Phillips Set to Auction Unique "Blue Royale" Patek Philippe in Hong Kong

Phillips Hong Kong is set to auction off a unique sapphire-set Patek Philippe perpetual calendar as the star lot of its November sale.

Coined ‘The Blue Royale’, this platinum Patek Philippe Ref. 3448/100 perpetual calendar dates from 1973 and features round sapphires set within its square hour markers, making it unique for the reference.

The watch will be the star lot in the two-day The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIII sale which features a total of 300 lots and will be previewed in seven cities in across Asia and Europe.

First introduced by Patek Philippe in 1962, the Ref. 3448 was the world’s first automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch and was unique in that sense for another 16 years.

Popular with collectors for its (at the time) oversized 37.5mm case and clean lines and symmetry, the Ref. 3448 was eventually discontinued in 1986 with an estimated 568 pieces being made, mainly in yellow gold.

Two previously gold watches, of which this is one, were recased in platinum in 1997 by Patek Philippe at the request of their original owners. The watch being offered is also one of only three Ref. 3448 watches to feature a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback, which is thought to have been added at the same time the new platinum case was created.

The other platinum example, a watch from 1966, sold at Phillips’ The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN for CHF1.1m ($1.2m USD) in 2018. While not entirely new-to-market, ‘The Blue Royale’ hasn’t been offered for public sale since 1998.

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIII takes place on November 27-28.

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