‘Doré’ Dial Patek Philippe 3940J

What is the most desirable 3940? Having recently extolled the virtues of the quintessential modern Patek Philippe QP, the natural question to follow is, well, which? Are you a white metal or gold type of person? Does the more proportional and minimalist balance of a first series dial appeal more, or do you like some bevels and crosshairs in your registers? Are you willing to spend 3X for a Beyer stamp and an individually numbered dial or salmon Saatchi in white gold? The lengthy production span of the 3940 means there are a wealth of options to both learn and eventually choose from. But doré dial has always been a sweet spot and is today more than ever before.

The doré dial tone is a very precise rose champagne, a halfway stop between salmon and outright gold at 80% opacity. It was this light champagne that the first ever Beyer-signed 3940s were released in, but production of the color didn’t stop when the Beyer signatures did. Doré dials are seen in first and second series but are quite rare in both. To my knowledge they weren’t offered in third series, but I’ve been wrong before. It’s been widely speculated that there are actually more doré dials made with Beyer signatures in the initial run of 25 than doré dials without any signature. That puts total estimates around the same 25 or fewer, but these are tenuous numbers only really gleaned from the frequency we find these coming up in the market and not as defined as the Beyers, numbers which we know from factory records.

And so we return to the initial query. What ultimate means to you is up for debate. A yellow gold third series will be the ultimate value buy. A salmon Saatchi dial is probably the most collectible white gold case. Then there are the two known blue dials in platinum cases made after most production finished. And you can’t deny the timeless restrained appeal of a first series dial, the numbered Beyers remain king. But the doré dial simultaneously hits a Goldilocks range of rarity, value, and sheer warm glowing golden salmon beauty. It is the most delicate of dial tones, largely unique to the 3940 & 3970, an aesthetic that belongs entirely to the neo-classic Patek era. If you’re agreed that this is the modern Patek QP, and setting down that path, don’t overlook it. It’s worth its premium more than most.

This example hails from ’88, coming with its extract and pin buckle. Its case appears full if lightly polished in its past. Hallmarks have worn edges but still present. Its dial is excellent, no visible damage, a second series with crosshair. It comes from a well-regarded London retailer.