Caliber 240 Q has been faithfully serving the Gregorian calendar for quite some time now. During Baselworld the legendary movement was launched in a magnificent new, thin, cushion-shaped case.

At Patek Philippe, cushion-shaped watches have the status of true icons. The now-traditional shape became fashionable in the 1920s, the decade when the Art Deco movement established itself in Europe. Patek Philippe took up the trend at this time and continued to use it throughout the ensuing decades as a sustainable design philosophy that continues to manifest itself in the present day within the Gondolo collection. Over the years, the cushion-shaped case became a true design classic of timeless beauty remaining surprisingly up-to-date, decade after decade. The renaissance of this shape at Patek Philippe occurred in 2010 with the launch of the ultra-thin split-seconds monopusher chronograph Reference 5950 in stainless steel. Two years down the road, the new Reference 5940 launched at this year’s Baselworld, continuing this fascinating story with a trendy, slim profile.

The thin 44.6 X 37 mm case of the new model has a strong masculine appeal, mixing the silhouette of the classic, round Calatrava with the profile of the sportier Nautilus models, thus addressing a style with lines inspired directly by the Art Deco movement. Patek Philippe actually considers the cushion-shaped case (or “turtle shape,” as company president Thierry Stern likes to describe it) of the new Reference 5940 a reflection of a design vocabulary reminiscent of an epoch when the manufacture presented the first-ever wristwatch with a perpetual calendar. Launched in 1925, watch no. 97,975 had the traditional indications of a perpetual calendar on its face, lacking only one feature we have come to consider mandatory today for these kind of watches: the four-year cycle window or hand.

The front and back of Patek Philippe Reference 5940 © Patek Philippe

Movement

One finds Patek Philippe Caliber 240 Q powering Reference 5940, a magnificent example of the company’s fluent style and technical skills in the art of horology.

Presently also being used in Reference 5139 and Reference 7140 (ladies’), Caliber 240 Q is an ultra-thin mechanical self-winding movement for which the manufacture received patent CH 595 653 in 1975. Despite measuring only 2.53 mm in height, base caliber 240 still manages to incorporate a beautiful off-center 22-karat gold micro rotor integrated directly into the base plate. The additional module, comprising all the components necessary for the perpetual calendar (day, date, month and leap year indication by hands), only adds 1.35 mm to the ensemble. In total, the 3.88 mm of Caliber 240Q concentrate an incredible 275 components including the moon phase and am/pm indication. And for those who believe the thinner the movement the more difficult it gets to manage and guarantee accuracy, Patek Philippe answers with a remarkable -3/+2 seconds’ deviation per day, totally in sync with the demands of the Patek Philippe seal and exceeding the values required for officially certified chronometers. To achieve this result, Patek Philippe relies on the advanced technology of its Gyromax balance wheel, oscillating at a stable 3 Hz or 21,600 vibrations per hour.

Patek Philippe Caliber 240 Q © Patek Philippe

Dial

The dial of Reference 5940 manages to fulfill the most difficult task of all when considering complicated wristwatches that have to display multiple indications: time, calendar, moon phases and the am/pm indications are well distributed over a grained, creamy white dial in a manner that does not compromise clear and easy readability of the ensemble. This can be attributed to the fact that Patek Philippe has opted for analogue indication of the perpetual calendar functions as opposed to the digital window style that the marque has been using these last few years. Here, as in other Patek Philippe perpetual calendars, good legibility remains a strong characteristic.

The elegance of thin: a side view of Reference 5940 © Patek Philippe

And, finally, one important question: can the watch aficionado ask for more? Perhaps yes. After all, a perpetual calendar should allow for more than just the 48-hour long power reserve promised by Caliber 240 Q. If the weekend happens to start earlier or end later in the week, picking the watch up again after just three days may require the owner to deal with an involuntary resetting of the calendar indications.