Originally showcased to the world in 2011, Patek Philippe’s ‘Ladies First’ minute repeater was one of the finest chiming timepieces in terms of what is most expected of the complication – the clarity of sound. Presented in a 33.7 mm rose gold case, the 7000R-001 had a clean, cream-coloured dial and was powered by the self-winding R27 PS caliber distinguished by the melodious sound of its two classic gongs.
Discontinued in 2017, this watch is now back in a diamond-set version adorned with a gorgeous flinqué enamel blue dial. As part of the its “Rare Handcrafts 2020-2021” exhibition, as Patek Philippe pays tribute to its ancestral artisanship with six stunning timepieces, the new white gold ladies’ minute repeater stands out for its subtle yet beautifully hand-decorated dial and flawless gem-set bezel.
Entirely hand-guilloched with a swirling pattern inspired by the “Siamese Fighting Fish” first seen in the pocket watch Reference 992/137G-001 from 2019, the dial comes alive with its transparent blue enamel that allows one to appreciate the delicate design in its full glory. Unlike the original model, which had Breguet numerals for hour markers, the new variation uses elegant, spear-shaped hour markers that complement the white gold hour and minute hands and a small seconds hand placed at 6 o’clock.
This dial is encased in an equally beautiful white gold case adorned with 168 Top Wesselton pure diamonds (~0.78 ct) set in two rows. What makes this decoration really unique is Patek Philippe’s patented gem-setting technique where the craftsman cuts out grooves in the gold between the stones to allow the light to shine through these diamonds from below. This exclusive “Flamme®” technique lends an incomparable brilliance to the gem-set bezel, making the watch look even more glamorous.
While Patek Philippe has taken the watch’s decoration a notch up with this latest variation of the ladies’ minute repeater, it has rightly kept the same ingenious movement as it was in the original model. The R 27 PS with its off-centre 22K gold mini- rotor is distinguished for its slenderness (it is just 5.05 mm in height) and the purity of its sound, as we mentioned, is a class apart.
To suit the contemporary style, the new watch’s ‘officer’s-style’ case has been slightly enlarged to 36mm. The elegant timepiece is offered on a patinated ocean blue alligator leather strap secured by a white gold prong buckle set with 26 brilliant-cut diamonds.
If you are not really a fan of transparent casebacks, you have the option of going with a solid white gold caseback for this watch. But who wouldn’t want to admire Patek Philippe’s immaculate finishing even on the back of the watch, we wonder!
Movement: Self-winding mechanical movement Caliber R 27 PS; Minute repeater with chime on two classic gongs; Small seconds.
Dial and Case: Blue enamel hand-guilloche with a swirling pattern (flinqué enamel), gold printed hour markers; 18K gold dial plate; white gold case; interchangeable solid and sapphire crystal casebacks; 168 diamonds: ~0.78 ct. (bezel). 26 diamonds: ~0.18 ct. (buckle). Total of 194 diamonds: ~0.96 ct.
Bracelet: Alligator leather with square scales; hand-stitched, ocean blue patinated; diamond-set prong buckle.