Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Automatic: Women Now Served In The Round
by Nancy Olson
Waiting in the wings in Milan, Italy for its time alone in the spotlight, Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern personally introduced the latest version of the brand’s successful Twenty-4 collection: the Twenty-4 Automatic.
This round watch now houses the first mechanical movement in a collection that has until this day been powered solely by quartz movements. The more casual (for Patek Philippe) go-anywhere, do-anything style also features a round case, another first for the hitherto shaped Twenty-4 collection. Stern explained that this new timepiece has been five years and a perfection-seeking 40 prototypes in the making.
“We’ve decided that women should also have their own watches. Not gimmicks, not something that looks like a man’s watch,” said Stern. It was clear the evening was all about women, from the array of Patek Philippe ladies’ timepieces on display to the elegant mannequins outfitted in artfully intricate paper frocks standing sentinel. We were gathered in a chic, flower-bedecked glass pavilion adjacent to Patek Philippe’s Milan offices that had been constructed just for the occasion.
I virtually cut my watch-journalist teeth on the 1999 introduction of the then-revolutionary Patek Philippe Twenty-4. So my initial reaction to this new, round, mechanical addition to the collection bearing little resemblance to its rectangular, quartz, 20-year-old cousin was amazement. If you look closely, the most obvious reminiscent design cue is in the bracelet construction with its cambered central links framed by two-tier outer links.
The decision to introduce an automatic movement to the formerly all-quartz collection is a good one, I think, reflecting women’s expanding interest in mechanical timepieces.
Caliber 324 S C, while not new, offers reliable and accurate timekeeping and fine looks. Expertly decorated and with a 21-karat gold central rotor engraved with the brand’s familiar Calatrava cross, the movement is visible through the exhibition case back. The 324 S C powers a variety of Patek Philippe collections, including the Calatrava, Nautilus, and Aquanaut collections.
Each of the five 36 mm stainless steel or pink gold variations boasts applied luminescent-coated Arabic numerals on the dial with 18-karat baton-style hour and minute hands, sweep seconds, and a date window at 6 o’clock.
One hundred and sixty Top Wesselton diamonds in two rows decorate the bezel. The dressiest of the versions ups the ante with the addition of a diamond-set bracelet and crown for a total of 469 stones (about 1.88 carats).
All of the freshly presented watches take advantage of a new, patented, foldover clasp (patent EP3162241B1) with four independent catches for dependable opening and closing and also for the prevention of an accidental latch release.
The steel models are offered in two dial colors – sunburst blue or sunburst gray – while two pink gold versions are available with either a sunburst chocolate brown dial or a satin finish simulating Shantung silk.
The final pink gold version — the one with the diamond-set bezel, bracelet, and crown — also boasts the Shantung-style dial.
For more information, please visit www.patek.com/en/collection/twenty4.
Quick Facts Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Automatic
Case: 36 mm, stainless steel or pink gold
Movement: automatic Caliber 324 S C
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: $26,083 (steel); $45,361 (pink gold); $56,702 (pink gold with diamond bracelet and crown)