The 5140 is the last in a long line of Patek Philippe's automatic Perpetual Calendars, a line that is widely considered to be their first serially produced, truly complicated watch. First introduced in 2006, it took over the throne from the 3940, now widely considered one of the most important watches in Patek's modern history. The 5140 continued the legacy of the micro-rotor calibre 240 Q, but changed in many small details. Today, it is the standard to which all other modern automatic perpetual calendars are measured.
Most noticeably, the case proportion changed to 37.2mm but at the same 9mm thin, leading to a very flat overall case which feels made to slip under a cuff. The bezel also changed from concave to convex, which creates very different reflections. The dial font and size also changed over to a more contemporary aesthetic. Those with a very keen eye will also note that the deployant clasp's Calatrava Cross is larger with a thinner surround. Its calibre 240 Q is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful complicated micro-rotor movements ever made, with a Gyromax balance. Operating it feels as if each component is made of granite, the tolerances are so precise that pulling out the crown has the kind of mechanical pleasure that an open-gated vintage Ferrari 6-speed or well oiled shotgun pump also delivers.
But the 5140 is much more than just a successor to a throne. It is a watch which feels effortlessly elegant in just about any attire, understated yet perfect in every detail. And when I say every detail, one of the most impressive things about the 5140 is that you can grab a 6x loupe or a 25x loupe and check out a subdial hand or anglage on its balancecock, you'll find the experience totally unchanged. No matter how closely you study the details, the finishing on its components remains perfect. This is a watch which does not shout for attention, but is quietly exceptional and just gets better the closer you look. Fitting then, that this example has had just one very thoughtful owner from new, who purchased it in order to celebrate the end of a collecting journey, the end all and be all.