3940P | platinum
This platinum Patek Philippe 3940 perfectly illustrates why the reference has become so coveted in recent years. With its classic 36 mm size, and svelte profile matched by a slim micro-rotor movement, it is arguably one of most elegant offerings of the modern Patek Philippe era.
The Industry at a juncture
The reference 3940 was introduced by Patek Philippe in 1985, at a crucial juncture. 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.
However, rather than follow the wind, Philippe Stern, the CEO of Patek Philippe, decided instead to double-down on the brand’s heritage by creating the reference 3940. Alongside its sister reference, the 3970, the model essentially kick-started the serial production of complicated Patek Philippe watches. Prior to this, perpetual calendars were extremely scarce.
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 for a smoother, more modern design. Powered by a much thinner movement, it enabled an elegant, slim case that fit tightly to the wrist.
A Classic Design
The dial has three registers, with the various functions neatly laid out. The sub-dial at three o'clock shows the leap-year counter and the months, in English, in a slightly concave sub-register, giving depth to the lightly-brushed, opaline dial. In a similar fashion, the months and day & night indicators are placed at nine o'clock. The silver moon and stars for the moon-phase are placed at six o'clock, with the days of the month around it. The 24-hour and week day indicator at 9 o'clock mirror those at 3 o'clock, bringing a sense of balance and uniformity, to this relatively small but highly complicated dial. Despite the modest size, the 3940 remains legible and easy to use.
The dauphine hands add a touch of sharpness to what only can be described as a wonderfully balanced design. Evidence suggests that the dials for the reference 3940 were produced by Stern Frères, who provided many dials to Patek Philippe during this period. At 6 o'clock, the positioning of the "σ SWISS σ" falls in line with the outer minute track, placing this piece within the third series, which is understood to have been produced between 1995 and 2007. This particular example integrates both serif and non-serif text throughout, suggesting it was produced at the beginning of the third series.
This Patek Philippe 3940 features a rare, platinum case. More commonly executed in yellow, rose or white gold, platinum is the most seldom seen metal across the whole lifespan of the reference. The discrete nature of the metal, combined with its rarity, makes this one of the most appealing executions of the design. As is always the case with platinum pieces, it features a solid platinum caseback, hiding away the true beauty of the movement in an elegant and traditional fashion.
Representing the best of Swiss design, the movement itself is no less a technical feat. This example has a solid caseback, concealing the fantastic hand-finishing, the Genevan coat of arms and stripes, as well as the off-center, 22k gold micro-rotor. The ultra-thin, self-winding 240 Q base movement has been used by Patek Philippe since the 1970s, and continues to beat at the heart of their modern perpetual lines.
This Patek Philippe 3940P-011 is accompanied by its outer box, inner wooden box and setting pin. Its platinum deployante buckle is also included, along with a bespoke grey grained leather strap.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Patek Philippe ref. 3940P will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.
To find out more about the reference 3940, you can read our Collector's Guide.
|Model:||Perpetual Calendar Ref. 3940P|
|Movement:||mechanical automatic micro-rotor 240 Q|
|Functions:||perpetual calendar: leap year indicator, month, date, day; moonphase, day/night indicators, hours, minutes|
|Features:||solid caseback, opaline dial|
|Case:||36 mm platinum|
|Crystal:||sapphire front and back|
|Bracelet:||bespoke grey grained strap, platinum deployante buckle|
|Box & papers:||outer box, inner wooden box, setting pin
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