Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 3940P

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DETAILS

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Moonphase in platinum. This is the 3rd series of the reference 3940P from 2002. The watch is accompanied by its original watch winding box, guarantee paperwork (originally sold in Italy), booklets and Patek Philippe Archive Extract. This example features its original brushed silver dial with Italian script and Sigma Swiss inline with the minute tracking. This reference features a 36mm case diameter with solid case-back. The hallmarks remain clearly visible on the back of the lugs. The watch houses a self-winding calibre 240Q movement. Finally, the watch is complimented by its original Patek Philippe crocodile strap and platinum deployment clasp.

The watch is in excellent original condition and appears to have been rarely from new. The current owner (vendor) purchased the watch from the original owner and did not wear it for over a decade whilst it has been in his collection. The service history is unknown however we have tested the watch and it is keeping excellent time. In addition to this, the watch is fully functioning and therefore not in need of an immediate service. The strap is also excellent.

Overall this is an excellent example of a very rare and important model by Patek Philippe. In our opinion, this is a “must have” model for collectors and the interest for this reference will only continue to grow. The condition and set make this one of the best example a collector will find.

BRAND

Patek Philippe

MODEL

Perpetual Calendar

YEAR

2002

REFERENCE

3940P

MATERIAL

Platinum

MOVEMENT

Self-Winding Calibre 240Q

CASE DIAMETER

36mm

BRACELET/STRAP

PP leather strap, platinum deployment

CONDITION

Excellent

STORY BEHIND

Patek Philippe introduced the reference 3940 Perpetual Calendar in 1985 and released alongside the reference 3970 (Perpetual Calendar Chronograph). These two grand complications were introduced during the “Quartz Crisis” whilst many of the brands focused on the threat they saw from the change in trends at the time. The reference 3940 was produced from 1985 to 2007 and has now become a “Grail Watch” for many collectors. At its launch, it was exclusively available in yellow gold (for Beyer in limited numbers) and was later made in rose gold, white gold, and platinum.

During the “Quartz Crisis” big Swiss companies were not making complicated pieces at this time as the decline in the industry meant that there was no spare money for innovative investment but instead only enough to consolidate whatever market share they had left. To release a perpetual calendar and perpetual calendar chronograph (ref. 3970) at the same time, was certainly a bold move by Patek and the timing could not have been greater as the tide was slowly turning with people realising the value of mechanical watches. This is partly because looking at a mechanical watch and its movement is a very relatable experience, where you can see how it works, how it is all connected unlike a quartz watch that is powered by an incomprehensible chipboard. Perhaps it has something to do with a universal appreciation we have for craftsmanship as a whole, but whatever it was, this watch is a significant bedrock as to how far Patek has come today despite the adversities it faced. It is no coincidence that Philippe Stern himself, who despite being in the position to wear any and as many Patek Philippe watches he wished, chose to wear a 3940 every day.

Stepping back from the contextual significance of the 3940, the watch in itself is a marvel both in its design and movement. Housing the fantastically finished in-house perpetual calendar calibre 240 Q, one of its defining aspects is the integrated off centre micro rotor, allowing this incredibly complicated watch to come in at an unbelievably slim 9mm. In order to ensure that a rotor that small could power the watch, it was made in 22k gold, with the extra weight providing more force to wind the watch.

Making a perpetual calendar is no easy task, with 275 different parts and as testament to this, at the time it was released, there were only two people in the manufacture allowed to make watches this complicated. Sure, a perpetual calendar does not enjoy the same status as a chronograph, despite being more difficult to manufacture, as it lacks the tactile experience. But for a watch to have a memory of 4 years, accounting for the days in every month including February and the leap year, involves a large measure of skill. Add a moonphase and 24-hour clock on top and you start to understand the complexity of this very special timepiece.