Introducing: Patek Philippe Drops A Trio Of Twenty-4s

Introducing: Patek Philippe Drops A Trio Of Twenty-4s

It’s not easy being Patek Philippe. While many watchmakers would gladly trade places with the family-owned brand at the top of the horological pyramid, a place at the top comes with persistent scrutiny. 

Under Thierry Stern, Patek tends to give the people what they want: Classical designs, complications, and stainless steel sport watches like the Nautilus and the Aquanaut (perhaps just not enough of them). On the occasions when Patek steps out and does something unexpected, the moves feel all the more seismic – and the reactions can be apoplectic. Remember how the internet savaged the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524G when it dropped in 2015?

Three years later, the brand announced an automatic version of the popular if prosaic Twenty-4, a relatively affordable (for Patek) quartz watch it first launched in 1999. The original, manchette Twenty-4 had a stroke of genius about it. It allowed the watchmaker to expand its customer base and make its way onto many more women’s wrists than it had before, and it did so with a quartz watch that could be made and sold at greater volume. The stylish, sporty, diamond-set steel Twenty-4 is what appears in my mind’s eye when I imagine summer at a Connecticut country club pool or dining al fresco on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It’s an instantly evocative thing, the original Twenty-4. But compared to a complicated Patek calendar chronograph, it’s more of an ornament that happens to tell the time than a serious piece of high watchmaking.

Despite its use of diamonds, Patek’s still nascent auto Twenty-4 didn’t come in a conventionally feminine package. It supplemented its ornamental shape with a bolder round one: A progressive move, gender-wise, considering the context. Lest we forget, Switzerland only gave women the franchise in 1971. 

The new Twenty-4 defied expectations. Now we’ve got two new examples of the Twenty-4 automatic that double down on the move from three years ago. We’ve also got a new quartz reference that carries on the original, ornamental cuff (or manchette) design. This is in keeping with what Patek likes to do – push the envelope just a bit, while also satisfying the base.

On the Twenty-4 automatic, you’ll find diamond-wrapped bezels and satin-brushing on the dials. The stepped bracelets remind us of those on the manchette quartz original. But look closer at the automatic references 7300/1200R-011and 7300/1200A-011, and you see elements of a contemporary sport watch – those hour and minute hands harken to ones found on a certain Genta-designed steel classic. 

From there, the heavily lume-filled hour markers take you back to vintage aviation watches from the ’30s and ’40s. It’s a confluence of design elements that challenges expectations of what a watch designed for women ought to look like. And this from a brand about as genteel and Genevan as it gets.

Of course, the very notion of watches made for women and for men has dissolved over time. These days, people will wear what they want. It’s interesting to see a brand like Patek making watches in a line that’s always been made for women – this is no mere ladies’-sized Nautilus or Aquanaut after all – with design elements that reference watches traditionally viewed as made for men. 

We’ll see what else Patek has in store at the upcoming digital Watches & Wonders presentation this spring.

Twenty~4 Automatic Ref. 7300/1200A-011 in stainless steel. 36mm x 10.05mm case featuring two offset rows totaling 160 brilliant-cut diamonds (~0.77 ct) in the “dentelle” setting. Automatic cal. 324 SC vibrating at 4 Hz with power reserve ranging from a minimum of 35 to a maximum of 45 hours. Displays for hours, minutes, seconds and date. Water resistant to 30 meters. Sunburst olive green dial with applied, lume-filled Arabic numerals. Hand-polished bracelet secured with fold-over clasp fitted with four independent catches.

Twenty~4 Automatic Ref. 7300/1200R-011 in rose gold. 36mm x 10.05mm case featuring two offset rows totaling 160 brilliant-cut diamonds (~0.77 ct) in the “dentelle” setting. Automatic cal. 324 SC vibrating at 4 Hz with power reserve ranging from a minimum of 35 to a maximum of 45 hours. Displays for hours, minutes, seconds and date. Water resistant to 30 meters. Rose-gilt sunburst dial with applied, lume-filled Arabic numerals. Hand-polished bracelet secured with fold-over clasp fitted with four independent catches.

Twenty-4 quartz model Ref. 4910/1201R-001 in rose gold with chocolate brown sunburst dial with Arabic numerals. 30mm x 25.1mm x 6.8mm case set with 34 diamonds ((~0.57 carats). E15 quartz movement. Rose-gold bracelet with foldover clasp.

For more, visit Patek Philippe.

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