Twenty-one years ago, Patek Philippe introduced the Aquanaut. The 1997 debut marked an unprecedented entry to the brand for a younger demographic more interested in contemporary touches (and an approachable price point...) Characterized by oversized cases and brightly colored bracelets, Patek has spent the better part of two decades designing the Aquanaut to be its sportiest line of timepieces.
And, this year's Baselworld release continued that trajectory with the introduction of the first chronograph in the collection, the Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A. We truly believe the brand will intrigue the next generation of luxury watch buyers with the combination of tradition, innovation and flash in this new addition.
The Aquanaut has long been considered one of the most casual watches in Patek’s offering - previously presented with a GMT, "travel time" and a date complication. The introduction of the self-winding chronograph is a new addition to one of Patek’s most striking lines with an aim to please younger buyers looking to own a timepiece suitable for daily wear.
With a diameter of 42.2mm, the contemporary stainless-steel case of the Aquanaut Ref. 5968A houses the CH 28-250C Caliber fly back chronograph movement. The movement is also used in the 5980 Nautilus by Patek (which offers tremendous value). Featuring a classic column wheel and a vertical disk clutch that prevents rebound when the chronograph is started, the CH 28-205C movement is virtually free of friction and can also be used as a continuously running seconds hand.
Constructed of 308 parts, the movement operates at 28,800 vph and has a power reserve of 55 hours depending on use. The exhibition case back shows off a 24k gold central rotor stamped with the Patek seal and other specifics of the movement, including its 35 jewels. On the right side of the crown are two pushers, one at 2 o’clock and one at 4 o’clock. The pusher at 2 o’clock starts and stops the chronograph, while the pusher at 4 o’clock is used for the reset and fly back functions.
While movement is impressive, the dial of the Aquanaut Chronograph is equally notable. Lacking a seconds dial, the 60-minute chronograph counter is positioned at 6 o’clock on the dial. Orange accents are visible on the chronograph hand, the sub-dial hand, and the minute markers of the main and sub-dial. This pop of bright color is complemented by a equally eye-catching orange rubber strap (for those of you who are looking for a more understated look, the Aquanaut also comes with a black strap if you prefer). The dial is completed by a date window at the 3 o’clock position and an imprinted globe pattern found on many of Patek’s pricier pieces.
The Aquanaut Chronograph also features an updated clasp with four catches on the steel folding buckle. Water resistant to 120 meters, this timepiece is an ultra-luxury sports watch with mass appeal, sporty styling, and the weight of the Patek Philippe name.
Put those pieces together and you have one fantastic timepiece.