Striking Feminine Elegance with Patek Philippe
Article from Ole Mathiesen Magazine Vol. 23
In 2012 Patek Philippe unveiled their “Ladies First Perpetual Calendar”, model 7140 – the thinnest perpetual calendar in the world, featuring an impressive movement comprising 275 hand-finished parts and measuring just 3.88 mm thick.
Patek Philippe has a long, rich history that dates back to 1839, with collections that have featured watches for women from the very beginning. Their watches are true works of art, decorated with enamel dials and precious gems. But they are also technical wonders of complicated mechanical engineering, such as repeater watches that can chime the time – a particularly useful feature before the advent of the electric light bulb. Patek Philippe still has a focus on watches for women – perhaps more than ever before. Through the past two decades, the watchmaker has focused on innovation in mechanical watches for women. This includes watches with travel time function, chronograph function, romantic moon phase, an annual calendar that accounts for the varying lengths of the months, and the Patek Philippe perpetual calendar, which not only accounts for the different lengths of months, but also for leap years. Patek Philippe has always designed the watch around the movement and not the other way around. And to bring finesse and femininity to the watches, they are typically as thin as possible.
Substance and style has driven Patek Philippe in the development of their mordern women´s watches. The head of the brand´s approach to women´s watches is a woman herself: Sandrine Stern, head of watch creation. Since joining the company 25 year ago, she has worked tirelessly to bring unique character and complexity to Patek Philippe´s women´s watches. Her goal has been to implement the same technical innovation seen in men´s models without compromising the feminine aesthetic. Since the turn of the millennium, Patek Philippe´s attention to models for women has reached new heights. In 2009 the launched “Ladies First Chronograph” model 7071, which was the first movement developed for a women´s watch and later adapted for a men´s model.
Two years later Patek Philippe introduced an ultra-thin split-second chronograph and a minute repeater for women. In 2012, Patek Philippe unveiled their “Ladies First Perpetual Calendar”, model 7140 – the thinnest perpetual calendar in the world, featuring an impressive movement comprising 275 hand-finished parts and measuring just 3.88 mm thick. The perpetual calendar is designed to mechanically account for leap years, and it will display the correct time, day, date, month and moon phase until the year 2100, when it will have to be corrected by a single day. In 2015, Patek Philippe introduced model 4948 with the watchmaker´s legendary patented annual calendar, which distinguishes between months with 30 and 31 days. This complication only requires adjustment once a year, on February 1.
It was not until 1884 that the International Meridian Conference divided the globe into 24 time zones. After experimenting with other time scales, agreement on the introduction of UTC was finally reached in 1972. This is now the global standard for world time, and the time according to which everything is measured. In today´s world of accelerating globalization, it is ever-more important for frequent travelers and international business people to keep track of what is happening in different time zones. The world time complication was originally developed in the 1930´s in connection with the advent of commercial air travel. It was like a glamorous travel companion, displaying the world´s 24 time zones with an exotic selection of cities.
Not until 2011 did Patek Philippe introduce the first feminine version of the famous world time feature. Now women could use the feature to see the time in their location along with all the planet´s time zones at a single glance. Instead of adjusting the hour dial to local time when travelling, the button at 10 o´clock enables adjustment to the destination´s time zone, as the city ring and 24-hour ring move counterclockwise without affecting the minute hand. It is clear to see that Patek Philippe´s watches for women have undergone a transformation over the past 25 years. They exude the character of a feminine handshake with style and substance that is uniquely distinct from their masculine counterparts. You never really own a Patek Philippe. You merely take care of it, for the next generation.