Patek Philippe Ref 3670A Column Wheel Chronograph
by Kyle Stults on October 21, 2011
Pinit

Superlative…

Patek Philippe introduces the Ref. 3670A, an extraordinary new watch model.  Patek Philippe also tells a fascinating story of provenance behind the Ref. 3670A — reprinted it in its entirety below.  In short, the Patek Philippe Ref. 3670A rises from the discovery of 16 magnificent column-wheel chronograph movements, Caliber 13-130, originally assembled and adjusted by Patek Philippe in the middle of the 20th Century.  Because the Caliber 13-130 was integrated in the regular production schedule at Patek Philippe and for about 30 years and is coveted by serious collectors, the rediscovery of 16 of these calibers (resting peacefully in a drawer inside the Patek Philippe historical building on Rue du Rhône) and their flawless condition is thus an extraordinary occurrence.  From the new Patek Manufactory in Plan-les-Ouates, the 16 calibers were subsequently disassembled, restored and reassembled.  Patek then chose to bring the movements to life from within Patek’s stainless steel, cushion-shaped cases…and the rest, as they say, is history…

The Patek Ref. 3670A is sold only through the Patek Philippe Salons Geneva.  The Ref. 3670A price is 240,000 Swiss Francs.

Patek Philippe Ref 3670A Column Wheel Chronograph

Limited Edition 16 Pieces

37mm x 45mm stainless steel case, manual-wind Patek Caliber 13-130 (crafted in 1955 from a Valjoux ébauche modified especially for Patek Philippe); matte black alligator strap with grey hand-stitching (21x16mm), stainless steel prong buckle

Dial – Anthracite brushed dial center, circular brushed counters and dial periphery with gold applied hour markers, sand brushed white gold hands, white chronograph and 30’ counter hand
hours, minutes, chronograph with 30′ semi-instantaneous counter at 3 o’clock, seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, sweep chronograph hand

Patek Caliber 13-130
Diameter: 29.5 mm; Height: 5.95 mm; Jewels: 23;  Power reserve: min. 39 hours; Balance: Glucydur with screws; Frequency: 18’000 semi-oscillations/hour (2.5 Hz); Balance spring: Breguet

Story of the Patek Philippe Ref. 3670A Column Wheel Chronograph, as told by Patek Philippe:

The story of the Reference 3670A begins like a fairy tale in which a long-lost treasure is discovered. In 1996, Patek Philippe began to prepare the move from its historic domicile on Rue du Rhône in Geneva. On this occasion, an old wooden chest – long stowed away unheeded in a corner on the fifth floor – attracted attention. When it was opened, curiosity turned into enchantment: Apart from many other precious artifacts, one of the numerous drawers also contained sixteen caliber 13-130 chronograph movements that had been assembled and adjusted in 1955!

For collectors and watchmaking enthusiasts, the manually wound caliber 13-130 with column-wheel control ranks among the manufacture’s technical jewels and is also regarded as a milestone in the history of chronographs. The movement is based on a 13-ligne Valjoux ébauche (diameter approx. 28 mm) that was modified explicitly for Patek Philippe. Salient features of this elegant high-performance caliber include the S-shaped clutch lever, the lovely escape-wheel and driving-wheel bridges, the whiplash index adjuster, and the very special shape of the three-armed chronograph bridge.

In 1938, the movement was integrated in the regular production schedule at Patek Philippe and for about 30 years constituted the heart of those timepieces that have always been most coveted by connoisseurs and aficionados of rare watches.

The rediscovery of 16 of these calibers crafted in 1955 and their flawless condition is thus an extraordinary occurrence. To commemorate the lucky find, Patek Philippe has created a limited special edition of chronographs in which the precious mechanical movements spring back to life: the Reference 3670A.

With great passion and true to horological traditions, the caliber 13-130 movements discovered in the wooden chest were totally disassembled, restored, and reassembled by Patek Philippe master watchmakers. Additionally, they were readjusted to the strict accuracy requirements that apply to all Patek Philippe watches. Even though they do not fully match the rate accuracy of modern mechanical movements, they now tick with a degree of precision unheard of in the era during which they were manufactured.

To do justice to these aesthetically appealing technical masterpieces, Patek Philippe chose a cushion-shaped case originally launched in 2010; it was inspired by the first Patek Philippe wrist chronographs of the 1920s and features subtle art deco accents. Rectangular pushers, also adopted from historic timepieces, add the finishing touch to the retro-contemporary style. The watch has a sweep chronograph hand, a seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, and a semi-instantaneous 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. It has a power reserve of 39 hours.

Crafted in a limited edition of sixteen watches, the Reference 3670A in stainless steel is a beautiful fusion of the past and the present in a timepiece that like all Patek Philippe watches is intended to endure the passage of time and the succession of generations.