Ladies First: A History of Patek Philippe's Creation and Innovation of the Women's Timepiece

Ladies First: A History of Patek Philippe's Creation and Innovation of the Women's Timepiece

Oct 28th 2022

For nearly two centuries, timepieces have encapsulated our lives. They walk with us, symbolize our dreams and mark our successes. From the first piece of our collection to the moment we gift that watch to the next generation, it holds our story. It is interesting to consider that this intrinsic complement to our identity may never have existed had it not been for women's fashion and creative genius, as translated by Patek Philippe.

The Feminine Factor

Hungary's Countess Koscowicz did not intend to birth a horological renaissance in 1868. Before this moment, pocket watches were the standard, especially among gentlemen. Ladies of wealth would sometimes task a jeweler with fashioning a pendant watch as a bracelet, but not yet had anyone crafted a timepiece specifically for the wrist. By commissioning a gold and diamond decorated bracelet housing the latest timekeeping technology, the Countess was to wear an avant-garde treasure unlike anything before. The result was more couture jewelry than watch, but it penned her name and watchmaker in the history books.

Patek Philippe continued to pioneer advancements in the watchmaking world, miniaturizing movements until wristwatches could surpass the sophistication of their pocket-only counterparts. The first grand complication ladies' wristwatch No. 174 603, a five-minute repeater by Patek Philippe, was sold in 1916. The door was now open to merge precision and accuracy with art and fashion. Soon, men too began to favor the new wristwatch over the traditional pocket watch.

In 1997, Patek Philippe added the Calatrava Travel Time, Reference 4864, to their collection, a complicated wristwatch for the modern woman. The 29mm case was available in 18k yellow, white, and rose gold. Its dial displayed two time zones, and the wearer could adjust one without disturbing the other, an ideal function for the stylish jet setter. Patek Philippe distinguished itself as a company catering to women who traveled for work and leisure, a lifestyle once considered masculine.

It's About Time

In 1999, after the release of their groundbreaking Ref. 4864, Patek Philippe declared their commitment to ladies' watches with the launch of Twenty~4, their first exclusively feminine collection of timepieces. Designed for the modern, active woman, it remains one of the company's most wearable selections, each piece perfect for any occasion. This transformative power is due to the watch's double duty as haute jewelry and a high-functioning timepiece. The Swiss manufacturer accentuates each quartz movement with a row of 18 diamonds on both sides of the dial. The case leads to a seamlessly set articulate bracelet.

The industry now needed an elegant work of art decorated in diamonds, displaying all the world's twenty-four time zones on a single dial. Patek Philippe answered the call in 2011 with the Ladies' World Time, Ref. 7130, the crowning touch to their longstanding tradition of World Time watches. The beating heart of the Ref. 7130 was the self-winding Caliber 240 HU, an unbelievably thin movement that allowed the case to lie nearly flush to the wrist. An easy-to-read disk listing the names of major cities encircles its dial, divided into day and night by colors and icons representing the sun and moon. The pièce de resistance is the hand-engraved center that holds hour and minute hands of precious metal over a masterly crafted motif. A work of art indeed!

In 2018, Patek Philippe introduced a welcome addition to the original ladies’ Twenty~4 collection with the Twenty~4 Automatic. Styled with a new round case, the Twenty~4 Automatic is driven by the 324 SC self-winding movement caliber. It features a date aperture at 6 o'clock and displays a sweeping seconds hand. With the addition of this automatic collection, ladies' watches now have an enviable place in the culture of serious watch collectors.

Most recently, at Watches and Wonders 2022, Patek Philippe reinterpreted the poetic moonphase with the release of Ref. 7121/200G. Equipped with a white gold case housing an elegant blue dial, it displays the sky's stars with breathtaking vividness. 132 brilliant-cut diamonds illuminate the bezel in two lace-like rows. Its movement is the manually wound mechanical Caliber 215 PS LU, the most compact Patek Philippe complicated movement, helping the timepiece maintain its elegant 33 mm diameter.

Patek Philippe has championed the art of fine timekeeping for over a century by boldly catering to the aspirations of the world's most forward-thinking women. Razny Jewelers is the only place to discover this historic manufacturer for residents and visitors to the state of Illinois. We welcome you to experience Patek Philippe within our locations in Downtown Chicago and Addison. 

Schedule your appointment to shop our Patek Philippe collection in person.