Patek Philippe 3970EG '2nd Series, Big Hallmark'

Museum Piece
The rarest second-series 3970's are the white gold ones, but how many of those have a "Big hallmark"? Well, it turns out; at least one.

The rarest second-series 3970's are the white gold ones, but how many of those have a "Big hallmark"? Well, it turns out; at least one.

There are just very few models from the top brands that remain ‘underrated’ and it’s always interesting how one can argue that a specific model deserves more credit, whilst someone else doesn’t necessarily grasps the historical importance of it. Furthermore, it might be hard to convince somebody, let alone a regular non-watch geek, that a watch over 100K is undervalued.

Starting off with the case. We specifically mentioned 3970E, where the letter stands for the French word “Etanche” which means: waterproof. Yet the first 100 pieces that left the factory had a Snap-On case back and thus are not 3970E but merely 3970. From the 2nd series onwards, they fitted the 3970 with a screw-down case back and by doing so they finally accomplished the production of a waterproof Grand Complication. The 2nd series were factory fitted with a solid case back.

The three-piece head itself is quite thick and sports a concave bezel. The side of the case features 4 correctors to set the different calendric features. The pushers are round and have a traditional placement at the 2 and 4 o’clock position. The crown is ribbed, to improve grip, and is adorned with the Calatrava cross. All remaining in perfect condition.

The absolute rarest metal for this series is white gold and thus we are exceptionally thrilled to offer this specimen. The alloy is proudly displayed with a "big hallmark". Jasper Lijfering was quoted in the 3970 article from "A Collected Man" about this stamp: "It says 750 on the lower left lug and it’s just so eminent and prominent. You can really see it with your naked eye. Normally hallmarks don’t really change the design, but with this it really does. It’s inside a square and it’s so unlike Patek Philippe that I think it’s going to be, in the near future, a huge plus." We have yet to find another 2nd Series in white gold with this coveted feature.

Few things are closer to perfection than the dial lay-out of the 3970. Surrounded by an open minute track we can find a lot going on in the center of the dial to display all the different functions, yet it remains a delight for the eye. Above the brand-name one can read the day and month in faceted apertures. The sub-dials at 3 and 9 are also lowered. The last mentioned featuring a chrono-minute counter as well as the leap-year indication. On the opposite part of the dial is the decentral seconds and 24-hour indication. Last but not least: the moon phase and date at the bottom. The 2nd series feature baton markers and leaf hands. The text color is contrasting the opaline dial and a lovely classic font is used. The numbers are all Arabic.

Regarding the movement; you’d probably expected the utmost quality for their flagship Grand Complication. Spot-on with the CH27-70Q, a Lemania based caliber. Obviously this Ebauche was modified, for example the addition of the perpetual calendar module, and finished plus decorated to the liking of the Patek artisans. Making it not only reliable but mouthwatering to look at as well. Pay attention to the exquisite chamfering and the Geneva stripes on the surface.

This complicated marvel dates back to 1991 but just received a complete overhaul at the Salon on Rue de Rhone. In addition it is supplied with the extract of the archive and an original black crocodile strap with original, matching-metal buckle.