This endangered species strap is shown for display purposes only and is not for sale. The watch will be supplied with a calf leather strap.
Offered here for the first time at auction, this very well preserved white gold 3448 impresses with a full case with sharp edges to top and bottom of the lugs, crisp gold marks underneath the lug and on the snap on back and the pristine condition of the small steps to the bezel. The dial is in unspoiled condition, without the slightest trace of either intervention or degradation, the printed signatures and scales beautifully raised as one would except. Over the years, a most charismatic, uniform ivory-colored patina has accumulated, lending it the ultimate touch of vintage - subtle signs of natural ageing one would expect on a wristwatch which, for so many years, was exposed to the elements.
Another noteworthy fact is its highly uncommon dial version for the date of manufacture. As standard, reference 3448 can be found with four kinds of dial over the period of its production:
-with enamelled small baton minute divisions (1962 to 1965)
-with beady minute divisions and small date ring (1965 to 1972)
-with beady minute divisions and large date ring (1971 to 1978)
-with printed (not enamelled) small baton minute divisions after 1978
However, the present watch, made in 1974, is fitted with the printed small baton minute divisions version. In isolation, it could be assumed that the dial may be later, however, as is often the case with Patek Philippe manufacture, there are notable exceptions to the known chronology.
In-depth research has shown that at least seven other 3448s made between 1974 and 1977, often in white gold and including the watch with ascending movement and case numbers to the present watch, are already fitted with this dial type, therefore confirming that this dial series was being used at least four years earlier than previously thought. Some of the other publicly known examples are:
Movement no. Case no. Case Colour & Dial Type Year of Manufacture
1’119’343 331’503 yellow gold, “Swiss” dial 1974
1’119’345 330’642 white gold, “Swiss” dial 1974
1’119’348 331’526 white gold, “Aprior” dial 1974 The present watch
1’119’349 331’527 white gold, “Swiss” dial 1974
1’119’387 331’543 white gold, “Aprior” dial 1975
1’119’457 332’573 yellow gold, “Aprior” dial 1976
1’119’458 332’574 yellow gold, “Aprior” dial 1976
1’119’492 332’160 white gold, “Aprior” dial 1977
Introduced into the market in 1962, reference 3448 was the first automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch produced in series by any manufacturer.
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.
This model is the perfect embodiment of a transitional period in the evolution of watchmaking design. Wristwatches had moved from the flamboyant cases and multi-tone sector dials of the 1920s and 1930s, to the military-flavoured creations of the 1940s, with telemetre and tachymetre railroad scales. With the 1950s and 60s a new trend took shape: the technological advances of the time inspired, in all fields of design, futuristic shapes and cleaner looks. This watch perfectly epitomizes such trend: the dial is clean to the extreme, a remarkable feat of design considered that, after all, this is still a perpetual calendar with moon phases and as such the amount of information that the dial has to display is quite abundant. The case is a triumph of clean looks and sharp edges: the circular polished case with flat satin-finished band and generous sloped blank bezel looks decades away from the construction of previous models.
In 1981, reference 3450 was introduced into the market with the improved 27'460 QB (Quantime Bissextile) caliber. The model differs from its predecessor, the 3448, by the modified leap year indication and 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.
Reference 3448 is illustrated in: Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe Watches - Volume II, p. 296. Patek Philippe Wristwatches, Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p. 288. Ore d'Oro, Jader Barracca, Giampiero Negretti and Franco Nencini, p. 45.