Fully confirmed by the Certificate of Origin with ‘opalin’ silvered dial and ruby indexes, this pink gold example of Patek Philippe's landmark minute repeating tourbillon reference 3939 is the only known example with ruby hour markers. Indeed, no other reference 3939 of this configuration has ever been seen or recorded publicly until 2013 when the present watch first appeared. This highly important 3939HR is without doubt one of the stellar pieces of the model, a one-of-a-kind masterpiece of the utmost exclusivity. Offered in exceptional condition, Christie’s is delighted to present this majestic watch for sale.
One of the most elegant and understated of Patek Philippe’s Grand Complication timepieces of recent times, reference 3939 unites the exquisitely sonorous charms of a two-gong minute repeater with the gravity-defying precision of a tourbillon escapement. Only 200 pieces were ever made and each watch of the series was tested for precision timekeeping before being awarded a C.O.S.C. certificate for superlative accuracy – a remarkable achievement in a complicated watch because any additional function in a watch, such as minute repeating, often adversely affects its timekeeping qualities. In keeping with its eternal style, reference 3939 ignores the contemporary trend for larger cases, measuring 34 mm. in diameter, it is a feat of technical excellence that makes it a watch of immense sophistication. The present watch has an even further layer of rarity to the dial in addition to the ruby hour indexes in having a silvered ‘Opalin’ dial instead of the standard enamel dial made for the reference. Both the ruby hour indexes and the silvered dial are confirmed by the Certificate of Origin. As with all Patek Philippe minute repeaters, the present watch had to pass one final test before being handed over to its future owner - since Patek Philippe launched the production of these cherished timepieces in 1989, not a single one left the workshop before Philippe Stern, the company's president until 2009, now honorable president, had deemed the sound of its chiming worthy of the firm's exemplary standards. In the tranquility of his office, Mr. Stern listened to the sound of each watch to assure the inimitable richness of timbre that is one of the trademarks of Patek Philippe's minute repeating wristwatches.
Reference 3939 was officially launched in 1993 and remained in production until 2009, available in all three gold versions and in platinum. The reference 3939 with movement no. 1'903'000 and calibre RTO 27 PS was never sold, given to the Patek Philippe Museum and is illustrated in : Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p. 330.