Earlier this year, Patek Philippe released two new iterations of its iconic Aquanaut Flyback Chronograph. True to the Aquanaut DNA, the two new references are imbued with understated sporty elegance and feature a “tropical” strap made of a new ultra-resistant composite material.
The Nec Plus Ultra of Sporty Watches
When asked to list the sportier watches from Patek Philippe, two names come to mind: Nautilus and Aquanaut. In a relatively short time, the Aquanaut has achieved a similar level of cult-like worship to the Nautilus – the nec plus ultra of sport-chic watches. Not bad, considering the 21-year age gap between the two.
Browse our slideshow on Patek Philippe Aquanaut Now and Then from its very first featuring in Patek Philippe Generations campaign in 1997 to its latest iterations today.
Whilst it’s convenient to do so, the Nautilus shouldn’t be a constant point of comparison to the Aquanaut. Sure, both are on the side of sportiness. But, while the Nautilus may be mistaken for a dressier watch to the layman, the Aquanaut is more evidently seen as the go-to, take anywhere, do anything Patek Philippe watch. Thanks to the Aquanaut’s big, legible dials, composite rubber straps (a first for the brand) and penchant for Super-LumiNova.
New White Gold Additions in 2021
The white gold Ref. 5968G released earlier this year traces its lineage to the first Aquanaut Chronograph from 2018. And unlike the Aquanaut’s more subdued historical references, Ref. 5968A is decked out in orange. The chronograph register hands are rendered in bright orange, so too was the complimentary composite strap – it came fitted on a black strap, as was expected for a stainless-steel Aquanaut.
Subdued Design & Aesthetics
This year’s releases once again follow a more subdued palette. There are two colourways: Ref. 5968G-010 with matching khaki green dial and composite strap and Ref. 5968G-001 with a blue-black gradient dial and midnight blue strap. Both feature the emblematic raised chequerboard Aquanaut pattern – an iconic dial design since the Aquanaut launch in 1997. Both references have white gold cases, bezels, and crowns.
The baton-style hour and minute hands and Arabic hour-markers are in 18k gold with Super-LumiNova coating, while the central sweeping chronograph is rendered in white lacquer. So too is the 60-minute chronograph hand, located within the recessed, octagonal-shaped counter at the bottom of the dial. The recessed date window at 3 o’clock has a contrasting white date disc and black numerals.
White Gold Case, Crown & Pushers
The distinct octagonal-shaped Aquanaut white gold case shines ‘in the metal’. Featuring an array of polished and satin-finished surfaces, it’s genuinely a joy on the wrist, catching every glint of light that comes its way.
Elongated white-gold chronograph pushers are found at 2 and 4 o’clock, flanking a white-gold screw-down crown. Despite the apparent thinness of the case, the pushers feel substantial. They are a breeze to actuate – requiring an ideal compression level to avoid accidentally starting, stopping, or resetting the 60-minute counter.
Measuring 42.2 mm by 11.9 mm high, the svelte appearance of the Aquanaut Chronograph belies the complicated flyback chronograph self-winding mechanical movement housed within.
Calibre CH 28-520 C
The Aquanaut Chronograph Ref. 5968G is equipped with the calibre CH 28-520 C self-winding flyback chronograph movement uniting the world of tradition (column-wheel control) and innovation (vertical disk clutch). As the clutch is virtually friction-free, it has the added benefit of allowing the centre chronograph hand to also function as a permanent second hand. The flyback function allows the user to time a new event while the chronograph is still running by activating the push-piece at 4 o’clock.
The integrated strap is made of a composite material ultra-resistant to wear, salt water, and radiation. It is fitted with a patented fold-over clasp secured by four independent catches.
Combined with a water resistance of 120m, the new white gold Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph references are welcome additions to one of the brand’s most versatile collections of watches.
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