Here is one of Patek Philippe's most important and treasured watches: the minute repeating perpetual calendar reference 3974. Even for watch dealers, the occasion to see and admire such an exceptional horological object as the reference 3974 is rare. As far as minute repeaters are concerned--Patek Philippe is the most hallowed… As far as models are concerned--the 3974 is the most coveted. Automatic…perpetual…and minute repeating--all housed in a massive Calatrava case.
Patek produced the 3974 between 1989 and 1997, and marked Patek’s 150th Anniversary. Production was low, and only six 3974s were made in rose gold.
I have heard it said that to understand women, it is better to spend ten years with the same woman, than to spend ten years with a different woman each night. So it is with collecting fine watches. A collector can own hundreds of watches over a lifetime, and not understand horology as well as he or she will by owning one watch as magnificent as this 3974. This particular watch is in a class of its own, even in the Patek world.
Case is polished 18k rose gold with dimensions of 36mm diameter by 12mm thick. Sapphire crystals front and back. Condition is indiscernible from new, with perfect uncompromised steps on the lugs. The case was made by John Pierre Hagman, Patek Philippe’s and Geneva’s most celebrated and revered case maker. Mr. Hagman is so important and highly regarded that Patek has a “JPH” hallmark used on the cases that he makes. Importantly, JPH did not make all 3974 cases, only a handful of them. The reference 3974 is the last minute repeater watch with JPH cases. Please refer to the picture below of the hallmark on the lug.
Philippe Stern believes that rose gold produces the best repeater tone due to the porosity of the copper alloys. In fact, Mr. Stern reserved the rose gold minute repeaters for his best customers. Patek customers likewise consider the rose gold repeaters to have the best tone and consider them the most desirable repeaters.
Dial is solid gold, with silvered color, and applied rose gold stick markers and dauphine hands. The subdial at 3 o'clock displays month and leap year cycle. Subdial at 6 o'clock displays date and moonphase. Subdial at 9 o'clock displays day and 24 hour (am/pm) time.
Movement is the automatic winding Patek Philippe Caliber R 27 Q. Movement also features 39 jewels, self-compensating free-sprung balance adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and in 5 positions, and stamped with the Geneva Seal. The caliber also features a 22k micro rotor with hand guilloche. The minute repeater's hammer and gongs can be seen through the display back crystal. Movement is constructed from 467 individual parts.
Watch is indiscernible from new and will be delivered with second case back (also bearing the JPH hallmark), setting stylus, box and papers.