According to our research, Patek Philippe produced about 650 second series models in yellow, white, and pink gold, and platinum. Of this total number, only 60 pieces are said to have been manufactured in pink gold, with only 24 pieces known to the market today. Indeed, pink gold is the rarest case color across all the series of this reference, making the present lot a particularly rare find for collectors.
The model was created following the success of the exceptional and iconic Ref. 2499. One main difference between the two models 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 general design of the case of Ref. 3970/3970E, with its down turned, fluted lugs, is clearly influenced by the form of iconic Ref. 2499.
As the Ref. 3970 was extremely well received in the market, Patek Philippe began increasing its production run during its last years of production, making an early model such as the present lot more remarkable today.
This reference and caliber are illustrated in Huber, M. & Banbery, A., Patek Philippe Watches, Vol. 2, Second Edition, pp. 305.
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