3417 Patek Philippe Amagnetic
I would be willing to bet a great bottle of Glenrothes that, if you asked industry luminaries for their top five most beautiful Patek Philippe references of all time, the 3417 Amagnetic would feature in the majority. This is an elegant Calatrava belying the soul of a steel tool watch. It’s like seeing Tom Ford, immaculately dressed in a tailored suit, get up from the Paris Fashion Week VIP section and run an ultra marathon; the ‘Amag’ is fit for purpose despite its exterior. Beauty and substance exist here in abundance.
The ref. 3417, Patek’s first anti-magnetic reference, was in production for just shy of 10 years starting 1958. It is thought that ~500-750 examples were produced. They were available only in 35mm steel with cases made by Jean Vallon, a La-Chaux-de-Fonds case maker whose bread and butter were anti-magnetic and water-resistant construction. The case was constructed with an additional inner case back of iron to shield against magnetism. Dials by Stern as per usual. This example comes from later in production, where the playful ‘amagnetic’ signature had left. Many love the 3417 for that playful signature, but its dial is to my eye still very beautiful in this more clinical iteration. Both are highly collected today.
All of this was powered the calibre 27 AM 400, where the AM stands for Amagnetic. The movement received its own designation as Patek replaced some escapement components with gold and beryllium to doubly ensure timekeeping wasn’t effected by magnetism. Also included was the newly-patented Gyromax balance, with the most precise and enduring form of regulation that had ever been achieved. Two fun facts: first, 3417 crowns were made of white gold. Why? No idea. Secondly, the base price of a 3417 in 1959 was 820 Swiss Franc. They’re a little more than that now.
The steel case here is quite full with sharp edges, really a strong one. The sides, highly polished bezel, and back all display evenly moderate surface wear. Its dial shows no signs of damage, though these are better observed in person. No mention of servicing but it comes from a well-regarded Singapore retailer.
Find this 3417 here from 2Tone Vintage for 58000 USD.