Hi All, Many thanks to Miranda in writing up an informative post on the 1938P ! Reading through all the comments, I would like to share my thoughts in this post, particularly on the dial.

Nov 17, 2023,17:07 PM

IMO 1938P is a marvellous watch in terms of innovation, interesting complications of MR and an alarm, and meaningfulness of son honoring his father's accomplishments !  For this important milestone of Mr. Philippe Stern’s 85th Birthday, I think Thierry creatively used Patek's/his father’s slogan of "...merely looking after it for the next generation" and transformed it to "honor the previous generation".  Mr. Phillip Stern's contributions to horology had been significant which we all can agree on, and personally I find it touching that Thierry pays tribute to his father with this new movement which will not be used again.  Although as a business person I do not fully understand why this movement will not be utilized in the future, but as a son I can fully appreciate Thierry's reasons behind making it a one-time creation.

Many members felt that they preferred the dial not to have a portrait, and I read through and understood their reasons.  As I thought more on the topic of watches with pictures of persons, I spoke to Patek collectors and performed some research on precedents.  Back in the 50s, when King Saud ascended to the throne, 150 (according to Christie’s) to 250 (according to Sotheby’s) pieces were commissioned with each dial having a life-like picture of King Saud.  Are you aware of others that are not unique pieces ?  If so, please share.

By celebrating the horological legacy of his father with a new timepiece, Thierry is doing something unprecedented since the Stern family took control of Patek, and hence I think this overall situation is a key reason why Mr. Stern’s portrait is on the dial.  Over the years, Mr. Stern has risen to become THE mainstay of horology, especially on how he helped turn the mechanical watch industry around in the face of the onslaught of quartz movements.  For me, this limited run of 30 pieces is a special commission by Thierry for his father, similar to the above commemorative event. 

Instead of a commercial launch, the limited run of 30 pieces (both in terms of the dial and movement) demonstrates this watch is a homage to Mr. Stern for his horological contribution to the industry and his paternal caretaking of Patek for the next generation.  

The allocated pieces will no doubt be to tremendously important and loyal Patek collectors who have long personal relationship with and within the Stern family.  No matter what, 1938P is an intriguing piece to me.  I respect Thierry’s decision because he went with his heart without financial considerations and he is proud to have his father’s presence on the dial. Furthermore, the enamel work to me is done in a subtle way with silhouette.

This post is my personal take of this situation, and I would love to hear your thoughts.    

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Give him a break, while they still can….

 By: Bruno.M1 : November 17th, 2023-18:37
Within a decade it will be Arnault 😁

To be honest both watches just scream tacky to me.

 By: andrea~ : November 17th, 2023-18:54
I don't want to take anything away from the watchmaking involved, but that dial is not a fitting tribute in my opinion.

The new Aquanaut and Nautilus bling releases are

 By: hora12reborn : November 17th, 2023-19:31
even tackier.

What if...

 By: Brandon Skinner : November 17th, 2023-19:31
Thierry created 30 pieces... one piece with his father's face on the dial which was kept for himself (or Patek Museum) as a loving tribute to his Dad. 29 pieces with an exceptional dial without Mr. Stern's face for collectors. This would completely change... 

Gordon, I think you have made a strong argument for why the decision of Thierry to make this tribute watch deserves to be respected. I certainly respect

 By: patekova : November 17th, 2023-20:13
Thierry’s decision to honor his Dad in this manner and contrary to sound financial considerations to never place this movement in any future watch. That said I think it could be done in a different way - a way that would make the tribute even more special... 

2nd suggestion IS interesting

 By: cbb in honor of Chamnong Bhirombhakdi : November 18th, 2023-08:37

Point well taken. I think if were an actual gift in the usual sense, the recipients would be less likely to sell even at a later point.

 By: patekova : November 18th, 2023-17:15
One of the reasons I suggested a personal engraving on the outside of the caseback is to further reduce the likelihood of a later sale.

Good one 😂

 By: patekova : November 18th, 2023-20:56


 By: amanico : November 18th, 2023-22:43

I remain with my initial thoughts: A portrait in memory of someone who already passed away is fine for me, but the father is still alive so I think it‘s not appropriate.

 By: nafetS : November 17th, 2023-20:41
And no disrespect towards his life’s work, but he‘s not a king, so the comparision you‘re making does not work for me.

Tribute watch 🥂

 By: Patekfinity : November 17th, 2023-20:50
The dial I feel is made appropriately for such an occasion. It has all the hallmarks of the past and plays into how important Henri was to Patek and the future. Glad this was made with a silhouette of Henri and not marked with the years…I’m sure everyone ... 

Regarding the Saud pieces…

 By: ArmisT : November 17th, 2023-21:12
these were commissioned by the Saud family/Saudi government, correct? Were any collectors elsewhere interested in this piece, or person? I view the Stern piece very differently. While I may have mixed feelings about the face on the front [as opposed to th... 

Why would I want Stern's portrait on MY watch...

 By: mdg : November 18th, 2023-00:25
...if he's not my father or if he's not my very close friend?

My company My father My decision

 By: watch-guy.com : November 18th, 2023-00:40
Do I really care what any one else thinks Slightly overstated but I reckon pretty close to the truth


 By: amanico : November 18th, 2023-05:31

Only 30 pieces, for important collectors, but really for friends of the family.

 By: als1678 : November 18th, 2023-01:36
"I don't like the dial" doesn't matter - you are not invited to the party anyway. The second slightly controversial point - a movement that will never be used again. We have seen that before - eg the FP Journe only watch entries. Yet a close cousin inevit... 

that sums it up very well.

 By: Peter : November 20th, 2023-06:34

;) alas.

 By: amanico : November 20th, 2023-07:36

Dear Gordon, thank you for the comprehensive history of the once off 30 limited pieces of 1938P

 By: joenghenry : November 18th, 2023-06:17
It’s no doubt one of the most important references in the history of Patek. The controversy lies in the portrait on dial. Personally I don’t find it too appealing. Perhaps it will attract more audience if the portrait is presented in cloisonné enamel? Any... 

Thanks Gordan for a more in-depth explanation on the 1938P limited edition particularly on the reasons behind the dial.

 By: Huei : November 20th, 2023-04:07
I think the reasons for the portrait on the dial is understandable while not everyone may like or agree to Patek's decision. Given the target customers will likely be those super VIPs who have deep personal relationships with the Sterns family, they will ... 

I believe Thierry would give everything he owns . . .

 By: Dr No : November 20th, 2023-23:21
. . . to have his Dad enjoying good health for many years to come. I would, too. 👨‍👦