Patek Philippe 3940G ‘Anniversary’
Origins of the 3940
The introduction of the reference 3940 proved to be a pivotal moment for Patek Philippe. To give you some insight in 1969 the introduction of the quartz Astron 35SQ by Seiko, rocked the Swiss watch industry to its core and nearly caused a mass extinction. It is believed that a jubilant Seiko went as far as advertising the Astron 35SQ with the slogan “One day all watches will be made in this way”. The situation was grave, many companies filed for bankruptcy, swiss watch exports plummeted at alarming rates. Historically important brands lost their sense of direction in the midst of this turmoil, most brands entered panic mode. This era of ‘panic mode’ resulted in some of the most fascinating and obscure pieces ever created. Had it not been for both pioneers Mr. Hayek and Mr. Thomke who successfully restructured the fundamentals with a strong focus on production efficiencies, who knows where the swiss watch industry might be today?
The Stern family, the owners of Patek Philippe had experienced turmoil before and rode out this quartz wave too. Under Philippe Stern’s stewardship, the reference 3940 was introduced to the market in 1985. Many consider the introduction of this particular reference as a turning point in the history of Patek Philippe, almost renaissance like. The 3940 featured a perpetual calendar that would not need adjusting for over 100 years. The sister reference 3970 is a continuation of the 2499 whereas the 3940 was a revelation of sorts. The design displayed a touch of modernity, for example, the stepped sub-dials allow the complication to seamlessly blend into the dial. The updated caliber 240Q also played a pivotal role in allowing this complication to be produced at levels never seen in a grande complication. The production of the 3940 spans from 1985 till 2007, a nod to Philippe Stern’s vision that the 3940 was ahead of its time. The earlier series, the first and second generation series show signs of manufacturing ‘maturity’ such as the hallmarks on the side of the case. As the reference matured so did the manufacturing capabilities. From our understanding there three series of the reference 3940, first series 1985-1987, second series 1987-1995 and lastly the third series produced from 1995-2007.
To celebrate the brand’s 175th anniversary, Patek Philippe held a Grande Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. To mark this monumental milestone, Patek Philippe produced several references with unique configurations, such as the 3940G. Patek Philippe, used new old stock movements to mark this milestone, however, the salmon dial is not necessarily from the 3940 era, rather the 5140 era.
This incredibly rare anniversary 36mm white gold anniversary Patek Philippe reference 3940G. Features a highly sought after Salmon dial, the piece was made to commemorate Patek Philippe’s 175th Anniversary in 2015. The salmon dial Patek Philippe’s have amassed a cult-like following, the iconic dial color is mainly used to commemorate milestones. What makes this particular example all the more interesting is the fact that this timepiece essentially acts as a linkage between the Patek of old and the Patek of new. The modest slim white gold 36mm case is a nod to the past and sits on the wrist incredibly well. On the other hand, the updated dial based off the reference 5140 presents a touch of modernity.
The undoubtedly rare salmon dial displays three registers similar to its predecessor reference 3940, with subtle differences such as the spacing of the font. The sub-dial found at 1 o’clock indicates both the month and year. The sub-dial found at 3 o’clock features a moon-phase along with a date indication. Lastly, the sub-dial found at 9 o’clock indicates the day as well as a day-night indicator. From our knowledge, this model only exists with an English calendar as it was made for the English market. The polished leaf-hands complement the watch well, whereas the 3940 dauphine hands are thicker and obstruct the complication at times. Overall, the modernize dial is executed superbly.
The movement found on this example is the venerable caliber 240/114, this would indicate that this new old stock movement is from 1995, the movement rotor is unsigned, similar to the third generation examples produced from 1995 till 2007. The clever engineering allows the 3940 to be one of the thinnest perpetual calendars made by Patek Philippe. The importance of this specific caliber cannot be overstated, it is still in production today and powers references such as the nautilus 3712 and 5712, amongst many other references. What makes this particular caliber all the more special is the seal found on the movement, the Poinçon de Geneve, this seal was used by Patek Philippe for decades. In essence, the Poinçon de Geneve serves as a certificate awarded to timepieces with remarkable finishes and decorative details and provides the connoisseur with proof of the authenticity and horological expertise of Geneva. In 2008, Patek Philippe opted to create their own in-house seal forgoing the use of the Poinçon de Geneve. The movement has a display case back allowing one to appreciate the high level of finishing, decoration techniques such as ćote de Geneve which are executed flawlessly.
This rare, Patek Philippe reference 3940-G Anniversary Edition, is accompanied by both its original internal and external boxes, along with all the relevant paperwork.
Brand: Patek Philippe
Movement: Caliber 240/114, automatic
Case Diameter: 36mm
Year: 2015 (sold)
Box & Papers: Full set.