Alan Banbery was appointed the Director of Sales for the English-speaking Territories in 1965 where he did much to develop Patek Philippe’s position in the market. In addition to this, he also did much to guide Patek Philippe’s commitment to the preservation and acquisition of historic timepieces not just from the annals of Patek Philippe but of horology. In 1970, Henri Stern appointed him the curator of Patek Philippe’s private collection. It is mostly through his efforts that led to the nucleus of a collection that then led to the creation of the Patek Philippe Museum; so if you find yourself at the Patek Philippe Museum, doff your hat to Alan Banbery. Additionally, collectors are indebted to Alan Banbery for the literature he has produced regarding Patek Philippe timepieces.
In recognition of his services, Henri and Philippe Stern commissioned a 3448 to be modified and subsequently gifted. One of these modifications resulted in a characteristic that collectors refer to as ‘Senza Luna’ (without moon); of the 586 3448s, there are seven recorded examples. What makes this piece even more distinguished and ultimately a piece unique is the addition of a leap year indicator in place of the moonphase (represented by the red text in English and the inclusion of a second hand co-axial with the date hand) which necessitated the modification of both an existing dial and movement. The watch was presented to Banbery in 1975 and was his personal timepiece until it was sold to a private collector in 1999.
Having the opportunity to wind it, strap it on the wrist and listen to the movement ticking, made me imagine all the history this watch was an eyewitness to; a humbling and exhilarating experience.