It has pure-blood DNA, but it never seems to stand out on time. Should it be changed?
I don’t remember the first time I saw a reference to a Patek Philippe 3970, but I remember a number one that left a deep impression.
For me, the attraction is always there. It is considered to be one of Patek Philippe’s last great designs and is quite complicated. The aesthetics are there, the size is there, the movement is there-it has all the components of a collector’s watch, but for some reason, the result is always a bit soft and tedious. Therefore, I set out to really decompose this watch to see its full meaning. Let’s dive in.
What is reference 3970?
Reference number 3970 was born in 1986 (if I can also say that, this is a good year of birth). It must be remembered that the 1980s were a weird era for mechanical watches. Quartz movement shocked people, people just don’t care about complicated watches. In fact, even the chronograph is not popular. All the same. Therefore, when the 39.7 million perpetual calendar chronograph came out in 1986, it was not easy for retailers to move. John Reardon, the person in charge of Christie’s watches and an authority on all things Patek Philippe (he actually wrote a book, plural), the retailer didn’t even want to take them from Patek Philippe because They are too difficult to sell. But before we dive into the popularity and price of these watches, you need to understand the exact meaning of 3970.
3970 is the perpetual calendar chronograph, the successor to the iconic 2499 produced from 1499 to 1986. Prior to this, reference number 1518 occupied Patek Philippe’s “Perpetual Calendar Chronograph” title. In fact, 1518 is the first mass-produced perpetual calendar chronograph, and it is a true symbol of the watchmaking industry of the 20th century.
3970 is made of white gold, gold and rose gold, and platinum. The size of the case itself is 36mm, which is 1.5mm smaller than the 2499 case. Reducing the size is an interesting move by Patek Philippe. It has a traditional dial display and three auxiliary dials: leap year display and chronograph 30-minute accumulation (three o’clock), moon phase and date (six o’clock), and chronograph 12-hour accumulation and running seconds (nine O’clock). ). There are two apertures for each month of the week and 12 o’clock every month, and the traditional round chronograph buttons are located on both sides of the crown. Overall, this is Patek Philippe’s logo and represents the brand’s transition period, as it is a modern work released after the greats of the post-wine era such as 1518 and 2499, both of which have reached the status of the Holy Grail. it’
At the center of the 3970 is the movement – movement CH 27-70 Q. This movement is the first non-Valjoux-based movement that Patek Philippe has ever used in a chronograph. Instead, it is based on Lemania 2310, which is also the basis of the 321 movement that was loved by early Omega Speedmasters. This hand-wound movement has a 60-hour power reserve and was later used in the 5970 and 5004 (with additional needle-retrieving function). This is a beautiful and reliable movement that is still used in the entire series of 3970 and is still used in some very special components today, such as Vacheron Constantin’s Cornes de Vache. The finishing of this caliber is excellent-of course, it is done by hand. CH 27-70 Q is one of the best movements in the world at the time of production and represents a way of doing things in Geneva.
One, two, three, four series
As I mentioned earlier, 3970 was born in 1986 and was produced until 2004. For modern Patek Philippe fake, this is not a trivial time. The reference is divided into four series, each series is slightly different, some less than others. The details of the changes are all aesthetic and can be found on the pointer, index and bottom cover.
The first series (1986)
Only 100 first batches of works have been produced, so it is the rarest work in the series (except for 3971). The first series is defined by a silver-plated dial, a feuille (or leaf) pointer, a stick index and a slightly colored sub-dial. In addition, it has a sturdy snap-type back cover, and all are made of pure gold-all made in 1986. In addition, there is a pair of watches that can be paired with a bracelet (#swoon), for which the reference number is followed by -1. Both 3970 and 3971 apply.
Reference 3971 (1986)
In 1986, there was another reference number – 3971 beside 3970. The reference number is the same as the 3970 series, with finger pointers, stick-shaped indexes and small dials of different colors, but the reference number has a snap-on sapphire crystal back cover. The watch was produced together with the first and second series, but has since been discontinued. There were fewer than 300 references in 3971, which made it extremely difficult to find. With this snap-on sapphire crystal back cover, can you really blame anyone for this?
The second series (1987-1990)
The second series was produced from 1986 to 1991 and was produced in gold, rose gold and white gold, and some was also produced in platinum. Technically, due to the sturdy screw-in bottom cover, it is called 3970E (E = étanche, also known as waterproof). A total of about 650 pieces (3970 and 3971) were produced, of which platinum is the rarest (only six examples are known today). The difference between the watch itself and the first series lies in two points: the color of the small dial is the same as the color of the dial, and the bottom cover is a sturdy screw-in version. Customers can choose to order additional sapphire screw-in bottom covers, but this is rare. The Foye pointers and stick pointers remain unchanged. It should be noted that these cases were hand-finished until 1990, which made the first and second series more need to be collected.
The third series (1990-1995)
The third series, 3970, was when things started to transition to more production quantities. From 1989 to around 1995, it was made from all four metals and produced a total of 1,350 pieces. The main difference here is that the watch is equipped with a solid-state and sapphire crystal screw-in case, a sharp baton pointer and a baton pointer, not a leaf pointer. In addition, the dial is bright silver and the printing is heavier, making it more dynamic. Since this is the most common 3970, it is usually the cheapest and the fourth series runs at the same time.
The fourth series (1995-2004)
The fourth and final series were produced from 1994 to 2004, and are exactly the same as the third series, but with a new serial number range, and with a deployment buckle. This is the last round and has the least collection value.
The 3970 has been in production for more than 20 years and is still one of the more sought-after complex reference products at the end of its life cycle. The reference was interrupted by 5020, which introduced the QP chronograph function in the cushion-type case (not my favorite, nor anyone else’s). The 3970 was eventually followed by 5970 in 2004, and then 5270 in 2011. Of course, the 5970 uses the same movement as the 3970, but its updated case size and clean dial, plus limited production, make it Become a more desirable watch for most collectors.
But is the 3970 collectible?
Okay, so when I start writing this article, I believe that I will encounter some crazy discoveries that this watch is the next watch collection to stumble. However, after spending a lot of time, I realized that the beauty of this watch is not that it has any superstar status. On the contrary, actually. Although your average price is 3970, depending on the metal and the series, these unique items are still the most collected. Special Edition 3970
One thing to remember about vintage watches is that as long as you have a special dial or configuration, it will become more valuable (yes, the obvious statement, but it must be said). The 3970 is no different and can be found in many different versions. One of the latest models to be auctioned is this platinum 3970 with a black dial and treasure gue numerals (say what?). This watch is “may be unique” (not all), and it also comes with a speedometer scale “insert Eric Wind screaming emoji here”.
Similar to the best replica watches above is Eric Clapton’s white gold 3970 with a salmon dial, treasure gue numerals and tachymeter scale. Obviously, this watch is important for several reasons: it is a Clapton watch; it has a unique salmon dial with treasure gue numerals on it.
For this novel product, this is a pretty good price, but since it is the first product in the gold series, the price is weaker than Phillips’ platinum special dial 3970. Obviously, the unusual dial ace is like the first serial number, but it is still not that strong. I would say that although a special dial is always the most desired, there is still some inherent coolness and hope in rare products. 3970s. In order to make the dial distinctive, special dials are commissioned by big names. The early 3970 with rebates was an extremely rare special watch that produced only 100 watches. Relatively speaking, it does feel retro, and the price is not expensive. Then, you will get the second white metal series watch-try to find one.
The watch above is the second series of platinum 3970, which is one of less than ten known series. It was made in 1990 with a white moon, white hands and a calendar in Italian. That’s a cool watch, it’s about the same as platinum 2499, just like you would find in millions of dollars. Several other variants of the 3970 are more collectable than others: those with Arabic numeral dials, la 5004 cases, and those that pair a white metal case with a black, stick-shaped dial (instead of the diamond-marked black dial logo With) watches) will always attract demand. As for your regular model, the silver dial 3970 of the higher series? Financially, I am not sure about the future.
What about the 3970 collectibles? For me, I think yes, but in a different way than you expect. This is an elegant and complex Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar chronograph, which still gives you the feeling that you are wearing something special (as it is), without having to spend more than 6 digits (for 1% of people) That said, this is still a very rare thing, not to mention other human beings. The 3970 is an excellent watch, maybe even an excellent watch. If Patek Philippe further restricts its production, it may even be a holy grail.
It’s ok! The 3970 still managed to play all the correct notes: this is an old Swiss-made pocket watch with an ébauche movement, and the price is only half of the modern 5270. Over the years, it has also maintained its value.
All in all, the 3970 is an excellent mechanical device that can look good on the wrist and wear well at 36mm. It represents a transition period in which the Patek Philippe of the 1980s became the Patek Philippe we know today. The value has remained the same, which is very rare for any watch, although people like to tell the story of how much money they have made in the watch collection. One thing I want to pay attention to is that watches produced in the 90s are 30 years old (I know this is terrible), if you check other watches from the 90s and other collectibles during this period (cars, Artwork, furniture), expect the rise will be crazy.
I’m not saying that you should run out and buy all the replica watch sale from the 1990s, but this is the 3970 consideration. If you want a complicated Patek Philippe, and you are looking for a smaller watch than 5970 or 5270, it may be time to take a closer look. In any case, 3970 will always have its fans and critics, it does not matter. However, if you buy the first (or last) large watch on the market, I will not overlook a good 3970 soon. Place 3970P next to 6239 Paul Newman and see which one hits you harder. My guess is that you will be surprised by the answer.