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The 3940 is a highly complicated perpetual calendar watch that was created during the Quartz Crisis. It has endured through the years to become a highly coveted collector’s piece, beloved for its balanced layout, svelte profile, and classic look.
An elegant piece which has found itself in high demand from collectors in recent years, the reference 3940 is perhaps the most iconic perpetual calendar of the modern era. The design focuses on balance – with sub-dials placed at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock respectively – and more crucially, in a way that does not make the dial seem over-complicated, despite the highly complicated nature of the watch itself.
This example is even more noteworthy for being made from rose gold, which is rarely used in the reference 3940. Whilst yellow gold, white gold and platinum is found across all three series of the reference, Patek Philippe only introduced rose gold from the late second series onwards and carried it into the third. Whilst white metals remain the rarest, rose gold remains interesting nonetheless, and presents an appealing alternative for a collector who appreciates the warmth of yellow gold, but is seeking something more unusual.
Several factors distinguish this as a later second series piece rather than a first or third series, such as the lack of a grave accent on “Geneve”, and the fact that the “Swiss made” sign is printed in a way that is slightly misaligned with the rest of the minute track. Further to this, the piece features a cross divider on the month and leap year sub-dial, which was a feature introduced after the first series. An impressive complication that speaks to the ingenuity of the craft of watchmaking, this reference 3940 combines practicality with attractive and timeless design.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Patek Philippe 3940R will be subject to 20% VAT.
Taupe saffiano leather strap, Patek Philippe black alligator strap, rose gold buckle
Box & papers:
Additional caseback, setting pin
This Patek Philippe 3940 is in excellent condition overall, with a few superficial marks throughout consistent with minimal wear. The hallmarks on the left-hand side of the case remain crisp and clearly defined. The buckle shows some light signs of oxidation throughout, with a warm rose hue.
The watch comes with a two-year warranty from A Collected Man, alongside a lifetime guarantee of authenticity.
We stand by the quality of all of our pre-owned watches and mechanical objects. If something goes wrong, we’ll always strive to remedy the situation in a timely manner and to the best of our ability. The satisfaction and trust of our clients is of the highest importance, to everyone at A Collected Man.
All of our pre-owned watches have undergone thorough, non-invasive mechanical inspections and have been serviced, if appropriate, to ensure that they meet our highest standards of timekeeping and functionality.
Our pre-owned watches, unless stated otherwise, are covered by either a full or a limited twenty-four month warranty. This excludes any damage sustained due to improper use or accident. Due to their age, some pre-owned watches should not be subjected to the same conditions as when new.
Any of our pre-owned watches which have been serviced by their respective manufacturer, will carry the manufacturer’s servicing guarantee. This is separate and supersedes, the standard warranty offered by A Collected Man. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further information. You can write to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, for further clarification.
A Collected Man is also an authorised retailer for a number of watchmaking brands. These watches are covered by the warranty from the original manufacturer.
We offer complimentary worldwide delivery on our watches. If ordering from overseas, delivery will depend on the value of the timepiece and the destination. All import taxes and duties are the responsibility of the buyer.
If ordering from the UK before 1 PM, your watch will be sent the same working day. The courier will depend on the value of the watch, with all watches delivered the next working day.
Please note that pre-owned goods (in the United Kingdom) are subject to a marginal rate of VAT, which can not be reclaimed. For further information, please seehere.
To introduce the reference 3940 in 1985 was a rather audacious move.
The Swiss watch industry was still feeling the effects of not only the Quartz crisis, but also a global economic downturn which resulted in massive downsizing for many watch brands, with some pivoting towards this new technology and some having to fold altogether. But rather than follow the wind, Stern decided instead to double down on the brand’s heritage by creating a pair of complicated references: the 3940 and its sister, the perpetual calendar chronograph reference 3970.
Rather significantly, the two references essentially kick-started the serial production of complicated Patek Philippe watches. A rather daring step, considering most of the industry was moving away from tradition, rather than embracing it.
Philippe Stern with his gold dial Patek Philippe 3940 on the wrist.
Various 3940 dials, with the sub-dial colour going from lightest to darkest.
The reference 3940 decided to abandon the aesthetics cemented by previous references. The dial layout was revamped, with the day and month aperture being replaced with three sub-dials. The sharp lines were substituted with a smoother, more modern design. Powered by a much thinner movement, it enabled an elegant, slim case that fit tightly to the wrist.