Many of the watches offered for sale in this catalogue
are pictured with straps made of endangered or
protected animal materials such as alligator or
crocodile. These lots are marked with the symbol
~ in the catalogue. These endangered species straps
are shown for display purposes only and are not for
sale. Christie’s will remove and retain the strap prior
to shipment from the sale site. At some sale sites,
Christie’s may, at its discretion, make the displayed
endangered species strap available to the buyer of the
lot free of charge if collected in person from the sale
site within 1 year of the date of the sale. Please check
with the department for details on a particular lot.
Lots 130 & 131 – Patek Philippe Ref. 3940
Reference 3940, the quintessential perpetual calendar distinguished by its timeless elegance, is undeniably amongst Patek Philippe's greatest classics. Launched in 1984 as replacement for reference 3450, it was at the time the slimmest automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch.
An initial series of around 100 pieces were manufactured between 1984 and 1985, the first 25 were especially made for the 225nd anniversary of Patek Philippe's retailer Chronometrie Beyer in Zurich, numbered and personalized. Starting in 1985, reference 3940 went into standard production. Until the model's discontinuation in 2007 when it was replaced by reference 5140 three further series were produced.
The main design variants between earlier and later series include sunken subsidiary dials as opposed to the rather beveled version and a plain leap year dial rather than the one with the quarter separations. Earlier models featured a smaller signature, the designation "Swiss" was printed underneath the beady minute divisions. This was changed in later series with the "Swiss" printing within the ring.
Examples of reference 3940, both regular and the Chronometrie Beyer anniversary version, are illustrated and described in Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe Watches - Volume II, p. 300, and in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, pp 292 - 294.