Patek Philippe continues to surprise us at this 2018 edition of Baselworld. After a rather unexpected perpetual calendar on the Nautilus, the brand now has a chronograph version of the Aquanaut – a first since the introduction of the model in 1997. And there’s more as the Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A comes with bold touches of colour on the dial and the strap. Like or not, but Patek is moving forward.
The Aquanaut was the first Patek to be purpose-built for an active life, for sports and for aquatic purposes. It’s not that the Nautilus was ever considered a dress watch, but it was more of a mix between elegance and sports. The Aquanaut has never hidden its raison d’être. It was even the first Patek to feature a rubber strap – and in 1997, that was pretty rare. For the first time in its history, this modern icon receives a chronograph, alongside the two other existing versions – the time-and-date and the travel time models.
For the occasion, the brand goes slightly wild with the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A spruced up with a colourful dial and bright straps. Yet, for the rest, the integration of the chronograph has been done in a subtle way, without altering the overall style of the Aquanaut.
Even with the addition of the two chronograph pushers, the octagonal shape of the case remains intact – and the integration, without being revolutionary (at all) is pleasant and balanced. The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A is presented in stainless steel. The case measures 42.2mm in diameter – and is quite compact on the wrist – and 11.9mm in height – a very decent thickness for an automatic chronograph. Overall, sporty but balanced proportions.
The main evolution comes from the dial – but here again, no drama and a clever integration of the chronograph function. Using Patek’s in-house Calibre CH 28-520, the Aquanaut Chronograph only features one sub-dial for the 60-minute counter. No running seconds, no 12-hour sub-dial. It is a deliberate choice that some won’t like, but at least the dial remains clean.
Secondly, while the square pattern and the dark grey colour of the dial aren’t new, we can spot various touches of orange on both the seconds hand, the sub-counter hand and the seconds track on the periphery of the dial. Once again, some will probably find it a bit loud but this is quite refreshing and offers a younger, trendier style.
The same comments can be made for the strap. The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A is delivered with two composite rubber straps: a classic black one and a much more unexpected – and in the end quite attractive – orange one. You said surprising? Yes, indeed. The strap also features Patek’s latest foldover clasp. Two years in the making, the clasp is equipped with four catches for additional security.
Inside the case of the Aquanaut Chronograph is a well-known movement, the integrated, in-house calibre CH 28-520, with a column-wheel and vertical clutch. This movement is also a flyback chronograph and features all the classical Patek’s delicacies, such as the Spiromax and Gyromax technologies, as well as the Patek Philippe Seal.
The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A will be priced at CHF 38,600. More details on patek.com.