Saatchi Salmon Dial Patek Philippe 3940G

There are but a handful of Patek Philippes made in the last two decades which will go down as all time greats—a smaller fraction of production than prior decades. The 3940 is one. It is only recently becoming fully understood as the pivotal reference it is, the start of serially produced high complication, the philosophy on which modern Patek Philippe is built. But, I said last two decades and the last (3rd) series of 3940 production stopped in 2007, so surely it doesn’t count? Well, there are exceptions. This is a continuation 3940 from 2015, there is such a thing. And it is, to many including myself, the ultimate incarnation of the quintessential modern Patek Philippe. It goes by Saatchi.

The actual example going to auction next week

To celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the brand, Patek Philippe put on an exhibition at the London Saatchi Gallery in 2015. To mark the occasion, a few of their most beloved references were brought back from the dead. Using NOS cases and with new, slightly tweaked dials, a handful of the great references were displayed and eventually sold to VVIPS. There were updated and slightly editions of the 5070, 3970, 5970, and 3940 amongst others. We’re talking about life-alteringly beautiful examples like a black 3970EP with a Breguet 12 and this: a 3940 in white gold with a salmon dial using an old NOS calibre 240/114. Despite 2015 release, this still has a Geneva Seal. The event also saw a blue dial platinum and brown dial pink gold 3940, but this is my aesthetic preference. It is, in my hierarchy, tied for first place as the most desirable Patek Philippe perpetual calendar right next to the first 25 Beyer signed 3940s; the chronological alpha and omega are the highs.


Lifestyle images depict a separate example, provided courtesy of Watch4Moi

In this salmon dial, no one knows how many were made. Some say 5, some say 15; it’s kind of the Stig of rare Patek. I am aware of but three salmon dials which have traded hands publicly, all understandably sold within an instant. As a benchmark, a marginally less desirable spec, a Saatchi 3940R, hammered in 2022 at 214k CHF. More meaningful than any astonishing value though, the Saatchi feels like a victory lap. The 3940 was released in uncertain times, a doubling down on complication over quartz. Saatchi 3940s are the victory lap in the same way that VC and AP’s skeleonized 43032 and 25558BA were celebrations. It is, to many, the end of 3940 collecting, one of the greatest watches made by Patek Philippe full stop.


*Note the actual example heading to auction is pictured under the first paragraph. Lifestyle photography is courtesy of Watch4Moi, who sold a different example few years ago and provided in that sale what is the greatest photography of a Saatchi 3940 to date, which we’re using as supplement here. This example has a great full case, likely no touched. The dial shows no visible wear. It comes with its full set, as part of the spring auctions.