The reference 3448 is one of the most sought after of all Patek Philippe’s vintage complicated wristwatches, its minimal good looks and large size is perfectly suited for today’s most discerning collectors. Only 586 examples of the 3448 were ever made, of these, only an incredible three specimens of the sub-reference 3448-008J (the -008 referring to the gold bracelet type) are known today. Extremely well preserved, the present superlative watch with ruby-set dial is the only one of the three known watches with ruby marker dial, and is therefore unique.
The present solid gold dial with silvered finish was made by Stern Frères in about 1990 by special request of the then owner and fitted during servicing in 1991. Indeed, as the inscription on the back shows: RH1991 - for ‘Rhabillage 1991’ and 7926 – the number referring to the Patek Philippe order. The ruby hour markers lend a completely new aspect to the entire appearance of the watch that transforms it into a timepiece of compelling beauty. An important feature of the case, which still has full proportions and angles, is that the bezel was modified in height by Patek Philippe in order to accommodate the raised ruby hour markers. This modification was carried out when the dial was fitted, demonstrating the immense attention to detail and lavish expenditure needed to realize the client’s visionary creation. The luxurious original solid gold ‘Sport’ bracelet perfectly completes the ensemble.
STUDY OF REFERENCE 3448-008J
MOVEMENT NO. 1’119’038, CASE NO. 317’463
The excellently preserved last-series solid gold dial was made by Stern Frères around 1990, matte silvered with black paint applied by transfer for the signature, the ‘o-swiss-o’ inscription, the outer minutes markers and the calendar discs which is correct for this late series dial. The silky finish is a feature of the very best dials made by Stern Frères, called ‘satiné opalin’, it is associated with several of Patek Philippe’s complicated references of the period. The calendar window angles are sharp as expected and the three white gold hands are original hand-cut and finished and, of course, perfectly matching. The moon phases disc is solid gold, with 9 teeth, this champlevé blue enamel moon disc is the original supplied with the movement in 1965. The claws to hold the ruby markers are made of white gold, often used for this kind of setting although other references with similar dials have yellow gold settings, purely dependant the both the dial maker and the client’s particular request.
The beautifully preserved case was delivered in 1965, made by master casemaker Antoine Gerlach, it is constructed in three pieces in 18K yellow gold with snap-on bezel and back, the hand-forged ‘Calatrava’ crown also in yellow gold. The case retains full original proportions and angles, the central part is horizontally brushed, the bezel and sides of the case back are mirror polished. Collectors and connoisseurs will appreciate the modified height of the bezel necessary to accommodate the raised ruby hour markers. Modified by Patek Philippe when the present dial was fitted, the bezel is marked beneath with the last two digits of the case number. The yellow gold winding crown and the date correctors are original, as is the crown which is marked ‘BF’ on the inside - for Frères Boninchi, the best winding crown maker in Geneva.
Made in 1964 and completed in 1965, calibre 27 460 Q (Q for Quantième), rhodiumed brass, based on a 27 460 Patek Philippe in-house movement, Gyromax balance, stamped twice with the Geneva Seal.
Integral hand-made yellow gold ‘sport’ design with symmetrical holes. Only three reference 3448-008J are known to exist, the ‘-008’ of the reference number refers to this bracelet style. Made outside Switzerland, as most bracelets of that period were, their manufacture was outsourced by Patek Philippe to Pforzheim or Vicenza workshops, where the best goldsmiths in Europe of the time could be found.
We are grateful to Eric Tortella for his assistance and study in researching this watch.
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. 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
-A unique special order dial with ruby hour markers – the present watch, circa 1991
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.
Reference 3448 is illustrated in: Patek Philippe Museum - Patek Philippe Watches - Volume II, p. 296.
The Blue Book 1, by Eric Tortella, 2018 edition, pp. 540 to 581.
Patek Philippe Wristwatches by Martin Huber & Alan Banbery, second edition, p. 288.
Ore d'Oro by Jader Barracca, Giampiero Negretti and Franco Nencini, p. 45.