An Elegant Statement on Your Wrist

Bejewelled new references in its Aquanaut and Nautilus collections add more sparkle to Patek Philippe’s sophisticated offerings. LORRAINE KEARNEY goes exploring.

The Nautilus Haute Joaillerie line showcases the snow setting, reminiscent of snow shimmering in sunlight, with a choice of emeralds, blue sapphires or rubies.

IN THE CONTINUOUSLY EVOLVING TAPESTRY of your story, a wristwatch is a statement, a subtle expression of luxury, of your style. The allure of a well-crafted watch is wrapped up in the indulgence of slowing down. It’s an invitation to step away from the digital age with its relentless ping of notifications.

A watch captures time, but telling the time is arguably incidental. Look at a Patek Philippe and you’re thinking about its story, its heritage, its elegance and refinement. Not what time it is.

The Patek Philippe fold-over clasp, with four independent catches, secures the bracelet.

This is not a watch for a single generation; rather, its story grows as the years pass. Handed down through family lines, its provenance is one thing, its legacy quite another.

Patek Philippe is the oldest independent, family-owned watch manufacturer in Geneva and has a long story of its own. Established in 1839, it made the first Swiss wristwatch, for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary, in 1868. The countess has long been forgotten, but her show-stopping yellow gold bracelet is displayed, with due care and respect, at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.

Until 1868, time had been kept in the pocket and the idea of a wristwatch was dismissed as a silly fad. A pocket watch was what a man needed; the wrists, neck and ears were for women and their jewellery. Interestingly, the practicality of the wristwatch was recognised during the First World War, and by the time of the second global conflict watchmakers’ focus had shifted to wristwatches for men.

This pioneering spirit at Patek Philippe is evident in other firsts: the first complicated ladies’ wristwatch with a five-minute repeater, in 1916; the first split-seconds chronograph wristwatch, in 1923; the first all-electronic clock, in 1956; the ladies’ first minute repeater, in 2011. And along the way, the company has racked up patents and first prizes.

It is also continuously adding new chapters to its story. Witness the recently launched Aquanaut Luce ‘Rainbow’ Minute Repeater Haute Joaillerie with its Grand Complications It follows in stylish footsteps: the Aquanaut Collection was released in 1997.

The new ‘Rainbow’ is the first minute repeater in the Aquanaut Collection. It is an arresting piece of jewellery, set with a total of 52 baguette-cut multi-coloured sapphires, 112 baguette-cut diamonds and 160 brilliant-cut diamonds. Just look at these numbers – the timepiece is positively awash with sparkle, particularly the model with the bracelet comprising a rainbow of multicoloured sapphires. The diamonds in the dial are in the invisible setting, and in the snow setting in the hour ring.

The Aquanaut Luce “Rainbow” Minute Repeater is a dazzling alliance of haute horlogerie and haute joaillerie, completed in a contemporary casual chic style. It’s the first minute repeater in the Aquanaut Collection, brightened with diamonds and multi-coloured sapphires.

The hour markers are sapphires and the baton-style hands are rose gold – the hour hand with three rubies, and the minute hand with five blue sapphires. The hole in the cannon carrying the hands is set with a brilliant-cut diamond. The bezel keeps the original octagonal shape, with an outer row of diamonds and an inner of rainbow-coloured sapphires. It’s all set in a slender rose gold case.

But that is only the looks; there are also the additional functions. The transparent sapphire case-back reveals the intricate self-winding R 27 calibre (internal mechanism) that chimes on demand the hours, quarters and minutes on two classic gongs, as well as the off-centre 22K gold guilloched mini-rotor. There are 342 parts and a power reserve of 43 to 48 hours.

The new ladies’ Nautilus watch, with its purple lacquered dial bearing the signature wave pattern typical of this collection, is water-resistant to 60m. Adding some sparkle, the bezel is illuminated by a row of 46 brilliant-cut diamonds.

This gorgeous watch is delivered with three straps in matte beige, matte white and red, and there are more gems in the rose gold Aquanaut fold-over clasp. A pretty – and pretty impressive – watch, it comes after the company introduced two useful complications to its Aquanaut Luce ladies’ collection in 2021 and 2022: a travel time dual time-zone model and a self-winding chronograph. In essence, the new references merge haute horlogerie with haute joaillerie, or high watchmaking with high jewellery.

But before the Aquanaut Collection there was the Nautilus Collection, dating back to when the first Nautilus sports watch in steel was launched in 1976. The Nautilus ladies’ model has been interpreted in various versions since its launch in 2013.

The latest in the collection, released recently, are in the Nautilus Haute Joaillerie line, with three of the new models showcasing the snow setting; the close placement of many small diamonds looks like snow shimmering in sunlight. There is a choice of additional gemstones – blue sapphires, rubies or emeralds – seen in each of the references.

Nautilus Haute Joaillerie 7118/1451G-001 is in dazzling white gold, set with 1500 brilliant-cut diamonds and 876 blue sapphires accentuating its design. Its model mates are set with 876 rubies and emeralds. The white gold hour markers are set with the coloured gems and the white gold bracelet is paved with stones. It’s neatly finished with the patented Patek Philippe fold-over clasp. A transparent sapphire case-back reveals the inner workings.

Patek Philippe’s autumnal bouquet is completed with the Nautilus 7010R-013, an elegant sports ladies’ model powered by a quartz movement and enclosed in a slim 32mm rose gold case, water-resistant to 60m. This model has a porthole-inspired case construction, and the case and bezel have a contrasting polished and satin finishing.

The Nautilus watch features a quartz movement and a 32mm rose gold case with matching bracelet. The Nautilus is one of Patek Philippe’s most cherished collections, and this latest model is the first of its ladies’ watches to feature the new lockable adjustment system.

The standout feature is its lacquered dial, in a striking purple, and showcasing the signature wave pattern of the Nautilus collection. The hour markers are rose gold and ogival-shaped, the date in an aperture at 3 o’clock. The new watch replaces two earlier references. It has a solid case-back and the strap, a composite material in purple, has the classic Nautilus fold-over clasp. It is more understated, with just 46 diamonds in the bezel. There are 80 parts and eight jewels, the power source a silver oxide battery with a battery life of about three years. Its model mate has a bracelet fitted with the patented Patek Philippe fold-over clasp. It is the first of the company’s ladies’ watches to feature the new lockable adjustment system.

These new releases in the Aquanaut and Nautilus collections highlight exactly why so many of us love Patek Philippe watches – they are beautiful, finely crafted pieces of art that mark the passing of time and the telling of stories. V