"1st Series" 1987 Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Moonphase (Ref. 3940J) 18K YG W/ Extract From The Archive
It wouldn't be an overstatement, and most renowned collectors around the world would agree, that this reference from Patek Philippe was one of the most essential and important watches to the preservation of craftsmanship, manufacturing ingenuity, and artistry in watchmaking. The Patek Philippe reference 3940 was created to juxtapose the world of horology in the 1980s, when at the time quartz watches were the antithesis of mechanical artisty in watchmaking. Patek risked everything to encapsulate the idea that true value in watches lies within the innovation of what a watchmaker can accomplish with physical components and a little imagination, and imaginative the ref. 3940 was.
Patek Philippe created a wristwatch that tracked not only the time, but the day, the date, the month, the cycle of the leap year, and the phases of the moon along with a 24-hour day/night indicator included for good measure. All of this is displayed on a dial that is beautifully formatted, easy to read, and dripping with sophistication. While accomplishing to make a perpetual calendar that isn't busy to the eye is a feat on its own, the most impressive detail of the reference 3940 is that Patek Philippe did this in a case that measures only 9mm thick, and with a movement that features a self-winding mechanism, an achievement previously thought mechanically unfathomable until the creation of this watch. This was done with the caliber 240-Q ultra-thin automatic movement, that features a 22K yellow gold micro-rotor for the winding system.
The Patek Philippe 3940 is generally broken down into three versions, or three series, across its illustrious 21 years of production from 1985-2007. Initially introduced only in solid yellow gold and with the very first 25 units being numbered and co-signed by retailer Beyer, rarified air is the most qualifying adjective for these, and shortly after the initial launch, Patek released models in white gold, platinum, and then later rose gold as well. The first series is highly regarded for being the original design, characterized by the "sunken sub-dials", but is far and beyond the most rare of the three series. It is well documented that only 700 pieces were produced in the first series during a short production run between 1985 and 1987. The second series saw the most substantial aesthetic change to the dial, though it is also decidedly appreciated for its classical beauty, this series is also broken into an early and late subdivision and was in production from 1987 to 1995. The third series is visually very similar to the second series while airing on a slightly more modern aesthetic, Patek also introduced the caliber 240/114 in this series and it was produced between 1995-2007. The Patek Philippe ref. 3940 was also re-released in the year 2015 with a white gold case and salmon dial for the brand's 175-anniversary grand exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
For many collectors the reference 3940 could be a one watch collection, hitting the mark on so many levels from historical significance, manufacturing ingenuity, aesthetic excellence, and general wearability overall. While this may or not be true for you, the importance of the 3940 remains paramount, being a watch with an impact that is still felt today by helping change the course of watchmaking's future through being a pillar of mechanical brilliance.
|Perpetual Calendar Moonphase
|18K Yellow Gold
|2pc Handmade Leather Strap & 2pc Patek Philippe Black Alligator Leather "Cousu Main" Strap
The exceptional 18K yellow gold case maintains impressive dimensions, displaying the original design integrity of the case in excellent condition with minimal signs of use present. The most recognized tell to determine the the extent of polishing for the case on the 1st and 2nd series is the existence of the hallmarks on the side left side of the case, both of the hallmarks on the case of this example remain fully visible and deep with minimally dishing from previous polishing present. The case retains its original crown bearing the Patek Philippe cross. The case back is also in exceptional condition with minimal signs of expected wear present. The watch comes supplied on a 2pc handmade leather strap, the watch also comes with a 2pc Patek Philippe black alligator leather strap.
The original brushed silver 1st series "German" dial featuring the characteristic sunken sub-dials is in virtually perfect condition, with no obvious elements of damage or age visible. The left 24-hour indicator sub-dial features an extremely subtle two-tone effect. The hands all remain original to the watch and in excellent condition, the blued sub-dial hands exhibit some minor oxidation though it is only nominal. The moon phase disc is flawless.
The watch comes with a Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives and a Patek Philippe "Cousu Main" black alligator leather 2pc strap. The watch is keeping time and functioning perfectly.