Accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificat d'Origine et de Garantie and Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with white gold bracelet in 1971 and its subsequent sale on 1 March 1972. Furthermore delivered with Patek Philippe period information leaflet and sales brochure. It has never been offered in public before and is believed to be one of only 7 examples of reference 3448 in white gold with original, detachable bracelet to appear in public to date.
This watch was purchased on 2 March 1972 by original owner at Frei + Co., Heerbrugg, Switzerland, and has remained in the same family ever since. He had ordered it already on 2 September 1971 with the white gold "maille" bracelet as stated on the order confirmation, on which the vendor furthermore mentions "You can be assured that with this watch you will own one of the most exclusive timepieces. Patek Philippe's top class products are manufactured in exceedingly small quantities. As I have been told, only a small annual series of reference 3448 is made within this limited manufacturing programme. It is therefore understandable that already at the turn of the half-year, the 1971 edition was out of stock. I am truly pleased being able to deliver such a rare watch and that you show the necessary comprehension and patience for the delayed delivery date".
Since its purchase over 30 years ago and until its consignment to this auction in 2007, the watch has remained in the same family, hardly used and most of the time locked away in a vault. Recently overhauled by the workshops of Patek Philippe in Geneva, it is furthermore in an excellent overall condition, still retaining the protective sticker to the back and the International Service tag. A copy of the invoice dated 15 January 2007 amounting to Euro 4,538.66 will be delivered with the watch.
The combination of its excellent overall condition, presence of the original certificate, invoice and tag, its absolute freshness to the market and private provenance render this watch an exquisite treasure for the discerning collector.
Introduced into the market in 1962, it was at the time the first self-winding perpetual calendar wristwatch. According to literature, a total of 586 examples were made, the majority in yellow gold cases. Few watches have been cased in white gold and only two examples in platinum are known to date.
Reference 3448 was fitted with the celebrated calibre 27-460, amongst the most sophisticated and lavish automatic movements ever made. It was later upgraded with Patek Philippe's patented perpetual mechanism fitted on the movement plate underneath the dial and renamed 27-460 Q. In 1981, reference 3450 was introduced into the market with the improved 27'460 QB (Quantième Bissextile) calibre. The model differs from its predecessor by the modified leap year indication, the eccentric small window to 4 o'clock. The first series was made with a simple red disk and Arabic numerals, the second with Roman I, II, III and IV leap year indication.
Production of both reference 3448 and 3450 was discontinued in 1985 when reference 3940 was launched.
For an example of reference 3450 in yellow gold see lot 191 in this auction.
Reference 3448 is illustrated in Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p. 288 and in Ore d'Oro by Jader Barracca, Giampiero Negretti and Franco Nencini, p. 45.