Patek Philippe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV Geneva Friday, November 5, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1985
    Reference No: 3450
    Movement No: 1'119'783
    Case No: 2'808'560
    Model Name: "Padellone"
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 27-460 Q, 37 jewels, stamped with the Geneva Seal
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe buckle
    Dimensions: 37.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1985 and its subsequent sale on March 15, 1985.

  • Catalogue Essay

    With the advent of the 1960s, taste in watches shifted and we see that the 1960s to the 1980s are dominated by timepieces with clean dials and elaborate cases (quite the opposite of the trend prominent until the mid 20th century). This is why case condition is paramount when analysing such pieces: as they are usually defined by sharp edges and corners, surprising - sometimes “over-the-top” - case architectures and at times remarkably intricate metalworks (bas-relief, engravings, guilloché patterns etc.), a less than careful polish has the power to dramatically alter the overall look of the watch. Thus, the emotional payback of these watches is usually strongly linked to the case condition. Luckily for its new owner, the present watch appears to feature an unpolished case: all the edges, including the subtle step to the bezel, are absolutely sharp, the satin finish to the band is unspoiled and the 2 hallmarks - stamped to the band, a location notoriously sensitive to polishing - are as crisp as ever. The caseback is in equal condition too, even retaining without a hint of fading the tiny “18K” stamp to the lip which indicates very little wear.

    Such an unspoiled case can be explained by the fact that the present watch appeared at auction (twice) more than 30 years ago: in 1989 in New York, and in 1990 in St. Moritz. The current owner, an Italian collector, acquired the piece at the latter sale and hardly ever wore it, thus explaining the remarkable case condition: it was offered at auction less than a decade after its production and it has practically never seen a wrist since. In fact, when looking at the picture from the 1990 catalogue, one can see that not only the strap is exactly the same, but it is also in the same condition without any kind of bending or wear.

    Launched in 1981, reference 3450 was the successor to reference 3448 - Patek Philippe's very first automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch. While aesthetically similar to reference 3448, it most notably features a leap year indication on the dial. In addition, its case back is slightly smaller and is fitted with a "lip", enabling it to be easily removed. It is the first serially made Patek Philippe wristwatch featuring leap year indication allowing for an enormously simplified calendar setting procedure: earlier models required a potentially very lengthy synchronization procedure to manually identify the leap year and then advance to the current year in the cycle.

    The case design of the model dates back to the 1950s (ref. 3448 was launched in 1962) and it is an ode to futuristic design: the dial is airy and clean and the aesthetic impact of the watch is entrusted to the sculpted case defined by the straight, angular lugs, the large sloped bezel (thus its Italian nickname “Padellone” - meaning “big pan”) and the satin-finished band.

    Technically, the model represents one of the unchallenged pinnacles of watchmaking. It is powered by cal. 27-460Q, the perpetual (Q: Quantième) upgrade of calibre 27-460 which is considered one of the best - if not the best - automatic movement of all times. It represents the final (and surprisingly not so well known) evolution of the famous cal. 12-600, the first Patek Philippe automatic movement. As Rolex held the patent for the automatic rotor, Patek Philippe patiently waited for its expiration and in the meanwhile put their R&D department to work, for decades, on an automatic movement. the resulting cal. 12-600 was already superb, but real life feedbacks for used for small incremental improvements. When the company deemed to have gotten as close to perfection as possible, they renamed cal. 12-600 as cal. 27-460. Thus, this is the most complex (perpetual calendar) variation of the final evolution of what is considered the most advanced vintage (and, according to some, of all times) automatic movement.

    Also due to its short run (1981 - 1985) Patek Philippe produced very limited quantities of reference 3450, typically casing the model in yellow gold. To date, scholars estimate that Patek Philippe produced only 237 examples in total, making it one of the rarest Patek Philippe perpetual calendar models ever produced in series - much more rare than its predecessor, ref. 3448, which was made in approximately 600 pieces.

  • Artist Biography

    Patek Philippe

    Swiss • 1839

    Since its founding in 1839, this famous Geneva-based firm has been surprising its clientele with superbly crafted timepieces fitted with watchmaking's most prestigious complications. Traditional and conservative designs are found across Patek Philippe's watches made throughout their history — the utmost in understated elegance.

    Well-known for the Graves Supercomplication — a highly complicated pocket watch that was the world’s most complicated watch for 50 years — this family-owned brand has earned a reputation of excellence around the world. Patek's complicated vintage watches hold the highest number of world records for results achieved at auction compared with any other brand. For collectors, key models include the reference 1518, the world's first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph, and its successor, the reference 2499. Other famous models include perpetual calendars such as the ref. 1526, ref. 3448 and 3450, chronographs such as the reference 130, 530 and 1463, as well as reference 1436 and 1563 split seconds chronographs. Patek is also well-known for their classically styled, time-only "Calatrava" dress watches, and the "Nautilus," an iconic luxury sports watch first introduced in 1976 as the reference 3700 that is still in production today.

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Ref. 3450
An extremely well preserved, elegant and scarce perpetual calendar automatic wristwatch with moonphases and leap year indication

37.5mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF150,000 - 300,000 

Sold for CHF252,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East Director

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021