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The 3940J* is a 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 that 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 its three registers showing various functions neatly balanced out. The sub-dial at three o'clock shows the leap-year counter and the months (in English), in a slightly recessed sub-register, giving depth to the otherwise lightly brushed, silver dial. In a similar fashion, the months and day/night indicators are placed at nine o'clock. The stunning gold moon-phase is found at six o'clock, with the days of the month surrounding.
The dauphine hands add a touch of sharpness to what only can be described as a beautifully executed timepiece. Evidence suggests that the 3940 dials were produced by Stern Frères, who provided many to Patek Philippe during this period. Many of the characteristics associated with a second series example, including the early serif font on the sub-dials and the "σ SWISS σ" printed below the outer minute track, can be found on this model.
Representing the best of Swiss design, the movement itself is no less a technical feat. This example has a solid case back, which conceals the fantastic hand-finishing, including Côtes de Genève with its quality guaranteed by the Genevan Seal. The ultra-thin self-winding movement, powered by an off-centre 22k gold micro-rotor, has been in use by Patek Philippe since the 1970s, and has been incorporated into a number of their modern perpetual lines.
Created at the turn of the century, this watch is an excellent example of the neo-vintage movement, marking an exciting period of rebirth for the watch industry. At 36mm, the watch is a size that is reminiscent of vintage Patek Philippe references, further adding to its charm.
Taupe textured calf strap from our own collection, Brown alligator strap, Patek Philippe pin buckle
Box & papers:
Box, Booklet, Certificate of Origin
This Patek Philippe 3940J is in good condition, superficial marks can be found throughout the case and lugs. Light oxidation is visible around the bezel and at the top of the lugs. The hallmarks and engravings on the case back are crisp and well defined.
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.
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, Philippe 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. As Sean Song, a vintage watch dealer and collector puts it,
“It markeda return for high end watch brands. At the moment, I think the 3940 is moreimportant to Patek Philippe themselves than to collectors, as they know justhow significant this release was for the continuity of their brand.”
Prior to these, complicated watches by the manufacture were produced in relatively small numbers. To give you an idea of scale, the iconic 2499 is believed to have been made in 366 pieces over 35 years, with numbers cited closer to 4,000 for its successor, the 3970. However, whereas the 3970 was a continuation, the 3940 was something new. It 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.