Polachecks Holiday 2021 Magazine


b y C A R O L B E S L E R



Patek Philippe is one of the world’s most prestigious watch brands. Its vintage masterpieces and newer cult models consistently command the highest prices at auction. Some references, such as the Nautilus, are so popular that they sell out the minute they hit stores, and because of limited production, only a lucky few can obtain them. Given the frenzy surrounding this quest for cult models, it’s easy to overlook the fact that Patek Philippe also makes watches for women, with equal attention to craftsmanship and engineering. The company has a long history of creating watches for women, beginning in 1839, the year it was founded. It was an era when personal timepieces were a luxury afforded only by the aristocracy. The fashion at the time among ladies

was to wear pendant watches, elaborately finished in enamel, miniature painting, and gemsetting. Patek sold three to Madame Goscinska. A few years later, in 1851, a pendant watch with diamond roses on blue enamel caught the eye of QueenVictoria at an exposition at the London Crystal Palace. Company archives — yes, they go back that far! — also reveal the sale of a key- wound secret watch set with diamonds to a Countess Koscowicz of Hungary in 1868. Some of these vintage pieces reside in the Patek Philippe museum in Geneva, on view as early examples of exquisite craftsmanship. But Patek’s ladies’ watches were never just decorative; they were also first-rate in the technical sense. One of the earliest complications on record is a ladies’ platinum watch with a five-

minute repeater movement, sold in 1916 via New York jeweler D.O. Wickham. The collections have also included ladies’ complications, including the classic ladies’ annual calendar, which reigned for many years during the quartz era, as the only complication of its kind for ladies. In 2009, Patek introduced its first in-house chronograph movement and decided to launch it in a ladies’ wristwatch (Ref. 7071). In 2011, it debuted the first series minute repeater for ladies, Ref. 7000, following up with a first-ever ladies’ split seconds chronograph, Ref. 7059, in the same year. More recently, Patek launched the smaller (ladies’) sized Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 7234G, reinforcing the ladies’ collections with a serious tool watch.

Left to right: Dial and decorated cover of Queen Victoria’s Patek Philippe pocket watch. A Patek Philippe ladies’ minute repeater made in 1916. The original Patek Philippe Twenty~4.

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