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  • Manufacturer: Patek Philippe
    Year: 1973 (cased in platinum in 1997)
    Reference No: 3448/100
    Movement No: 1’119’323
    Case No: 2’998’722
    Model Name: “The Blue Royale”
    Material: Platinum
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 27-460 Q, 37 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Platinum Patek Philippe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 37.5mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Delivered with a Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present timepiece with sapphire hour markers in 1973 and its subsequent date of sale on 18th February 1974. The Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives further remarks the replacement of the case with a platinum one bearing the number 2’998’722 in 1997 during a service.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the world of fine and rare timepieces, it is fair to say that a handful are offered every season at auction, however there are some pieces that are so utterly rare that no one really knows when it will resurface again, until it actually reappears, making it truly a momentous event for the community. When one mentions the term “fine and rare”, nine times out of ten the name Patek Philippe will be mentioned and for all the right reasons, such as the present example.

    Having launched many of the world’s most impressive timepieces as well as being the first ones to innovate them, no other brand can be so closely associated with perpetual calendar wristwatches than Patek Philippe. Being the first manufacturer to release the world’s first perpetual calendar wristwatch produced in series via the ref. 1526 in 1941, they were also the first to introduce the world premier self-winding perpetual calendar wristwatch in 1962, the ref. 3448, which was the only self-winding perpetual calendar wristwatch available in the market for the next 16 years.

    Dubbed by Italian collectors as the “Padellone” due to its distinctive case design that mimics the aesthetics of a “frying pan”. The 37.5mm diameter case with clean and angular lines paired tastefully with its unmissable pointy lugs epitomizes the evolution of watchmaking design of the 1960s where designs were bolder and its 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, the neat and refined appeal is further enhanced. Highly regarded by the community as one of the most loved and significant Patek Philippe references, the ref. 3448 embodies vintage essence of watchmaking combined with innovative and futuristic design.

    Discontinued in 1986, together along with its short-lived counterpart ref. 3450 equipped with a leap year indication, it is believed that an estimated 568 examples of the ref. 3448 alone were produced over the course of its production across all metals. It is estimated that 450 examples were cased in yellow gold, 130 examples in white gold with only 6 examples cased in pink gold (from which only 1 example is known in the market) and 2 known examples cased in platinum that were originally born with gold cases. Throughout its production a total of four series of the reference were introduced which can be determined as such below.

    The Patek Philippe ref. 3448 in series with its distinctive characteristics:

    - The first series features small calendar ring, indexes closer to the center of the dial and engraved/enameled minute divisions.

    - The second series introduces beady minute divisions.

    - The third series maintains the beady divisions but introduces the large numerals for the date rings and indexes closer to the outer edge of the dial.

    -The fourth series - exemplified by the present timepiece - features printed minute divisions.

    The two known examples cased in platinum were both upgraded in 1997 including an example with movement number 1'119'056 from 1966 previously in the collection of Mr. Jean-Claude Biver, which PHILLIPS had the privilege to offer during The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN (lot 224) in May 2018. The present example with movement number 1’119’323 from 1973 is the only example known with unique sapphire-set indexes and transparent caseback. To further exemplify its importance, the present example is one of six known ref. 3448 to feature a sapphire display caseback, possibly a result from the specific request from the original owner to admire the finest self-winding caliber at the time, cal. 27-460 Q.


    Dial

    To further enhance the rarity of the present example, Patek Philippe used the last available version (fourth series) of the 3448 dial which featured printed minute divisions. The present example displays a dial that was tailored with the addition of 11 brilliant-cut sapphire-set indexes upon the request of the original owner. The creation of the dial in 1997 is further confirmed with an engraving on the back of the dial featuring “97,II” which indicates that it was specifically completed in 1997, either in the second quarter or November. Adding to its authenticity, it is further engraved with the movement number of the present example “1119323” underneath the day and month windows.

    While it is known that the ref. 3448 was available for order with diamond and ruby-set indexes, the present timepiece 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 in its case, unique.

    Publically known examples of Patek Philippe ref. 3448 with precious gem-set dials:

    Ruby
    - 3448 in yellow gold with integrated bracelet – Movement no. 1’119’038 (1964) – Baguette-cut ruby-set indexes.
    - 3448 in yellow gold – Movement no. 1’119’187 (1971) – Brilliant-cut ruby-set indexes.

    Diamond
    - 3448 in white gold with integrated bracelet – Movement no. 1119366 (1975) – Baguette-cut diamond-set indexes.
    - 3448 in yellow gold with integrated bracelet – Movement no. 1119369 (1974) – Baguette-cut diamond-set indexes.
    - 3448 in yellow gold – Movement no. 1’119’088 – Baguette-cut diamond-set indexes.

    Sapphire
    - 3448 in platinum – Movement no. 1’119’323 (1973 upgraded in 1997) – Brilliant-cut sapphire-set indexes.

    The Royal Blue Gemstone

    Hailing from the family of the rare and desirable corundum, the royal blue gemstone is one of the rarest gems in the world due to its limited sources and vivacious spectrum of colours consisting of aluminum oxide, iron, titanium, chromium, vanadium or magnesium. In ancient Greece and Rome, sapphires were conceived by kings and queens as a symbol of heaven and that it protected their owners from envy and harm. Sapphires are found in various sources such as Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Thailand and Burma with extremely rare and the highest of quality stones from Kashmir. The rarity, quality and value of sapphires are determined by the intensity of the colour and hue, size and clarity. Natural sapphires of the highest quality are known as “Royal Blue” or “Cornflower Blue” and are extremely rare today since the establishment of the Kimberly process banning the importation of Burmese sapphires and rubies to the US. Today in Thailand, sapphires continue to hold an important place in the collection of the country’s Royals and elites. Furthermore, it is believed that Thailand is responsible for almost 80% of the world’s trade of precious gemstones including sapphires.

    Patek Philippe ref. 3448 Platinum case

    Both referenced 3448/100, the “/100” signified the two examples to be featured in a transitional case that was slightly tweaked to fit the newly incorporated sapphire crystal at the time. An extremely rare occasion, these platinum examples were both special orders by the original owners who were important and loyal clients of Patek Philippe. Approved by the Stern family, the commission for these unique pieces taking place 11 years after the discontinuation of the reference had to be re-produced.

    More importantly the present example features a case that is stamped with the “PT950” hallmark in between the bottom lugs to the left, a rather unusual, yet interesting position to stamp the hallmark as it is traditionally stamped behind the lugs. Beneath the top left lug, it is stamped with the “PP&Co.” hallmark. Furthermore, another peculiar feature of the case is that the inner middle part of the case is stamped with “Patek Philippe Geneve” as well as the case and reference numbers and platinum hallmark solidifying the identity of the present timepiece.

    While it is aesthetically similar to its gold counterparts, the dimensions of the present platinum case differs slightly. Please refer to the diagrams on the page.


    The present example is a long lost treasure that has been in the shielding of one of the most important European collections since it was last discovered in Bangkok, Thailand in 1997 from a very important collector. 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, the highly important and unique Patek Philippe ref. 3448/100 in platinum and with sapphire-set indexes (Movement number: 1’119’323) that has been extremely well-preserved over the last 23 years of mystery. Boasting an extremely crisp case with strong bevels and edges that are further complimented with a clean and unrestored unique dial, the present example is definitely one of the most celebrated ref. 3448 to be offered to the public. Ticking all boxes for condition, rarity and importance, this is truly a timepiece for the discerned collector that is perhaps looking for the missing puzzle in their collection. For collectors of rare sapphires and gemstones, the present example Patek Philippe ref. 3448/100 in platinum with sapphire-set indexes confirmed by an Extract from the Archives from Patek Philippe is rarer than any Kashmir sapphires, as there is only one example of the present timepiece ever made.

  • 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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Property from an Important Collector

852

Ref. 3448/100
A possibly unique, highly important and astonishingly well-preserved platinum perpetual calendar wristwatch with moonphases, sapphire-set indexes and sapphire display caseback

1973 (cased in platinum in 1997)
37.5mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

In Excess of HKD10M (USD1.28M)

Sold for HK$17,795,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031
[email protected]

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIII

Hong Kong Auctions 25-26 November 2021