Last night, Patek Philippe unveiled its first women’s collection in almost two decades: the Twenty~4 Automatic timepieces, a new iteration of a collection it first launched in 1999. This time, it features an automatic movement instead of a quartz movement. “We decided that women should also have their own watches,” Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern told guests. “Not a gimmick, not something that looks like a man’s watch, and not something totally new. Why should I do something totally new when the Twenty~4 was amazing? I needed to adapt the movement, the size, and the communication about it.” Instead of launching the collection at Baselworld or in Switzerland, Patek Philippe chose to bring guests to Milan to unveil the new collection at a cocktail event complete with live music, a ballet performance, and a big reveal of the watches, which lay hidden underneath paper dresses created by an artist. Increasingly, brands have been using targeted methods to reach clients and journalists through experiential events as the trade-show circuit continues to wane (Patek Philippe, however, remains one of Baselworld’s most important exhibitors).
The use of an automatic movement instead of a quartz movement for women is also indicative of the changing times. “Today there has been an evolution,” said Stern. “I have been traveling the world, not only me but our commercial side, and we have been listening to customers [and asking them], ‘What are you dreaming for Patek Philippe?’ They would say, “Mr. Stern, I am a man and I love Patek Philippe. They are the finest watches in the world.’ Fine, I was happy with that. But I used to listen to the ladies say, ‘Mr. Stern, we want our own watches.’ This is how we came to the new Twenty~4 collection. Before, it was a quartz movement, and it was a beautiful movement. But today it’s time to evolve.”
The self-winding mechanical movement in the new collection, the caliber 324 S C, comes with a Geneva Seal and features 45 hours of power reserve. A date indication is shown at the six o’clock hour marker, and the movement is meticulously decorated with a manual finish and the Patek Philippe emblem on the rotor, all of which can be seen through the sapphire-crystal caseback. On the dial, a date indicator is featured at the six o’clock hour marker, Arabic numerals are applied in gold, and the baton-style hands are coated in lume.
The watches come in five different versions: stainless steel with a sunburst blue (Ref. 7300/1200A-001, $26,083) or sunburst gray dial (Ref. 7300/1200A-010, $26,803), both with a diamond bezel; rose gold with a sunburst chocolate brown (Ref. 7300/1200R-001, $45,361) or silvery gray dial (Ref. 7300/1200R-010, $45,361) with an exclusive double horizontal and vertical satin “Shantung” finish, both with a diamond bezel; and a dressier 18-karat rose-gold timepiece (Ref. 7300/1201R-001, $56,702) with a gray dial in the same “Shantung” finish featuring hour markers in 18-karat rose gold, a diamond bezel and lugs, and a bracelet accented in diamonds on the outer links. All of the diamonds are flawless Top Wesselton brilliant-cut diamonds, and the bracelets on each new Twenty~4 timepiece come with a patented fold-over clasp that has four independent catches for optimized opening and closing that also prevents an accidental release of the latches.
The verdict? The rose-gold version with a sunburst chocolate-brown dial is immediately the most striking in the whole collection. The 36 mm size of the timepieces strikes the right balance between being a women’s timepiece without being overly feminine. Yes, there are diamonds, and Patek Philippe would have done well to introduce a few models without them. But overall, the simplicity of the collection, even with a faint touch of sparkle along with its superior watchmaking, is its strongest selling point.