It’s good to have friends, and it’s even better when they are watch fanatics! Unlike some other collecting-oriented pursuits, ours is a quite social hobby, and I am sure that I’m not alone in yearning for the return of in-person watch lunches and dinners with buddies, even more for the swapping of tales and exchanges of opinions than for the replica watches shared.
In the meantime, I have ventured out from time to time for brief, top-secret rendezvous in parking lots and on park benches to receive and return the generous loans of friends’ watches to photograph. Recently, I had the chance to shoot a true classic: a second-series Reference 3450J perpetual calendar made by high quality copy Patek Philippe.
Reference 3450 and the lineage of Patek Philippe perpetual calendars
In chronological terms, Swiss Patek Philippe Grand Complications ref.3450J replica watch sits about midway between the very first serially produced perpetual calendar wristwatch, Reference 1526, and this year’s newest Patek Philippe perpetual calendar, Reference 5236P with its in-line display of day, date, and month.
Back in the day, best copy Patek Philippe perpetual calendar references were produced for long periods of time and in quite small numbers. Reference 1526, introduced in 1941, wasn’t updated until 1951’s Reference 2497, a larger and thicker piece that also replaced the 1526’s subsidiary seconds indication with a lovely sweeping central hand.
In 1962, Patek Philippe’s Reference 3448 dispensed with the seconds indication altogether but added – for the first time in a serially produced perpetual calendar – an automatic winding feature. The 3448 also introduced the bold, bluntly angular “Padellone” (“frying pan”) case that was retained for the 3450.
It wasn’t until the 1981 introduction of Reference 3450, though, that Patek Philippe added something to its line of perpetual calendars that we’ve pretty much come to take for granted: an indicator for the leap year cycle positioned in a small aperture near 4 o’clock.
In the first edition of the 3450, the leap year was signified by a bright red dot filling the aperture, a feature that I quite like and one that is prized by collectors today. For reasons all its own, in later examples of the reference, including this watch, Patek Philippe replaced the red dot with a subtler Roman numeral IV.
Patek Philippe Reference 3450 replica with gold case was also the last of a continuous line of Patek Philippe perpetual calendars to display the day and month in small apertures; starting with 1985’s classic Reference 3940, Patek Philippe began displaying all of the calendar-related information on small subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.
As an owner of References 1526 and 3940, I see the merits in both the aperture and subdial designs. With the luxury of hindsight, I can also understand that Patek Philippe may have felt that by 1985 it had to some extent exhausted the number of extensions it could make to the original Reference 1526 style, which along with the possibilities presented by the new, thinner Caliber 240 movement led to a step change to the dial displays as well as to the case dimensions and shapes.
If you look closely, you’ll see that a few strap changes have been done on this watch over the years but that it otherwise looks remarkably clean and original. And as a bonus, careful inspection of the lug at lower right appears to reveal an inscribed shop serial number from Beyer Zürich, although the dial of the watch is not double signed by the retailer.
Once I decided that it was best to leave it to braver souls to get a look at the movement, I turned my attention to the buckle, a straightforward 1:1 Patek Philippe super clone tang affair.