In the world of fine and rare timepieces, it is fair to say that a handful are offered at auction every season. However, there are some pieces that are so utterly rare that no one really knows when they will resurface again, until they actually reappear, making it truly a momentous event for the community. This timepiece is such an example.
Dubbed by Italian collectors as the “Padellone” for its distinctive case design that mimics the aesthetics of a frying pan, the Ref. 3448 epitomizes the evolution of watchmaking in the 1960s, when designs were bolder and the aesthetics refined. Matching concomitantly with its mesmeric case, the perfectly symmetrical dial consisting of day and month apertures above the signature at 12 o’clock and moonphases along with its date ring at 6 o’clock further enhances the neat and refined appeal.
While it is known that the Ref. 3448 was available for order with diamond and ruby-set indexes, the present timepiece — the “Blue Royale” — is the only example of the reference in platinum with sapphire-set indexes. Moreover, to our knowledge and through extensive research, the present example is perhaps the only complicated Patek Philippe reference cased in platinum from the respective era (disregarding the Ref. 3970 and onwards) to feature sapphire-set indexes, making this already rare timepiece a unique one.
The Blue Royale is a long-lost treasure that has been in one of the most important European collections since it was last discovered in Bangkok in 1997. It was offered at an auction in 1998 in the same exact configuration with sapphire-set indexes and a sapphire display caseback.
Phillips is extremely humbled and very delighted to present to our community of connoisseurs this highly important and unique Patek Philippe Ref. 3448/100 in platinum with sapphire-set indexes that has been extremely well-preserved over the last 23 years. For collectors of rare sapphires and gemstones, the present example is rarer than any Kashmir sapphire, as there is only one example of the present timepiece ever made.