Few And Far Between: Patek Philippe Ref. 3449

Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799002
The ref. 3449 is uncommon enough that it is not especially well known, particularly in comparison to its closest equivalents, the refs. 3448 and 3450. Each of the three ref. 3449s made has been sold at auction in the last two decades (more than once for two examples), consistently achieving well over US$1m – it is a watch a small number of people will pay a large sum of money for.Su Jiaxian of SJX Watches
Produced in 1961 with only 3 examples ever, the exceptionally rare Ref. 3449 from Patek Philippe is perhaps best known for being one of the rarest perpetual calendar wristwatches from the manufacture. The remarkably low production numbers is further underlined by Patek Philippe’s earlier move towards serial production with increased volumes, and consequently, away from custom orders and piece unique’s.

In addition to their scarcity in numbers, the three examples of this reference (with each movement numbered serially as 799000, 799001 and 799002) exhibit slight variations in their case designs, essentially presenting us with three unique executions of the same reference.

Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799000
Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799001
Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799002

Patek Philippe Ref. 3449 No. 799000

Manufactured

1961 by Patek Philippe & Cie, Geneve

Reference Number

Ref. 3449

Movement Number

No. 799000

Case Number

No. 311261

Case

18K yellow gold Ø 37mm

Complication

Perpetual Calendar & Moon Phase

Dial

Matt silver with applied gold indexes

Movement

23-300Q

The first in the series of three, this particular reference is characterized by it’s handcrafted case (numbered 311’261) with triple-stepped bezel as well as angular lugs.

Initially purchased in 1981 from a Patek Philippe retailer for the equivalent of USD 9,000, this example of the Ref. 3449 appeared for auction with Antiquorum in 1998, fetching a handsome USD 1,102,500 when the hammer fell.

After being held in private ownership for more than a decade, movement number 799000 surfaced once again in 2011 at Christie’s Geneva auction of Important Watches, achieving a hammer price of CHF 1,427,000 (about USD 1,609,000) this time. It has since been in the possession of a distinguished collector.

Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799000. Photo courtesy: Barneby's
Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799000. Photo courtesy: Christie's
…Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1961 and its subsequent sale on 15 September 1965.Lot Essay by Christie’s

Patek Philippe Ref. 3449 No 799001

Manufactured

1961 by Patek Philippe & Cie, Geneve

Reference Number

Ref. 3449

Movement Number

No. 799001

Case Number

No. 311262

Case

18K yellow gold Ø 37mm

Complication

Perpetual Calendar & Moon Phase

Dial

Matt silver with applied gold indexes

Movement

23-300Q

…delivered on September 15, 1965, to the Henri Stern Watch Agency, New York.Patek Philippe Museum Catalog

Prominently displayed at the Patek Philippe Museum in Genève, this particular example features a case (numbered 311’262) with a double-stepped bezel flanked by angular lugs.

Surfacing in 1989 at The Art of Patek Philippe, Antiquorum’s themed auction celebrating Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary, movement number 799001 was acquired by the museum for CHF 286,000, at a significant premium over the auction estimates of CHF 180,000 – 220,000.

Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799001. Photo courtesy: Antiquorum
Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 7990021. Patek Philippe Museum Catalog
Hotel des Bergues
Antiquorum's The Art Of Patek Philippe
Antiquorum's The Art Of Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe Ref. 3449 No 799002

Manufactured

1961 by Patek Philippe & Cie, Geneve

Reference Number

Ref. 3449

Movement Number

No. 799002

Case Number

No. 311263

Case

18K yellow gold Ø 37mm

Complication

Perpetual Calendar & Moon Phase

Dial

Matt silver with applied gold indexes

Movement

23-300Q

Also known by its nickname Tre Scalini (Italian for Three Steps), its triple-stepped bezel, coupled with the straight lugs that extend beyond those of its counterparts, gives an increased presence on the wrist, arguably raising the desirability of this particular reference.

This third and last of the Ref. 3449 may very well be the most notable example. As documented superbly by SJX in his article and covered by numerous other watch publications, movement number 799002 (case number 311’262) is perhaps the closest version you can get to a contemporary wristwatch

Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799002 Movement
Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799002
Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799002. Photo courtesy: Christie's
Rosemonde Gerard
Patek Philippe 3449
Patek Philippe 3449 No. 799002 Caseback

QU’ HIER
QUE DEMAIN

The provenance of this example reveals itself once the watch is flipped around, presenting the caseback with an interesting engraving. Apart from his name and birthdays, George Poston had appended a poetic phrase adopted from the French poet Rosemonde Gérard, which translates to “More than yesterday, less than tomorrow”. Given the immense horological significance of this timepiece, this expression of man’s perception of time is fittingly poignant.

Originally acquired from Linz Brothers in Dallas, the then thirty-year-old Poston had to pony up what was considered a hefty sum of USD 5,550 back in 1965 for the purchase. Poston’s foresight paid off duly when the watch was auctioned for CHF 1,659,750 at Christie’s Exceptional Patek Philippe Wristwatches in 2001.

Revolution Watch has an amazing video sharing the story of how this particular example ended on the wrist of famed watch collector Auro Montanari (a.k.a John Goldberger).

I’m sure you could buy a very nice Ferrari for this kind of money

Wei Koh in The Rarest Patek Perpetual Calendar — the 3449

Linz Brothers, Dallas
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