The ref. 3974 is also one of the most important pieces in the Patek Philippe catalog and was the world’s most complicated wristwatch when launched. It combined a perpetual calendar, moon phase and 24-hour indication with a minute repeater. In 1925, Patek Philippe introduced the first perpetual calendar wristwatch and the first men’s minute repeater wristwatch, made for the American automotive engineer Ralph Teetor, who was blind (and whose inventions included the first cruise control). However, it wasn’t until 1989 and the ref. 3974 that Patek combined a perpetual calendar with a minute repeater in regular production. As the catalog describing this watch states, it is “a truly astonishing culmination of a century and a half of horology at its highest level.”
The caliber R 27 Q movement comprises of 467 components with a mere thickness of 6.80 mm. The ingenious sunken 22K micro-rotor enables a self-winding movement to also be housed in such a relatively slim case size. The very first movement was numbered 1’906’000. The cases were initially made by Jean-Pierre Hagmann (early examples have the case maker’s mark). Originally trained as a jeweler, JP Hagmann set up his own company in 1984 specializing in high quality watch cases. He worked for several of the top watch manufactures, most notably perfect replica Patek Philippe for whom he made cases for the firm’s Grand Complication series such as references 3974, 3979, 5016 and 5029. Later cases for the ref. 3974 were made by Ateliers Réunis. The ref. 3974 included a sapphire crystal back option.
The ref. 3974 stayed in production until the year 2000, and final production numbers are not known, but it is estimated that around 160 pieces were made in total, most in 18K yellow gold with around 15 in 18K rose gold, 12 in 18K white gold and 20 in platinum. From these pieces only 24 yellow gold, 4 rose gold, 2 white gold and 6 platinum have come back to the market. At auction, prices have remained relatively steady with platinum watches naturally fetching the highest prices. In November 2018 at Phillips, Geneva, a platinum ref, 3974P sold for 1,032,500 CHF. In May 2019 at Antiquorum, Geneva, a yellow gold ref. 3974J sold for 389,000 CHF.
More than any other actor, Brad Pitt purposefully embodies the old-school fantasy elegance of screen legends such as Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. At once rugged and masculine, but also friendly and approachable, he wears a classic Brioni tuxedo with the same sense of nonchalance and ease as he does T-shirt, jeans and aviator sunglasses. When it comes to perfect replica watches he prefers well-tuned classics that reflect his status and style as an old-school Hollywood icon.
But there are also a number of more off-beat classics, which shows that he really does love watches on quite a deep level. There’s the gold case fake Cartier Tank a Guichet, powered by the unique “jump-hour” mechanism in which the hour and minute figures are revealed behind tiny little windows on an otherwise all metal face. The Tank a Guichet was first released in 1928, when Cartier was making all kinds of unique and highly collectible variations of the Tank. You really have to know your stuff to be able to appreciate a watch such as this. Similarly, while Brad owns a luxury replica Patek Philippe Nautilus in its original stainless steel iteration, just as the maestro Gérald Genta would have envisioned it, he can also be seen wearing a copy Patek Philippe Ellipse in By The Sea. A less-well known 1960s model, the Ellipse is a cult classic in waiting. Get one now while you can, as it’s just as bold and stylish as the Nautilus and can be bought for significantly less (at least while the “grail-hunters” still have their attention diverted elsewhere.)
At the other end of the spectrum, Pitt also owns a stainless steel fake Rolex Explorer, the watch equivalent of a pair of Levi’s 501s or a crisp white button-down shirt – a classic which would look good on any man’s wrist. Key to this is its versatility: it’s elegant enough to be worn with a suit or tuxedo, while still sporty enough to go with more casual outfits. It’s an effortlessly cool watch, not unlike the man himself. As an ambassador for the brand, Pitt also owns a number of Breitlings including the fake 42 mm Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph Norton Edition, a collaboration with the British motorcycle manufacturer. It’s another well-tuned classic for the actor who is also known for his love of motorsport.
Pitt’s collection is, all in all, a really impressive one. It runs the gamut from unusual cult classics to instantly recognisable icons which would enhance any man’s collection.