Patek Philippe and the perpetual calendar are no strangers. We’ve already extensively covered some of these impressive watches, including the honey-brown Patek Philippe 5496P-014 Perpetual Calendar Retrograde and the superb Patek Philippe 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Blue. These two are certainly among the classical watches – we’re talking about Patek Philippe, a brand where tradition is not a motto anymore but a lifestyle. But they add something unusual, a bit of ‘controlled eccentricity’. The Patek Philippe 5940g Perpetual Calendar could have been a pure representation of the brand’s classicism. But in the flesh, it also has this little extra that we love here at Monochrome-Watches.
The Patek Philippe 5940g isn’t exactly a new watch, as a yellow gold edition was issued in 2012. For the 2014 edition of the Basel watch fair, Patek brought out an 18k white gold edition. Briefly, what hides behind the reference 5940? An ultra-thin, cushion-shaped, self-winding perpetual calendar timepiece; in a word, the essence of what a Patek Philippe watch is.
First – and this is where the little extra lies – it is a cushion-shaped watch. Whereas most of the watches are round, the Patek Philippe 5940g comes with a hybrid case, not round, not square… It is inspired by the 1920s style that Patek has always loved to use in their classical watches. It measures 37mm x 44.6mm. Don’t be fooled by the latter figure, as it represents the dimension from lug to lug. On the wrist, it is perfectly sized, acceptable with a suit and tie – but not necessarily requiring them. It offers enough presence so as not to be considered obsolete nor too dressy. The dial has a very nice silvery-white colour with applied Breguet numerals in 18k white gold, once again a classic touch for Patek. And speaking of the indexes, have a look at the precision and beauty of the details in the close-up below.
The perfectly shaped indexes, sharply cut holes and very finely designed indications are a real feast for the eyes. It is not at all showy, ostentatious or demonstrative. But these seemingly outdated details (the unusual shape of the numbers or the very classical colour codes) lend so much charm to the Patek Philippe 5940g. They really have a great deal to do with this Patek’s restrained exclusivity. In terms of design and complications, it is a real connoisseur’s watch. The Perpetual Calendar is classically displayed in 3 sub-dials. The month and leap year are located at 3, the date and moon-phase at 6 and the day and 24-hour indicator at 9. And even with such complications, the Patek 5940 remains very thin, at 8.6mm – which leads us to the mechanics.
The Patek Philippe 5940g is equipped with the famous Calibre 240 Q, the perpetual calendar edition of the micro-rotor movement introduced in 1977. Of course, Patek has modernized it (with the Gyromax balance wheel, for example). And considering the beauty of the layout, we won’t blame them for keeping this movement. It is adorned with Geneva stripes, it comes with perlage on the main plate, hand-polished and -bevelled angles for the bridges, and of course it is stamped with the Patek Philippe Seal. This self-winding movement boasts 48 hours of power reserve and beats at 3hz. It measures only 3.88mm in height.
On the wrist, the Patek Philippe 5940g Perpetual Calendar brings a very classical feeling and a great degree of comfort, due to its reasonable size and its low weight. The old-fashioned charm that we mentioned earlier is, rather than any sort of a flaw, in fact most certainly the main strength of this brilliant timepiece. It is clean, soft and has something different, which makes it stand out from the crowd. Where the round edition of this Perpetual Calendar – the iconic reference 5140 – can be considered too serious, this one breaks away from severity without forgetting the brand’s traditions. One single regret concerning the 18k white gold edition is its cold colour scheme. The yellow gold is certainly more pleasant, without losing its discreteness. But this is clearly a matter of subjective tastes.
The Patek Philippe 5940g Perpetual Calendar comes on a shiny black alligator strap with pin buckle and an interchangeable set of casebacks (full or sapphire-crystal). It is priced at € 71,300 Eur.
Editor’s note: Don’t forget that next Monday (October 13th, 2014) is Patek’s 175th anniversary. We’ll be in Geneva, at the Manufacture, for a live report of the novelties presented. Stay tuned on Monochrome-Watches!