An attractive and fine “first series” yellow gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon phase

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1985
    Reference No: 3940
    Movement No: 770'090
    Case No: 2'824'861
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 240Q, 27 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with English calendar in 1985 and its subsequent sale on February 14th, 1986.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Patek Philippe’s reference 3940 is undeniably one of the most iconic perpetual calendar wristwatches available to collectors today, and followed a prestigious line of classic models: the reference 1526, the first serially produced perpetual calendar watch from 1941, the 2497 the first perpetual calendar with center seconds from the 1950s, the reference 3448 released in 1962 as the first automatic perpetual calendar and in 1981 the 3450 – Patek Philippe’s first model to feature a leap year indicator. The 3940 was released in 1985 as a replacement to the reference 3450 with a newly designed modern case, which was less angular than its predecessors. Powered by what was then the all-new, ultra-thin calibre 240, Patek Philippe’s first movement to use a micro-rotor, it enabled an elegant and very thin case that fit tightly to the wrist. The reference 3940 was a smashing success, in production for over two decades, where it appealed to a new generation of enthusiasts who wanted to advance beyond their fathers’ timepieces.

    The wristwatch was encased predominately in yellow gold, with fewer examples in pink and white gold, and very rarely in platinum. In 1985, the first 25 watches were produced to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the famed retailer Chronometrie Beyer in Zürich with numbered watches. That same year, the brand began standard production of the reference and continued to produce it until 2007 when they replaced the 3940 with the larger reference 5140 powered by the same calibre 240 movement, but with a case measuring 37mm in diameter.

    The present watch from 1985 is part of the first series of the reference 3940, which was produced only during the first three years. These early watches featured flat, sunken subsidiary dials giving them a pleasing vintage look, and a single leap year indicator compared with later models having a cross dividing the four sectors. Preserved in very good overall condition, this reference 3940 is sure to please any collector – offering an excellent opportunity to own an early version of a classic perpetual calendar timepiece.

  • Maker Bio

    Patek Philippe

    Swiss • 1839

    Since its founding in 1839, this famous Geneva-based firm has been surprising its clientele with superbly crafted timepieces fitted with watchmaking's most prestigious complications. Traditional and conservative designs are found across Patek Philippe's watches made throughout their history — the utmost in understated elegance.

    Well-known for the Graves Supercomplication — a highly complicated pocket watch that was the world’s most complicated watch for 50 years — this family-owned brand has earned a reputation of excellence around the world. Patek's complicated vintage watches hold the highest number of world records for results achieved at auction compared with any other brand. For collectors, key models include the reference 1518, the world's first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph, and its successor, the reference 2499. Other famous models include perpetual calendars such as the ref. 1526, ref. 3448 and 3450, chronographs such as the reference 130, 530 and 1463, as well as reference 1436 and 1563 split seconds chronographs. Patek is also well-known for their classically styled, time-only "Calatrava" dress watches, and the "Nautilus," an iconic luxury sports watch first introduced in 1976 as the reference 3700 that is still in production today.

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Σ4

Ref. 3940
An attractive and fine “first series” yellow gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon phase

1985
36mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed.

Estimate
$15,000 - 30,000 
CHF14,900-29,900
€13,600-27,200
HK$117,000-235,000

sold for $35,000

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

GAME CHANGERS

New York Auction 10 December 2019