With Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin stamped by Magasin Patek Philippe S.A. in Genève and dated 10 July 1987, two framed original letters, one dated 28 August 1987 and signed by André Glad, Retail Store Manager, the second dated 1st September 1987 and signed by Philippe Stern, Vice-President, product literature, leather document holder, original fitted wooden presentation box and outer packaging.
The reference 3940/1 offered here for sale is an exceedingly rare example of a timepiece managing to escape the attentive eyes of Patek Philippe's strict quality control in spite of a subtle yet ostensible flaw: a closer look at the 12 o'clock index reveals a blank gap to its left side, caused by the missing gold beady dot for minute 59. The first owner immediately announced this “imperfection” to Patek Philippe, receiving in return prompt replies from André Glad, retail store manager, and from Philippe Stern, vice-president at the time. Both offered immediate replacement, however Mr. Stern pointed out that “We have been checking all the watches in our inventory as well as our spare dials and I must advise you that all have 4 dots. You really must have a unique dial and it is almost worth while keeping it.”
The combination of the “unique” dial, the very good overall condition and presence of the original certificate and letters render this ref. 3940/1 a fascinating find for the collector of unusual timepieces.
Reference 3940 was launched in 1985 and remained in production until 2006. The present watch is from the first series, featuring sunk subsidiary dials for the 24 hours display and leap year indicator, as opposed to the level version of later models. Reference 3940 is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p. 292-293.