Skip to product information
1 of 16

Parthian Watch Company

Patek Philippe Ref 3939 HP, Rarely Available, Platinum Grand Complication, Perfect Condition, Full Set 1998

Patek Philippe Ref 3939 HP, Rarely Available, Platinum Grand Complication, Perfect Condition, Full Set 1998

Regular price $385,000.00
Regular price Sale price $385,000.00
Sale Sold out

The Ref 3939H is quite possibly the most elegant and understated Patek Philippe Grand Complication timepiece ever made in a series. The model was made in approximately 200 examples over its entire production run, and roughly 20 of these watches in platinum like this one are known to have returned to the market for sale in the last 30 years.

I can never look at the Ref 3939H without remembering a comment made by my friend David J. who was in charge of the service department at Patek Phillippe NY in 2009. I was wearing my personal yellow gold Ref 3939H, and he said: “Perfection in this world is impossible, but the Ref 3939 comes pretty close.”

Interestingly, Patek had stopped making minute repeaters in the 1960s, as interest in mechanical watches was on the decline. But in 1989, under the leadership of then-President Philippe Stern, the brand relaunched the complication in celebration of the brand’s 150th anniversary, complete with new styles, new movements and a renewed sense of purpose within the world of haute horologerie. The relaunch began with the minute repeater perpetual calendar Ref 3974, but the production of Ref 3939H represented a completely new direction because Patek had never combined the tourbillion movement with a minute repeater in a production wristwatch.

Patek Philippe Ref 3939H was introduced in 1993 and remained in production until 2009. Patek used letter ‘H’ as part of the reference designation for ‘Haute,’ meaning that the half-round longer Cathedral gong makes the space needed higher. Any prospective buyer of the Ref 3939H had to apply and be approved by the president of Patek for the purchase.

Each watch of the series was tested for precision timekeeping before being awarded COSC certificate for superlative accuracy – a remarkable achievement in a complicated watch, because the addition of minute repeating, with its striking hammer and sound vibrations, adversely affects its timekeeping qualities.

Ref 3939H was equipped with movement numbers in 1’903’XXX format and caliber RTO 27 PS. For the first time in Patek history, the movement number of a wristwatch was printed on the dial inside the subsidiary seconds. Movement number 1’903’000 was never sold, because it was saved for the Patek Philippe Museum. That watch is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, 2nd edition, p. 330.

Like classic watches of 1940s and 50s, Ref 3939H measures 34 mm in diameter. However, the watch reads quite substantial on the wrist because of the thick case required to house two of the most noble complications in horology: the minute repeater and tourbillion. To fit both complications in such a discreet case, and achieve a COSC rating, is a feat of technical excellence that makes it a watch of immense sophistication.

As with all modern Patek Philippe minute repeaters made since 1989, the present watch passed one final test before being handed over to its eventual owner: every single watch’s sound quality must be approved by the company’s president before delivery to its owner. In the 1990s, each minute repeater was presented to Philippe Stern, and he listened to the sound of each watch to assure the inimitable richness of timbre that is the trademark of Patek Philippe’s minute-repeating wristwatches. This totally subjective individuated examination is carried on today by his son Thierry Stern, who has run the company since 2009.

Caliber RO 27 PS. Rhodium plated brass, 28 jewels, 21’600 alternances, one-minute tourbillon with straight line lever escapement, Gyromax balance, Breguet curve balance spring, eight adjustments.


Original Certificate from Salon De Patek, Name Left Open, COSC Certificate, Box, Catalogue

View full details