Patek Philippe celebrates its 175th Anniversary this year, but before we get to that here’s a timepieces it released when it turned 150; the Ref 3718.
The Ref 3718
The first thing you’ll notice about the Ref 3718 is that it is rather small, 33mm small in fact, which even for 1989 would be considered undersized, at least in the Western world. However this classic little beauty was never destined for Western consumers, but rather was made specifically for the Japanese market to celebrate Patek’s 150th birthday.
At that time Japan was one of the most powerful economies in the world, creating huge amounts of wealth for its citizens. Not surprisingly the country was a very important market for Patek Philippe, much as China has become for many other brands in the present day.
Thus it seemed only logical then that when it came time to mark the occasion of the brand’s 150th birthday, Japan should figure in some way in the celebrations. In total 500 pieces of the Ref 3718 were made in steel, each powered by the manually-wound, Geneva Seal hallmarked calibre 215.
As you can see the design is very simple and elegant. The two-body case has been polished and brushed and features a stepped bezel with a domed sapphire crystal. Although it’s difficult to see in the photos the dial is actually an off-white enamel with applied white gold “baton” markers and white gold “baton” hands. Completing the look is a subsidiary second dial at 6 o’clock.
What I really like though is that there is no obvious indication that is a limited edition, commemorative timepiece. In fact the only reference to the anniversary is found on the case back of the Ref 3718, which is embossed with a golden medallion that reads “Patek Philippe 1839-1989” and features the “Calatrava” cross.