In 2006, Patek Philippe introduced the reference 5140 Perpetual Calendar, as an eventual replacement for the legendary 3940, which was first produced in 1985.
According to Patek Philippe, the 3940 was the first highly complicated watch in regular production. Before that, they had already been producing perpetual calendar wristwatches since 1925. So today, it is no surprise that their Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar — is a brand icon.
The four 5140 references that were previously available are: white gold with an opaline white dial (Ref. 5140G-001), yellow gold with an opaline-white dial (Ref. 5140J-001), rose gold with a brown sunburst dial (Ref. 5140R-001) and platinum with a blue sunburst dial (Ref. 5140P-001).
For 2014, the two new variations are: platinum with an ebony-black sunburst dial and diamonds (Ref. 5140P-013) and rose gold with a silvery opaline dial (Ref. 5140R-011). Apart from the new dials, everything else is the same. As it should be. You don’t mess with perfection.
The 5140 comes in a fully polished round case, with a convex bezel, and measures a sleek 37.2 mm by 8.90 mm. Functions include hours, minutes, moon phases, 24-hour dial, and perpetual calendar (day, date, month, and leap year indicator). Hour markers are hand applied (handset for the diamond model). The hour and minute hands are dauphine-shaped, with leaf-shaped hands for all of the other indications.
The time is set by pulling out the crown one-stop and wound at the pushed-in position. The perpetual calendar is set by recessed push buttons on the side of the case. At 9 o’clock: day-of-week correction; between 11 and 12 o’clock: date correction; between 12 and 1 o’clock: month correction and at 6 o’clock: is the moon phase corrector. A correction stylus in ebony and 18K white gold is included to adjust the date functions.
The ultra-thin caliber 240Q is also unchanged. It’s a mere 3.88 mm thick and has a 22K micro-rotor that allows the movement to be fully appreciated, without sacrificing the convenience of automatic winding. The mainplate features a perlage finish. The bridges and rotor have beautiful Geneva stripes. And all edges have been perfectly beveled by hand. The movement consists of 275 total parts, 27 of which are jewels, and a power reserve of 48-hours. The Gyromax balance wheel oscillates back and forth at 3Hz (or 21,600 times per hour).
The Patek Philippe 5140 Perpetual Calendar in platinum is paired with a hand-stitched shiny black alligator strap with square scales and a matching fold-over clasp. The rose gold model is paired with a hand-stitched shiny brown alligator strap with square scales and a matching fold-over clasp. Water-resistance is 30 meters. An interchangeable solid caseback and sapphire crystal caseback are included.
When we met with Patek Philippe at Baselworld back in March, there was a discussion over what we, as guys, thought about a men’s watch with diamonds. The editors in attendance from Hodinkee, Gear Patrol, Timezone, and ProfessionalWatches — all unanimously agreed at the time that we preferred watches without diamonds. However, in retrospect, I have to admit, of all the men’s watches with diamonds I have ever seen, this is by far my favorite. The execution of the diamonds is so subtle, you barely even notice they are there.
The Patek Philippe Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar is $91,000 in rose gold and $115,700 in platinum with the diamond-set dial.