8,7 / 10
Small seconds at 6 o’clock
This watch is a very nice example of the ref. 3948, with manual caliber 215-S.
It represents the quintessence of the Ellipse watch, with its 18K yellow gold case, its gold blue dial, and its blue strap with original 18K Patek Philippe buckle.
The watch is in very good condition and all its parts are conform.
About the model
As Thierry Stern said when celebrating the Ellipse’s 50th anniversary in 2018, “It’s one of those watches that shows you how to make a Patek Philippe. No gimmicks, just purity and beauty expressed through simple design.”
“The Golden Section is an aesthetic rule which has been known for many centuries. It defines harmony in proportions and was referred to as divina proportione, proportion continua, Golden Number, Golden Rule, and more recently, the Golden Section. But the Golden Section is older than its names, for it not only inspired man-made designs but is present also in nature, in the shapes of leaves, the spacing of buds along a branch on a tree, and the proportions of the human body. For the builder of Hellenic temples as for the friars who designed the great churches of the Middle Ages, the Golden Section remained a jealously guarded secret which master passed on to pupil in the strictest confidence” (Patek Philippe Advertisement, Circa 1968).
The variety and volume of references from the Ellipse family and its close relatives is extraordinary. The Ellipse even eclipses the Calatrava in terms of the number of references and range of executions.
In 1967, the collection started with references 3546 and 3548 which were listed in in the catalog until 1976, then replaced with references 3746 and 3748, each fitted with the caliber 215. The ultra-thin ref. 3589 was launched in 1970 and stayed in the collection until 1979. It was the first of Patek’s collection to use the LeCoultre base caliber 28-255, later to be used in the Nautilus ref. 3700. The ref. 3605, also known as the Jumbo Ellipse, was made from 1971 to the early ‘80s. It also used the automatic caliber 28-255 C (“C” for Calendrier) with date indication, fitted into a 38 x 33 mm case. One of the longest running Ellipse references in terms of production is ref. 3738 which was produced from 1978 to around 2009.
The ref. 3948 was launched in 1981 and was the last version equipped with a manual-winding movement, the caliber 215-S (“S” for the small seconds, at 6 o’clock).
Presented with many versions of dials, with 18K yellow or white gold cases and multiple strap or bracelet variations, it is the strap version with the blue dial that has come to be seen as the classic, Ellipse model.