I always love when a technical first launches in a watch aimed at women — thank you, Rolex and Patek Philippe — but this is certainly not a new phenomenon.
Back in the pre-quartz days, when it was still OK for women to voice that size does indeed matter, tiny timepieces were de rigeur, giving the watchmaker the headache of developing equally diminutive movements.
Jaeger-LeCoultre had its much-lauded 101, of course and then, in 1958, Eterna launched the Eterna Matic Golden Heart watch, which boasted the world’s smallest automatic movement.
But then surely one would expect record-breaking calibres from the brand that founded ETA back in 1856?
Undeniably elegant, at 15.33mm in diameter and just 5mm high, the gold oscillating weight with its five ball bearings was visible through a crystal caseback and the watch came on a choice of bracelet.
An instant success, the Golden Heart begged to be seen on the wrists of the world’s most beautiful women.
Step forward, screen sirens Gina Lollobrigida and Brigitte Bardot, who became official ambassadors for Eterna in the late-1950s.
Even before its official release, Lollobrigida asked for the watch, wearing it on her 30th birthday in 1957. (The story of “La Lollo” and the Golden Heart is told more fully in the print edition of Revolution UK, September issue.)