THE DASH TO DASH
This early example of a stainless steel 3700/1 is a specimen example of this coveted reference featuring the earliest known dial variant – the dash to dash. It features minute markers that are dashes rather than the more regularly seen round dot minute markers. Preserved with the period correct Patek Philippe font and Swiss double APRIOR marks under 6 o'clock, this watch presents the opportunity to own an early example of this landmark reference. Notably, the dial remains in excellent condition while most other early "dashed" examples have wear and peeling to the top coat of varnish on the dial.
Fresh to the market and accompanied by its original cork box, this watch has some of the earliest movement and case numbers known within all reference 3700/1As that have surfaced from the time it left the factory just under 40 years ago.
The 3700/1A was equipped with the caliber 28-255 C based on a Jaeger-LeCoultre ébauche, one of the best thin automatic movements available at that time and finished in-house by Patek Philippe. The cases were manufactured by Favre-Perret.
As presented in period advertisements from the late 1970s, the 3700/1A was not made from simple steel but rather nickel-chrome-molybdenum steel, an alloy that was considered the highest standard at the time. It was made to withstand extreme temperatures and pressure, and known for its resistance to corrosion. Used extensively in the construction of tanks during World War II, this type of alloy was not only protective but relatively light compared to ‘regular’ steel.
As a consequence of the high-end production value of this watch in the late 1970s, the price was significant when it was first released. In 1977, the original retail price for this time-only watch was $3,100. It was a bold price and a bold design for the time — by comparison, a Patek Philippe mechanical wristwatch in 18k-gold with an 18k-gold mesh bracelet retailed for just under $4,000, and a steel Rolex Daytona chronograph retailed for just under $1,000.
Special thanks to Italian watch enthusiast and historian “mstanga” for his assistance and invaluable research text, A Study of the Patek Philippe Ref. 3700 “Nautilus”.