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.
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.