Patek Philippe’s long and illustrious history is strewn with exquisite timepieces created expressly for discerning connoisseuses – indeed, the earliest watches recorded in the archives of Patek, Czapek & Cie were purchased by a certain Madame Goscinska, while the manufacture’s inaugural wristwatch of 1868 was sold to the trendsetting Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. It wasn’t until 1999, however, that Patek Philippe launched its first-ever dedicated ladies’ collection, the Twenty~4, which pushed the envelope by combining steel and diamonds (a rarity at the time), and garnered immediate acclaim thanks to its fine balance of form and function.
Designed as an elegant yet everyday model that could adapt to the active lifestyle of the independent, modern woman and accompany her throughout all hours of the day (hence its name), the Twenty~4 has appeared in numerous iterations, from straightforward gold executions to dazzling haute joaillerie novelties to the recent round-cased, self-winding Reference 7300. This year, Patek Philippe is circling back to the beginning and rebooting the original medium-format Twenty~4 manchette, the Art Deco-inspired, cuff-style horologe (“manchette” being French for cuff”) that has won the hearts and graced the wrists of many a sophisticate in the decades since its debut.
Introducing two contemporary interpretations in stainless steel, Ref. 4910/1200A-001 and Ref. 4910/1200A-010, with sunray-brushed blue and grey dials, respectively, the Genevan house strikes a happy medium between old and new, tradition and innovation. While the subtly cambered, geometric silhouette of the 1999 classic is retained, as is the supple three-link bracelet that cossets the contours of the wrist, the dial has been given a pleasingly minimalist facelift – applied Arabic ciphers at 12 and 6 o’clock replace the Roman numerals of the original, and trapezoid indices in white gold supplant the former diamond dots. Enhancing the dial’s legibility in the dark, the hour markers and gold baton hands are coated in lume, while the rectangular stepped case is flanked by Top Wesselton brilliant-cut diamonds totalling just under half a carat for a touch of discreet luxury, and the crown is emblazoned with Patek Philippe’s trademark Calatrava Cross.
Both variations of the refreshed Twenty~4 manchette are powered by the quartz calibre E15, which is made with the same devotion to craftsmanship as the manufacture’s mechanical movements, and accords durability, accuracy and practicality. Epitomising refinement and finesse, Patek Philippe’s new masterpiece is proof that great watchmaking isn’t always about high complications – sometimes, it’s simplicity that is exceptional.