PROPERTY OF A DESCENDANT OF THE ORIGINAL OWNER
The present example, belonging to the illustrious 'red dot' first series of reference 3450, is, according to our research, chronologically the first example of red dot reference 3450 to appear at auction. Movement number 1119586, offered at Antiquorum recently, was a reference 3450 with no leap year indication, and thus far movement number 1119587 has not appeared in public auction. The present lot, movement number 1119588, is therefore the earliest of the dozen 'known' red dot reference 3450 watches to appear at auction.
Production of reference 3450 began in 1981 and ceased in 1985. In total, only 244 examples were made. 1981 and early 1982 were the only years of production for the first series examples, featuring a red dot for the leap year and Arabic numerals for 1,2 and 3. It is estimated that these account for perhaps about 10% of the total production run. In 1982, the leap year display was updated to feature only Roman numerals I, II, III and IV.
Both the 3448 and 3450 are beloved for their striking, angular case shapes, which straddle the line between 'vintage' and 'modern' from a design and historical perspective. The chunky and bold presence of the watch on the wrist was a departure from the ultra-slim dress watches favored at the time of their production. Almost inconceivably to collectors today, when first introduced, the models were not terribly popular and often sold years after production, sometimes even at discounted prices. They were ahead of their time aesthetically, but today collectors have caught up with full appreciation for the modern and timeless design.
The present lot is exemplary of why the reference is so beloved by collectors today. Its lines remain clear and its edges remain sharp; a well-preserved example of this reference, such as the present, is both a visual and tactile joy to behold. Sotheby's is honored to offer this piece for the first time at auction, and to present the earliest known 'red dot' example to the market for students and collectors alike.
For an example of this reference, see Huber, M. & Banbery, A., Patek Philippe Wristwatches, pp. 290-291.
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