Christie’s has spent most of its ink talking about the “Ruby Collection” of best replica Patek Philippes, which indeed does include a reference 3448 in yellow gold with ruby dial. I’ve never seen another and it’s no doubt a very cool thing. It’s important to note that the watch is from 1965, but the dial was made and installed by Patek in 1990. Clearly the work was done for a very important client and what’s even cooler, the bezel has been factory modified to account for the raised ruby hour markers. Very cool, but not the 3448 I’m most excited about. Still, our colleagues in Japan did a nice photo report on the collection here. No, the lot that comes just four before is another 3448, but it’s in white gold. And it looks absolutely stunning.
The 3448 is one of the most wearable and, to me, beautiful vintage Patek Philippes ever made. It is large in diameter – complicated, but self-winding. It was Patek’s first self-winding perpetual calendar and is a thoroughly modern vintage watch, in the best of ways. It is also one of the few complicated vintage watches made by Patek ever to be cased from the factory in white gold.
They are AAA Swiss made fake watches that are adored by serious collectors the world over, and to find any 3448 in white gold is quite a feat. To find one in seemingly robust and original condition is something else entirely. These watches have sat around the $500,000 mark for many years now, but when a superlative example comes to market, anything is possible. In June 2019, Christie’s sold what I thought was the very best example of a 3448 white I’d ever seen. They sold it for $1.155 million against an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. Christie’s, for this example, states it is one of about 50 known, one of just 25 of the first series style watch. And beyond that, they say that this is likely one of the best three known examples in the world. They go on to provide such detail about the first series dials, such as the fact that early dials feature engraved, enameled inscriptions and scales – where only the “Swiss” at the bottom is black painted – a neat little way to know if you’re looking at an early or late 3448. The dial, on the rear, reads “1119045”, which, if you look at the extract, is the watch’s movement number. Christie’s has done an excellent job giving viewers a look at all the key pieces of a 3448 that one would want to see, if they were considering paying a world record price for a watch. Which, by the way, is exactly what Christie’s is suggesting this watch warrants with an estimate of $932,864 – $1,554,774.
I will not speak to how this watch compares to the watch that sold in June 2019 because, while I did see that one in the metal, I’ve not had a chance to see this one in person. I will say it does look wonderful, and though the white gold bracelet was not born on the watch, it does fit it very well and adds to the charm of the watch. Of course, you can take it off the white gold Patek bracelet and wear it any way you want. The 3448 white has long been a personal grail of mine, and I missed the chance to own one, but that makes me no less a fan of seeing these beautiful, great quality watches coming to market.