Patek Philippe, the prestigious Swiss watch company, has just launched a new microsite, which is dedicated entirely to showcasing its women's watches. And high time it is too as Patek Philippe has been somewhat coy in revealing the extent to which it has been catering to women.
From the sporty Aquanaut Luce to the well-loved Twenty4 through to the mechanical mastery of the Ladies' First 'grand complications', I can't think of another brand that so graciously provides women with such a wide array of watches. In a discreet and measured fashion, the house has quietly gone about its business of charming women.
The website clearly displays the seven women's watch families with all the information you could need to drink in every detail of these exquisitely made watches. A history of women's watches at Patek Philippe is a visual jaunt into the evolution of both the style and function of ladies' watches as well as an insight into many of its royal clients over the centuries.
The site also gives readers the chance to get closer to the brand by offering glimpses into the pristine workshops of the world's finest watchmaker. One film follows the progress of the 'Diamond Ribbon' watch, from drilling holes that look no wider than a human hair into a mother-of-pearl dial to stamping out the solid gold numerals that will adorn the face of the watch. Scenes dreamily segue from one meticulously controlled process to another, and you can spot several hand-polishing sessions, a dip into mysterious blue tanks of liquid and dials spinning on a miniature carousel or, like cakes, being dusted with a fine white powder.
For many it will be the first opportunity to see and hear Sandrine Stern, Head of Watch Creation at Patek Philippe, talk about her approach to design and her philosophy on how to choose a watch. My favourite video of the three, however, is the pretty film of the 'Diamond Ribbon' watch that appears to float through the air with the grace of a gymnast's ribbon. No voiceover is needed as the beauty of the watches speaks for itself. I sat mesmerised for a full minute watching every detail of this diamond-set watch.
The Art of Diamond setting is explained in detail and gives an idea of just how complex it is to gem-set a watch 'the Patek way'. Like every process at Patek Philippe, the level of detail and meticulous controls go well beyond anything I have seen. The results are clear to see on the finished watches.
But perhaps, most interesting of all, is the section on ladies' complications, as this is where Patek Philippe has been a true, if understated, trailblazer. The house now offers women three 'grand complication' watches in its Ladies First range. These include a Perpetual Calendar, an ultra-thin split seconds chronograph and a minute repeater. For those in the know, I need say no more about the significance of creating women's versions of these masterpieces. And there is ample information and images on the new website to find out all you could want about the world of haute horlogerie.
Also on show are the other six 'complications', which include a chronograph, skeletonised movement, world time, travel time, annual calendar and the 'Diamond Ribbon with its moon phase display. So make yourself a cup of tea, click here and enter the world of Patek Philippe, where peace and perfection reign. ENDS