With Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1982 and its subsequent sale on 4 November 1982. Furthermore delivered with Patek Philippe presentation box.
The present lot is fresh to market.
Reference 3878, Patek Philippe's only automatic skeletonized wristwatch, was in production from 1981 until approximately 1998.
The estimated production of the offered reference is circa 500 examples and only ten percent surfaced on the market since its launch.
Decorating and Engraving the Movement
Engraving is the practice of incising a design into a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing images on paper as prints or illustrations.
In watchmaking, from the case to the movements, engraving is one of the decorative techniques that form the soul of a luxury watch. It is a savoir-faire that has been passed down from generation to generation. The engraver cuts the metal to create patterns that give the entire movement the rare elegance and emotion that distinguish a fine watch.
Often hidden in the depths of the case, the subtlety of this decorative work is nonetheless unveiled in skeleton watches. Designed to highlight the beauty and architectural complexity of their movement, these models with transparent case reveal the beauty of the pieces which are enhanced by the ornamental delicacy of the engraving.
With extraordinary skill, the engraver cuts into the material, using chisels and working almost exclusively by hand. From engraving initials, numbers on the face, or decorations drawn by a designer to the ad-hoc creation of a motif, the work of this goldsmith demands patience, dexterity, attention to detail and an aesthetic sensibility.
Another example of a skeletonized wristwatch is illustrated and described in Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe Watches, Volume II, p. 247.