In 1997, Patek Philippe presented the Aquanaut Ref. 5060A, a sports watch with a rubber strap, heavily inspired by the design of Nautilus. It was aimed at a new and younger clientele with fast money to spend, looking for a fresher and sportier alternative to an already established model. Twenty-six years later, the Aquanaut collection comprises twenty references, nearly as many as the Nautilus, born two decades earlier, in 1976. The Aquanaut, ridiculed as a Nautilus Junior at first, now is a similarly distinguished and unobtainable Patek. However, the Aquanaut offers fewer complications than the older brother, perhaps restrained by the sporty nature of the collection. But active lifestyle and sport are about timing, so after a rather long consideration, the Aquanaut collection welcomed a chronograph to its ranks in 2018, the stainless steel Ref. 5968A. Three years later, PP added two white gold models to the collection. Recently, Patek Philippe introduced a very indiscreetly luxurious rose gold Aquanaut Chronograph 5968R, and we have had our hands on the watch.
As the rose gold Aquanaut Chronograph 5968R is already the fourth version, do not expect any revolutionary revelations, it is a watch you surely know, painted differently – like the time and date Aquanaut Ref. 5167R-001. The case with an octagonal bezel is 42.2 mm, measured from 10 to 4 o’clock, with an 11.9 mm thickness. Polished and satin finishes enhance the luxurious look but also complement the sporty feel of this 120m water-resistant watch. On the crown side of the case, there is a pusher for starting/stopping the chronograph at 2, and the 4 o’clock pusher is used for the chronograph reset and flyback.
The dial with a familiar chocolate-bar-like Aquanaut pattern is brown with a black-gradient rim, and it looks very chocolate when light is good and almost black (dark chocolate) when lighting is poor – this gold-and-brown theme is a classic, already applied to the Nautilus 5711. The applied rose gold and Super-LumiNova coated numerals and hour markers are great for readability, day or night. The baton-style hour and minute hands are also rose gold, also treated with luminescent coating. To check where in a month you are, look for the date window at 3 o’clock, you can’t miss it.
The 60-minute is the only chronograph counter, and it is at 6 o’clock, repeating the shape of the bezel. The minutes track is graduated to a 1/4th of a second, so the centrally-mounted chronograph hand should allow for precise timing of the event – Look, Bob, it took him only 15 and 3/4th of a second to mix me a Manhattan! Jokes aside, the central chronograph hand can run continuously to display seconds non-stop, all thanks to the vertical disc clutch that is virtually friction-free. And this brings us to the movement.
Turn the watch around, and the exhibition caseback reveals the CH 28-520 C self-winding flyback chronograph calibre, with a 21k gold central rotor decorated. It has a Gyromax balance and Spiromax balance spring and bears the Patek Philippe Seal; the latter means the accuracy has a tolerance of no more than -3/+2 seconds per day. This column-wheel-equipped movement beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations/hour and will provide you with 45 to 55 hours of power reserve. Stamped with the Patek Seal, it is nicely decorated overall, as you’d expect from a watch with this name on the dial.
This new Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968R is worn on a dark brown strap made from composite material. The strap is closed with a patented Aquanaut fold-over clasp, matching the case material. The watch is a Patek, so ergonomics is on the level, and so is the suggested retail price – EUR 75,100. A popular online resource for secondary market watches has a bunch of listings, and prices start at over 200k euros. Please don’t do it.
For more information about the rose gold Aquanaut Chronograph 5968R, please visit www.patek.com.