The ref. 3970 is considered one of the last great designs from Patek Philippe and is a fairly complicated piece. It was released in 1986, replacing the ref. 2499, and remained in production for close to 20 years.
The ref. 3970 is a watch that is complicated yet wearable. While accessible in once respect, interest in this reference is growing by the minute making it increasingly more difficult to come by. For the new generation of buyers, it has become the benchmark Patek Philippe reference. It represents a transitional period in which the Patek Philippe of the 1980s became the Patek Philippe we know today.
Pictured is Eric Clapton's 3970 in white gold with the very attractive salmon dial, Breguet numerals, and a tachymeter scale. As a major Patek Philippe client, Clapton has had some super special pieces made for him over the years. The most interesting thing about this watch, however, is that it out-performed Clapton's ref. 5004 that sold in the same exact sale by $50,000, with the 3970 selling for $459,000 and the 5004 selling for $405,000. In our opinion, the white metal and salmon color are a winning combination.
The reference #: 3970 can be viewed, among all others, at our Manhattan gallery, APR57. If you like Patek Philippe you will like our radio show. Tune into WOR 710 AM, every Sunday evening between 8pm-9pm.If you have anything you would like to sell or have appraised please contact us. We are the only free appraisal service in town and we would love to tell you more about your piece.