody else’s). The 3970 was at last followed up by the 5970 out of 2004 and afterward the 5270 out of 2011. The 5970, obviously, utilizes precisely the same caliber as the 3970, yet its refreshed case size and clean dial, combined with restricted creation, make it an undeniably more alluring watch for most collectors.
Be that as it may, Is The 3970 Collectible?
Okay, so when I set out to compose this article, I was persuaded that I would unearth some crazy finding that this watch is the next watch to gather. Nonetheless, subsequent to investing a great deal of energy with it, I understood the magnificence of this watch isn’t that it has any sort of genius status. A remarkable inverse, really. While the costs for the your normal 3970 territory from around $70,000-$200,000 relying upon metal and arrangement, the special pieces are as yet the most collectible. Here are a portion of the highlights.
The thing to recollect about vintage watches is that any time you have an extraordinary dial or design, it will be more important (indeed, clear proclamation, however it should have been said). This is the same for the 3970, which can be found in a wide range of varieties. One of the later ones to come up at closeout is this platinum 3970 with dark dial and Breguet numerals (say what?). This watch is “conceivably one of a kind” (aren’t they all) and furthermore flaunts a tachymeter scale <insert Eric Wind shout emoticon here>. This watch is assessed to sell for CHF 200,000-400,000 and is coming available to be purchased at Phillips not long from now, so stay tuned for a report on that.
A conceivably remarkable Patek Philippe 3970P.
Similar to the above watch is Eric Clapton’s 3970 in white gold with a salmon dial, Breguet numerals, and a tachymeter scale. Clearly, this watch is critical for a couple of reasons: it’s Clapton’s; and it has an extraordinary salmon dial with Breguet numerals. The most intriguing thing about this watch is that it out-played out Clapton’s 5004 that sold in a similar accurate deal by $50,000, with the 3970 selling for $459,000 and the 5004 selling for $405,000. You can peruse more about this watch here .
Eric Clapton’s 3970. (Image: civility of Phillips)
Also sold openly was the absolute first Patek Philippe 3970 at any point created, which acquired over CHF 200,000 at Antiquorum in 2015. Clearly, this was a genuinely decent cost for such a curiosity, yet since it is a yellow gold first arrangement, the cost is more vulnerable than, say, the extraordinary dial 3970 in platinum coming up at Phillips. Plainly surprising dials trump something like the main chronic number, however it’s still not that strong. I will say that while unique dials are consistently the best, there is a sure natural coolness and allure in uncommon production 3970s. Unique dials were commissioned by big cheeses for being extraordinary. A mid 3970 with snap back is a unimaginably uncommon and unique watch, and just 100 were made. It additionally feels genuinely vintage and isn’t that costly for what it is, moderately talking. At that point you have a white metal second arrangement watch – attempt to discover one. Seriously.
A unique second arrangement 3970EP.
This watch above is a second arrangement platinum 3970 – one of the less than 10 known. Also, it was made in 1990, with a white moon, white hands, and the schedule in Italian. That is a cool watch, and it’s probably as near a platinum 2499 as you will discover south of a huge number of dollars . There are a few different varieties of the 3970 that are more collectible than others: Those with Arabic numeral dials, a la the 5004, and those matching white metal cases with dark, stick dials (rather than precious stone markers, which was the standard for dark dial watches), will consistently draw interest. With respect to your regular, silver dial 3970 from a later arrangement? I don’t know how splendid that future is, monetarily speaking.
So is the 3970 collectible? As far as I might be concerned, I think it is, yet in an unexpected route in comparison to how you may anticipate. It is anything but a 1518, where you spend more than $350,000 for yellow gold model (the most un-uncommon), and it is anything but a 5004 that goes for more than $325,00 that you can take care of for exceptional events. Or maybe, it’s a rich complicated Patek Philippe interminable schedule chronograph that actually gives you the inclination that you are wearing something truly uncommon (on the grounds that you are) without spending above and beyond six figures (still an exceptionally uncommon thing for the 1% to do, not to mention the remainder of humankind). The 3970 is a decent watch, perhaps an incredible one. Also, if Patek had restricted its creation somewhat more, it may even be a vessel. However, that is not what occurred, and costs for generally yellow or rose gold watches actually sit underneath $100,000.
And that is alright! The 3970 actually figures out how to hit quite a few notes: It’s an old fashioned Swiss-made watch with a ébauche development at a large portion of the cost of its cutting edge partner, the 5270 . It has likewise held its incentive throughout the long term. As per Wempe New York, they sold a 3970R in 2002 for $76,200 and a 3970P for $87,900 – to put things in context, a 3970P presently sells for simply more than $110,000 , so they have gone up marginally in cost. The 3970R actually sells for about what it did at retail. Furthermore, this is a fourth arrangement; the first and second arrangement go for marginally more, a 3970P from 1991 sold for simply more than $125,000 at Phillips during the Paul Newman Daytona deal .
The most recent Patek Philippe 5270P with salmon dial retails for $187,110.
All in all, the 3970 is a phenomenal piece of hardware that the two looks great on the wrist and wears well at 36mm. It addresses a momentary period wherein the Patek Philippe of the 1980s turned into the Patek Philippe we know today. The worth has stayed about the equivalent, which is actually very uncommon for any watch, however individuals love to recount accounts of the amount they’ve made in watch gathering. I think one thing to note is that watches delivered during the ’90s are presently 30 years of age (startling, I know), and on the off chance that you inspect what’s going on with other ’90s watches, and different collectibles from this period (vehicles, workmanship, furniture), one wouldn’t be insane to expect an upswing.
I’m not saying you should run out and purchase all the watches from the 1990s, yet it is something to consider with respect to the 3970. On the off chance that a complicated Patek is your journey, and you’re searching for a more modest size than what’s found in the 5970 or 5270, it very well may be an ideal opportunity to investigate. Regardless, the 3970 will consistently have its fans and its doubters, and that is alright. However, I wouldn’t rush to disregard an incredible 3970 in case you’re on the lookout for your first (or last) enormous watch. Put on a 3970P close to a 6239 Paul Newman and see which hits you harder. My speculation is you’ll be amazed by the answer.