• cal 27-70Q manual winding nickel lever movement stamped with the seal of Geneva, 24 jewels, free-sprung Gyromax balance, adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and eight positions • silvered dial, applied gold bullet and square indexes, apertures for day and month, three subsidiary dials, the first and the third engine-turned, indicating constant seconds combined with 24-hour indication, 30-minute register combined with leap year indicator and date combined with fan-form aperture for moon-phases • 18k yellow gold circular case, concave bezel, screw-down sapphire crystal display back • case, dial and movement signed • with an 18k yellow gold Patek Philippe deployant buckle
Accompanied by an Extract from the Archives confirming production in 1990 and sale on July 22nd of that year. Together with a setting pin, wooden presentation box and outer packaging.
Patek Philippe launched Ref. 3970 and Ref. 3971 in 1986. The latter model had the same complications and design, but featured a sapphire crystal display snap back rather than of a solid snap back.
After two years of production, the original design, sometimes referred to as the first series 3970, was modified to a screw-down case back for both solid backs and sapphire crystal backs. These water-resistant models were designated Ref. 3970E and Ref. 3971E, with the suffix indicating étanche, or waterproof. These pieces are known as the second series.
Patek Philippe ended production of the Ref. 3971E in 1990. The following series of Ref. 3970, known as the third series, would be sold with two case backs, one display and one solid case, thereby giving the client the option of interchanging them.
As the present model is a Ref. 3971E, it was sold only with its present screw-down display back.
Refs. 3970 and 3971 were created following the success of the exceptional and iconic Ref. 2499. One main difference between these models and their predecessors is the addition of the leap year indicator to the 3 o'clock subsidiary dial and 24-hour indicator to the 9 o'clock subsidiary dial. The design of the cases on these later models, with downturned, fluted lugs, is clearly influenced by the form of Ref. 2499. For an example of Ref. 2499, see lot 169 in this sale.
Ref. 3970 is illustrated in Huber, M. & Banbery, A., Patek Philippe Watches, Vol. II, Second Edition, p. 305.
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