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PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE, EXCEPTIONAL AND HISTORICALLY HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD AUTOMATIC PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH ENGLISH CALENDAR, LEAP YEAR INDICATION AND “NO MOON”
PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE, EXCEPTIONAL AND HISTORICALLY HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD AUTOMATIC PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH ENGLISH CALENDAR, LEAP YEAR INDICATION AND “NO MOON”
PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE, EXCEPTIONAL AND HISTORICALLY HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD AUTOMATIC PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH ENGLISH CALENDAR, LEAP YEAR INDICATION AND “NO MOON”
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PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE, EXCEPTIONAL AND HISTORICALLY HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD AUTOMATIC PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH ENGLISH CALENDAR, LEAP YEAR INDICATION AND “NO MOON”
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Lot incorporates material from endangered species … Read more ALAN BANBERY’S UNIQUE PATEK PHILIPPEREFERENCE 3448J ‘SENZA LUNA’WITH PROTOTYPE LEAP YEAR INDICATION- A PATEK PHILIPPE ICON –
PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE, EXCEPTIONAL AND HISTORICALLY HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD AUTOMATIC PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH ENGLISH CALENDAR, LEAP YEAR INDICATION AND “NO MOON”

REF. 3448 “ALAN BANBERY”, SPECIALLY MODIFIED BY REQUEST OF HENRI AND PHILIPPE STERN IN 1975 AS A UNIQUE PIECE FOR PRESENTATION TO ALAN BANBERY, MANUFACTURED IN 1970

Details
PATEK PHILIPPE. A UNIQUE, EXCEPTIONAL AND HISTORICALLY HIGHLY IMPORTANT 18K GOLD AUTOMATIC PERPETUAL CALENDAR WRISTWATCH WITH ENGLISH CALENDAR, LEAP YEAR INDICATION AND “NO MOON”
REF. 3448 “ALAN BANBERY”, SPECIALLY MODIFIED BY REQUEST OF HENRI AND PHILIPPE STERN IN 1975 AS A UNIQUE PIECE FOR PRESENTATION TO ALAN BANBERY, MANUFACTURED IN 1970
Movement: Cal. 27-460 Q, automatic, modified by Patek Philippe master watchmaker Max Berney in 1975, stamped twice with the Geneva seal, 37 jewels, signed
Dial: Opaline silvered, uniquely modified by Stern Frères in 1975, days of the week and months in English, date ring without central moon phase aperture, red leap-year indication, signed
Case: Snap on back with engraved monogram ‘AB’ for Alan Banbery, 37.5 mm. diam., signed
With: 18k gold Patek Philippe buckle, Extract from the Archives dated 2020 confirming production of the present watch in 1970 with an 18K yellow gold case, opaline silvered dial with yellow gold laped indexes and confirming the indication of the moon phases was replaced by the indication of the leap years during a service in Patek Philippe workshops in 1975. Further accompanied by a copy of the Extract from the Archives dated 1999 confirming the watch as a unique piece and noting that the conversion of the movement from a moon phase to a leap year indication was carried out by Patek Philippe's master watchmaker, Max Berney.
Remark: Mythical watch
Provenance
Presented by Henri and Philippe Stern to Alan Banbery in 1975
Alan Banbery’s personal watch until 1999
Sold privately to an Italian collector
Sotheby’s Geneva, 16th November 2008, lot 214, sold to an Italian collector
An important Asian collection since 2010
Special Notice

Lot incorporates material from endangered species that is not for sale and is shown for display purposes only. The endangered species strap shown with the Lot is for display purposes only and is not for sale.Upon sale, the watch will not be supplied to a buyer outside Hong Kong with any watch strap.

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Alexandre Bigler
Alexandre Bigler Watches & Wristwatches

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Lot Essay

Alan Banberys Unique Leap Year Indication Reference 3448J

A collector’s dream and one of the stars of an important private collection for over a decade, Christie’s is greatly honoured to present to the world’s most discerning collectors the exceptional opportunity to acquire a timepiece of almost mythical status. Of immense historical and horological significance, the present watch is surely one of the most legendary wristwatches associated with Patek Philippe and it is offered here with the same sense of excitement that accompanies the appearance of any world-class work of art at auction.
Alan Banbery’s yellow gold 3448 perpetual calendar wristwatch can be described, without exaggeration, as one of the most famous wristwatches in the world. So famous in fact, that it is now unquestionably within the pantheon of Patek Philippe’s greatest historic timepieces. To the true connoisseur of important vintage wristwatches, the mere mention of the name ‘Banbery’ brings the unmistakable and instantly recognizable minimalist aesthetic of this unique reference 3448 immediately to mind.
A legend in his own lifetime, Alan Banbery was, apart from the Stern family themselves, perhaps the key figure at Patek Philippe in the second half of the 20th century – one of the most exciting and crucial periods of the company’s history. The present reference 3448 was Alan Banbery’s personal watch for almost 25 years, indeed the case back is engraved with his monogram ‘AB’. Unsurprisingly for a figure of such immense stature at Patek Philippe, Banbery’s wristwatch is no ‘ordinary’ reference 3448 but a completely unique piece that was specially adapted for him in Patek Philippe’s workshops in 1975. Furthermore, this watch was presented directly to Alan Banbery by the family-run Patek Philippe company’s owners, the great Henri and Philippe Stern.


What makes Alan Banberys Reference 3448 Unique and Important?

The Alan Banbery wristwatch is a stand-alone watch among all reference 3448s. Entirely unique and exquisitely good looking, it is the only fully provenanced, fully documented, specially commissioned example of a so-called ’Senza Luna’, it is also the only ‘Senza Luna’ to have a leap year indication. As such it is highly important both as a key part of Patek Philippe’s history and as part of the company’s experimentation with technical and aesthetic developments in the mid-1970s.

The reference 3448 automatic perpetual calendar is always highly desirable as one of Patek Philippe’s great classic models of the 1960s and 70s, a total of only 586 pieces were made over an almost 20 year production period. Whilst the model’s stunning aesthetic, clean lines and scarcity have ensured its eternal popularity, the standout feature of the 3448 is its prominent moon phase indication. However, there are seven recorded examples of the reference, including the present watch, which exist without the moon phases. These seven fabled and enigmatic watches have become known as ‘Senza Luna’ or ‘Without Moon’. All the ‘Senza Luna’ 3448s were originally made with the moon phase function and aperture but were subsequently remodelled in Patek Philippe’s workshops either by special request or as prototypes. Set apart from all other ‘Senza Luna’ 3448s is Alan Banbery’s watch which has the unique mechanical conversion to permit the display of a leap-year indication. The mechanical conversion work for the leap-year function is recorded as being done by Patek Philippe’s master watchmaker Max Berney. Berney removed the moon phase disk and modified the movement so that a leap year indication could be displayed with a corresponding small hand. The dial was uniquely adapted by Stern Frères as a special order at the request of Patek Philippe by creating a new subsidiary dial displaying leap year.

In presenting this highly individual watch to Alan Banbery, probably to celebrate his 10 years with the company, Patek Philippe were recognizing Banbery’s achievements and devotion to the firm. Additionally, from a commercial point of view, the Sterns knew that the fact that this watch would be seen on Alan Banbery’s wrist as a brand ambassador would certainly create great curiosity and intrigue among Patek Philippe collectors, perhaps inspiring them to own something similar.

Literature:
This watch, including a detailed images is prominently published in : Patek Philippe Wristwatches, Huber and Banbery, pp. 220-221.
The present watch is also illustrated in : The Blue Book 2, Eric Tortella, 2018 edition, pp. 552-553.


STUDY OF ALAN BANBERYS UNIQUE REFERENCE 3448J




Dial
The solid gold dial was made by Stern Frères in 1969-1970 and modified again by Stern Frères in 1975 at the request of Patek Philippe in order to close the moon phase aperture and replace it with the unique subsidiary dial for the leap-year indication. The engraved-enamelled signature and date of the subsidiary dial are still completely original and beautifully raised. The leap year indication inside the date, instead of the moon phases, and its sector are in red, printed by transfer, the technique that was used in the mid-1970s. The “silky” dial surface texture and colour matches perfectly with the best quality dials made by Stern Frères for Patek Philippe. Named ‘satiné-opalin’ it is especially seen on these complicated references including 3448s or 2499s. For the present watch, a special set of hands has been made to overlay the indication of the leap year and the date from the same axis.


Case
The well-preserved case was made by master casemaker Antoine Gerlach and delivered in November 1969, it is constructed in three pieces in 18K yellow gold with snap-on bezel and back. The elongated triangular and faceted lugs were welded to the case, date correctors
and hand-forged winding crown (with the ‘Calatrava’ pattern) in yellow gold. The central part of the case is horizontally brushed, the full bezel and bevelled periphery of the exterior of the case-back are mirror
polished. The centre of the case back is engraved with the famous ‘AB’ monogram for Alan Banbery.


Movement
Made in 1969, calibre 27 460 Q (Q for Quantième), Gyromax balance, stamped twice with the Geneva Seal, modified by Max Berney, Master Watchmaker at Patek Philippe.

We are grateful to Eric Tortella for his assistance and study in researching this watch.


Reference 3448
Reference 3448, introduced into the market in 1962, 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. Only around 130 were cased in white gold, 2 in platinum and 1 in pink gold are known to exist to date.

Reference 3448 was fitted with the celebrated caliber 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.

Reference 3448 was available with four different dial styles:

-enamelled small baton minute divisions from 1962 to circa 1965
-beady minute divisions and small date ring from 1965 to circa 1973
-beady minute divisions and large date ring: 1971 to circa 1978
-printed, not enamelled small baton minute divisions: after 1978

In 1981, reference 3450 was introduced into the market with the improved 27'460 QB (Quantime Bissextile) caliber. The model differs from its predecessor by the modified leap year indication, the eccentric small window to 4 o'clock.

With the launch of reference 3940 in 1985, production of both references 3448 and 3450 was discontinued.

Alan Banbery’s appointment as Patek Philippe’s Director of Sales for English-speaking Territories in 1965 was the beginning of an almost 40-year career with the company. A career which saw him become one of the most influential figures in the development not only of Patek Philippe’s market position but also in the company’s commitment to the preservation and acquisition of historic Patek Philippe watches and other horological masterpieces. To this end, Philippe Stern installed Alan Banbery as keeper of Patek Philippe’s private collection, the nucleus of which reflected his father Henri Stern’s love of fine enamel work. For Philippe Stern, collecting the best examples of the world’s greatest watches and clocks became a fascination. With Alan Banbery’s guidance in making acquisitions, the collection became so outstanding that it culminated in the opening of the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva in 2001, after which Alan Banbery retired.
In 1982, Alan Banbery along with Martin Huber had published the first academic book on Patek Philippe pocket watches. In 1988 it was followed by a volume on Patek Philippe wristwatches (featuring the present watch on pages 220-221). Both publications are sought after as important reference works to the present day.
Alan Banbery’s illustrious career with Patek Philippe spanned one of the most fascinating periods in the development and evolution of the wristwatch. Working closely with Philippe Stern, the two men steered Patek Philippe safely through the turbulent waters of the 1970s with their unwavering commitment to excellence in Patek Philippe’s products. This philosophy combined with a strong buying presence in the auction rooms from the 1980s onwards enhanced Patek Philippe’s reputation immeasurably, thus ensuring the company’s future and its position today at the very pinnacle of the finest watchmaking.

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