As one of the most venerable watch manufactures, Patek Philippe has a portfolio that makes it the envy of all brands. In particular, the Nautilus is a holy grail among gentlemen and ladies alike.
Try as you might, landing one of your own isn’t a matter of splashing out (affordability isn’t a subject of concern for the ardent Patek Philippe audience) but how prepared are you to hold out for. It is a game of perseverance and luck; hoping that the person ahead of you in the line succumbed to a burst of impulse and relinquished her spot.
Over the course of its storied history, Patek Philippe has acquired a penchant for cultivating sought-after women’s timepieces; satiating thirst with timeless creations and haute horlogerie examples that would vie with the best of men’s offerings. A journey began in 1839, timepieces for women have always featured prominently in the maison, be it in the form of archaic pocket watches, pendant watches emerging in the 19th century, or wristwatches prevalent today. Patek Philippe was instrumental in producing the first-ever Swiss wristwatch in 1868, destined for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. This precious, one-of-kind ornament paved the way for the brand’s centuries-long rendezvous with ladies’ timepieces.
The bond strengthened further in 1999 when Patek Philippe unveiled its maiden ladies-focused collection. The Twenty~4 was exclusive to ladies and still remains today as such, faithful to modern, independent go-getters. Conceived as an elegant, versatile timepiece to dress a lady from day to night, it was reflected in the name denoting all hours of a complete day.
Though inspired by Art Deco, its contemporary vibe coupled with an idiosyncratic “manchette,” or cuff, design allowed the timepiece to shine on its own and be easily discerned from afar. Because it was intended for ladies from the very outset, the timepiece was composed as such to be ergonomically perfect for a ladies’ wrist. Framed by a cambered rectangular case tracing the contours of the wrist, the timepiece was exceptionally smooth and comfortable.
Unlike the Nautilus, however, the Twenty~4 despite its burgeoning stature remains accessible. Anchored by a beautiful design, the timepiece is easy to care for and never strays away from its essence by offering complex mechanisms customary of other Patek Philippe collections. Powered by an excellent and hassle-free quartz movement, this timepiece just works, saves you from adjusting the hands completely and requires no replacement of the battery for around three years.
While connoisseurs typically don’t hold a favourable opinion on simple movements such as quartz, it has to be reminded that any timepiece made by Patek Philippe is held by the brand to exacting standards. For the convenience offered by the Twenty~4, it retains impeccable craftsmanship. This best-of-both-worlds approach ensures that the timepiece is well-loved by ladies looking for a loyal, stylish ally. And it is of no surprise to anyone that the Twenty~4 has grown into one of Patek Philippe’s best-sellers.
Nonetheless, with the last update coming in 2010, the collection was due to a much-needed refresh to keep up the interest. The latest iteration is a reinterpretation of the original model, available in medium (25.1mm x 30 mm). Issued in two steel versions, the new Twenty~4 brims with luxury as evident in the white-gold applied Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, and the applied trapeze-shaped hour markers, also in white gold.
As symbols of eternity, two rows of 18 Top Wesselton Pure diamonds (about 0.42 carat) flank the dial, which radiates either a blue sunburst or black gradated grey sunburst finish. Every part of the timepiece is showered with undivided attention by skilled artisans as each component is manually finished and polished, echoing all other Patek Philippe timepieces.
The facelift while evocative of the original design constitutes the first significant shift in aesthetics for the “manchette” rendition, aligning with the Twenty~4 Automatic released in 2018. This can be seen in the preference of Arabic numerals, applied hour markers – vis- a-vis Roman and diamonds – and baton-style hands coated with luminous materials to improve legibility in the dark.
Since debuting as a trio with dials comprising forever black, eternal grey and timeless white, the Twenty~4 has come a long way. It has undisputedly cemented Patek Philippe as the go-to choice for ladies’ timepieces. What seems a wise pick to be the first Patek Philippe timepiece, it has broadened the appeal of the brand, reminding everyone that owning a Patek Philippe timepiece needs not to be a stratospherically expensive affair (though it could be with the likes of minute repeaters and perpetual calendars).
If wearing a high-jewellery or high-watchmaking timepiece sounds daunting, the democratically priced (relatively speaking) Twenty~4 performs an admirable role in easing ladies into the world of Patek Philippe and ushering you into discovering the reason the brand is held in such high regard.
(All images: Patek Philippe)
This story was first published in Prestige Malaysia’s February 2021 issue via Prestige Online Malaysia.