PATEK PHILIPPE ELLIPSE WRISTWATCH WITH IRAQI EAGLE, REF. 3548J
First, a bit of Collectability trivia: what was the first Ellipse model to not feature lugs? You guessed it, the ref. 3548. This reference was first made popular in the 1960s and 70s iconic Patek Philippe ad campaign “The $1700 Trust Fund”. It was introduced concurrently in 1967 alongside the ref. 3546 which did have lugs. Both were made initially by the case maker Baugartner and featured the impressively accurate and elegant, ultra-thin caliber 23-300. Made in 18K yellow or white gold, these references introduced the elliptical shape to the line and the ref. 3548 was the truest form of the Ellipse that started it all. A patented chemical reaction ‘colored’ the gold on these dials, and the blue and the yellow (gilt) are two of the most attractive executions of this aesthetic.
This example of a ref. 3548 is one the best preserved of all known examples of this reference. Truly new old stock, this presentation watch was originally given as a gift to a friend of the ruling Iraqi regime. And yes, the name written in Arabic on the dial is Saddam Hussein. Typically, gilt ref. 3548 dials feature roman numerals, but this dial features applied yellow gold batons each with a black enamel stripe. A close inspection of this dial shows the art of dial making in its fullest 1970s beauty with a sunburst finish. The inner and outer orange Patek Philippe box features the Iraqi Eagle and the ruler’s Arabic signature. This is not a watch you will find in the Patek Philippe Museum, but you might soon find it on your wrist.