Why Patek Philippe is Patek Phillipe? | VARIO
I have to say that I’ve never been a Patek Phillippe fan or enthusiast, for me Vacheron Constantin has always been the high horology brand to go to but recently I have been paying attention. If something good was brought with the Nautilus 5711 hype was that a lot of people (including me) started to pay attention to what Patek Phillipe is (not that it needed my support). Although many people stayed with the time and date steel sports integrated piece, I did start to investigate further. References were a mystery and my friends kindly (sometimes not so much) explained a bit on the brand. After having a little bit of digging and reading, I completely understood the Stern family decision to discontinue the Nautilus 5711 (even if is a marketing trick), this watch was stealing so much from Patek Philippe history that even if is a huge commercial success in the secondary market, it doesn’t justify the shadow that has created to one of the most prestigious brands any watch enthusiast can come across. My experiences with Patek Phillipe watches were very limited and the reason is that they do not have any model that really sparks my eye, there are some hidden gems like the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time (in 37mm) which I really enjoyed for a brief moment but at a price of 37K GBP wasn’t a match made in heaven, to be honest if the watch was half of the RRP the urge is still not there. This is until my latest obsession came afloat, the triple calendar. The triple calendar has always been on my head, and I’ve owned at least 2 models that house this complication but when I saw the 3970E I forgot everything I owned and everything I wanted to, this watch was special, very very special.
The Patek Philippe catalogue is not the friendliest of places to visit or at least for me but something was clear, the 3970e is/was under their grand complications range, and it makes sense, not only is a triple calendar, but is also a perpetual one with a chronograph, if you want to see how a spaghetti plate looks right after it comes out of the kitchen, well, you have to check this watch. Its delicious and also intriguing, people love how the depth of Lange’s Datograph looks but to each of its own, you can definitely show this back to anyone who is not a watch enthusiast, and they will say: ‘I get it...’’. I had the pleasure of handling and spend a good time with this watch, here below are my impressions and of course I hope you like the macros, this is a one of a kind beauty.
The watch case is 36mm which makes it mind blowing considering the amount of complications you have going on, imagine a Rolex Date Just with a monophase complication at 6 o clock, at its periphery you have the date of the month, then at ‘’3’’ you have the chronograph minutes where internally you can spot the leap year indicator and then at ‘’6’’, the chronograph hours sub dial, and of course we have two apertures at 12 with the day and month. If you managed to picture all of it then you might believe that the dial is a mess and there no room for anything else, but this is Patek Phillipe and the dial remains for some reason uncluttered, simple to read and most importantly (at least for me) very well proportioned. Nowadays people want bigger cars, bigger houses, and of course bigger watches, but think about it, a family of 3 used to go on a car journey with a state wagon, now we need a trailer, an SUV and even a roof box, the same happens with watches. If Patek Phillipe managed to add this level of watch making to this small case, then why are we still going to 41mm watches with time only? I will have to give a little of resistance to the fact that the watch is 13mm thick and for a smaller watch could look a bit off sometimes but the perfect 43mm lug to lug makes you forgive this, and let’s face it the 13mm is still thinner than many Grand Seikos out there (sorry but it’s true). The movement is based on the Lemania 2310 which replaced the old Valjoux Movement in the 2490 which was in production until 1986 when this beauty was born. I want to touch on the fact that this watch was created when quartz was king and complicated watches were just that, complicated. The movement is heavily modified and finished to an incredible standard bearing the Geneva Seal logo, looks incredible under the macro and it brings reliability to an already fascinating piece.
On the wrist:
Well there is no secret that it wears perfect on my 6.25 inch wrist, I am starting to believe that I can pull everything from 34mm to 42mm which is awesome in the hobby, as mentioned before the only complaint I have is that 13mm in thickness is a bit large for this diameter, it does feel chunky but when you add all the complications it is very easy to forget the minor detail, again 13mm is not gigantic by any means. The 36mm in diameter really make this piece to wear as a tuxedo watch, its as classy as it gets, the gold tone is richer than any normal yellow gold and looks a bit reddish. Legibility is perfect and I want to add that is not perfect for a 36mm piece with a perpetual calendar, I am saying that is legible compared to any watch out there, the dial tone is a crisp as anything I’ve seen so far, and I really suspect that they have chosen this texture for a reason. The watch is very hefty for its size, its deceiving, when you pick it up your brain really expects a lighter object but there it is, heavy lovely and always shinning, I like it.
Patek Philippe 3970 on our Italian Epsom leather watch strap
I feel incredibly privileged to have worn the Patek Philippe 3970, I think not only my understanding of watches has changed but also my appreciation for different pieces, I am sure that the younger 30 year old me would say:’’that’s an old men watch…’’ but after knowing what it does mechanically and the attention to detail put into this piece, it is hard not to be romantic. I always say that is hard to let a watch go but this time, is not the case, at prices that reach the 6 figures (100 000 GBP) it was great to take off the 3970, I was scared all the time thinking that I was going to drop it, I enjoyed more when it was resting on the table. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t admire it, I really wanted to stay and look at it for hours but to wear it, well I would leave that to the high rollers.
Written by Robbie from Robbie & Watches
Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated.
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