The release was the result of five years of research and as many as forty prototypes and was a marked departure from Patek Philippe’s standard women’s watches. First crafted in enduring steel, it was inspired by the men’s Gondolo watch of 1993 and offered a feminine alternative. It was the brand’s first true women’s watch collection, rather than a feminised afterthought of a men’s collection, and its name was an acknowledgement of the multi-faceted, 24-hour life of the modern woman.
Patek Philippe has had a long history of making watches for women. Queen Victoria was famously impressed by the company’s innovative timepieces with a keyless winding system at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851; she chose a powder-blue, diamond-set pocket watch for herself. In 1868, Patek Philippe created the first Swiss wristwatch for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary and in 1916, the company produced the first complicated ladies’ wristwatch with a five-minute repeater.
Still, the release of the Twenty~4 collection was a milestone for the company. The Art Deco-inspired rectangular shape of the watch and the manchette cuff spoke to the tastes of the time and the design of the piece allowed it to be worn for every occasion from morning to night. The case was set with 36 diamonds framing the sides of the dial and the winding crown was set with an onyx. The dial, too, had 10 diamond hour markers, accompanied by VI and XII Roman numerals. With an easy-to-maintain quartz movement, it gave credence to the modern woman’s busy life. It was restrained, yet abundant in fine detail; elegant and feminine, yet practical and powerful – much like the women who wear it.
Now, in the most recent addition to the collection, Patek Philippe has revised the original art-deco model with two new steel versions and a rose gold version. In the new design, the Roman numerals have given way to the numbers 12 and 6 applied in white gold, and the diamond hour markers have been replaced by white gold trapeze-shaped markers. The dial comes in sunburst blue or a grey-to-black gradation for the steel and a chocolate brown for the rose gold, and the hour markers and the hands have a luminous coating – a nod to the day-to-night functionality of the watch. Like the original, the left and right sides of the case are set with 36 diamonds, totalling just under a half carat.
This most recent re-interpretation of the Twenty~4 confidently walks the line between classically feminine details and contemporary functionality – another important milestone in the brand’s journey of creating timeless watches for women.
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