5 Jan 2020
Patek Philippe reinvented its primary ladies’ collection, the Twenty-4, last fall with a big launch party in Rome. It was a launch worthy of celebration. It’s not every day one of the greatest — and most conservative — brands in the world revamps a collection, especially its leading ladies’ collection. And it was a full five-reference introduction that essentially represented a brand new model rather than the redesign of an existing favorite. As a follow-up, Patek is now adding a High Jewelry model, the Ref. 7300/1450R. Although it is rare and expensive ($385,568), and thus aimed at a very niche customer, the jeweled Twenty-4 is a sign of how invested Patek is in the new collection and in building on it to create showpieces that will stand as future collectors’ favorites. (At auction, the most successful ladies’ pieces remain the gem-set pieces, which have the greatest intrinsic value.)
The original Twenty-4 launched in 1999, when the mechanical revolution was only just reemerging, and most ladies’ watches were still quartz. It was a manchette-style design, popular at the time but slightly outdated — although with Patek, nothing is every really outdated or stops being in demand. Would anyone say the 1518 is “outdated?” The new Twenty-4, on the other hand, is round, with an automatic movement (caliber 324 S C), and it is a full 10mm wider than its predecessor. The only thing about the new Twenty-4 that resembles the original, aside from the name, is the bracelet, with its distinctive link design, although the new one is more tapered.
The High Jewelry jewelry Twenty-4 Automatic is 18k rose gold, and fully paved with diamonds that are set in “randomly,” otherwise known as snow setting, which is to say the setting is actually not random at all — “random” refers to the multiple sizes of the diamonds used in this type of setting. In fact, the diamond setting is carefully planned and executed to accommodate diamonds of varying sizes, the result being an irregular sparkle, like sunlight bouncing off snow, that happens when you mix sizes together in a pavé setting. It is set with 3,238 diamonds totaling 17.21 carats. This includes 384 diamonds on the dial totaling 2.51 carats; 351 diamonds on the case totaling 1.94 carats; 13 diamonds on the crown totaling 0.06 carat; and a dazzling 2,490 diamonds on the bracelet totaling 12.7 carats. Whew! That’s a lot of snow.
The Twenty-4 contains caliber 324 S C, a full rotor automatic movement that is used in the Ref. 5711 and other Nautilus models (the hottest watch on the planet at the moment), as well as various Calatravas. It has a date display and sweeping seconds, the two things that elevate the Twenty-4 to the category of being a great ladies’ everyday watch. Even the quartz movement of the original was only hours and minutes. The highly readable font is another plus, and it is new to this model. The original had no markers except for Roman numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock. The new numerals are applied Arabics, in a typeface not seen before on Patek ladies’ watches. It looks more like the font on the new pilot’s watch.
The new Twenty-4 has the same rounded baton hands as the original 4910, but they are bigger, which goes along with the overall enhanced readability. And there is another big difference: the hands and numerals on the 7300 are luminated, another great design feature, one that is more in keeping with sport watches. The case size is also very contemporary. It is 36mm in diameter, as opposed to the comparatively diminutive 25.1mm of the original. By the way, Patek Philippe is always incrementally improving its models, and this by no means should imply that the older models are flawed in any way. The original Ref. 4910 quartz Twenty-4 is still hugely popular, and will remain in production.
There are five 7300 references, including stainless steel models with blue sunburst or gray sunburst dial, and three 18k rose gold options with a brown sunburst or “silvery” dial with a crisscross finish meant to resemble silk. The steel models are priced at $26,083 and the rose gold models at $45,361. The diamond bracelet version is $56,702.
The bracelet of the rose gold version, incidentally, can be partially set with diamonds (for a total of 1.88 carats), and the bezel on all models is set with a double row of diamonds weighing just over three-quarters of a carat. The decorated movement, including 21k gold rotor, can be seen through the sapphire crystal caseback, and the whole watch is Patek Seal-approved. The Patek Philippe Twenty-4 Ref. 7300/1450R Haute Joaillerie Ladies’ Watch is priced at $385,568 USD. You can learn more at patek.com.