Hands-on Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G with Khaki Green Dial

The Jumbo is back for its next adventure in full green attire.

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Rebecca Doulton | ic_query_builder_black_24px 6 minute read |
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G Khaki Green White Gold

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Aquanaut in 2017, Patek Philippe presented the Jumbo Ref. 5168G in white gold with a larger diameter of 42.2mm, the most Jumbo size of this family to date and the first one to be housed in a white gold case. The fashionable blue dial of the 2017 model now has a sibling with a cool khaki green dial and matching “tropical” rubber strap. In essence, the exact same watch as the 2017 model with a green strap and dial, the khaki green dial adds a safari/adventure/military mood to the watch underlining its mission as Patek’s everyday sports watch.

Response time

This is not the first time the Aquanaut Jumbo appears in khaki green attire. In 2011, Patek issued a highly limited “special clients-only” Aquanaut Jumbo 5167A-010 in a 40mm stainless steel case with a khaki green dial and strap. One of these extremely rare models appeared on the auction circuit in 2015 and was sold for CHF 52,500 by Sotheby’s.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A-010 steel khaki green dial strap - photo by sothebys
The highly limited “special clients-only” Aquanaut Jumbo 5167A-010 with a khaki colour scheme. According to Patek scholars, less than 10 watches were produced – photo by Sotheby’s

Scarcity, as Patek well knows, creates demand. But who would have imagined that even the khaki green rubber straps, sold separately by retailers, would become hot commodities in their own right? Bloggers and collectors started posting photos of their Aquanauts (5167s and other models with dark dials) customised with khaki green straps and the response on social media was so positive that Patek decided to strike while the iron was hot. So that’s the raison d’être of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G with Khaki Green Dial.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G Khaki Green White Gold

Background of the Aquanaut

Launched in 1997, the Aquanaut (Ref.5060) was positioned as the brand’s entry-level, multipurpose sports watch designed to target a younger, trendier crowd. With its sportier, pared-down take on the hallowed Nautilus, the Aquanaut came with a friendlier price tag and, for the first time in Patek’s history, was fitted with a rubber strap. Shocking as this might be for Patek’s more highbrow clients, rubber had already sailed into the realms of watchmaking onboard Carlo Crocco’s groundbreaking 1980 Hublot watch with its gold case and black rubber strap.

Touted by some critics as a poor man’s Nautilus (please read the final paragraph to see why it is definitely NOT a poor man’s Nautilus), the Aquanaut has always been a controversial piece. Without going into the history of the Nautilus (you can read our extensive 3-part coverage here), nobody can overlook the immense influence this watch has had on the Aquanaut.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G Khaki Green White Gold

The rounded octagonal bezel and flat profile of the Aquanaut are direct descendants of the Nautilus and establish an immediate sense of brand recognition and continuity. In a departure from its forbear, the Aquanaut dispensed with the hallmark “ears”, substituted the baton markers for Arabic hour numerals, made the hands thicker and the lume more pronounced, and flaunted a trendy rubber strap instead of the integrated metal bracelet of the Nautilus. A less complex and more rugged 3-part case than its big brother, the Aquanaut jacked up the water-resistance to 120m and incorporated a sapphire caseback to view its manual-winding movement. Following the launch of the 36mm Aquanaut during Baselworld 1997, Patek decided to offer a Jumbo version of the watch with a case size of 38mm (Ref. 5065).

Given the elusive nature of the Nautilus – unless, of course, you form part of Patek’s inner circle of ‘special clients’ – folks wanting a sporty, everyday model that still lets the world know you own a Patek have turned increasingly to the Nautilus. Frank, our editor-in-chief and founder, has a good story to tell on his particular Nautilus odyssey, which you can read here.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G Khaki Green White Gold

5168G Case

With a 42.2mm diameter, this 2019 and the 2017 Jumbo are the largest models in the family to date. You can tell that our perception of large watches has altered since 1997 and a 42.2mm sports watch these days is pretty standard fare. The slim case height of 8.25mm, the flat profile and the almost weightless rubber strap make this Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G extremely attractive to handle. Plus there is the reassuring and luxurious weight of white gold. The finishes are superlative – vertical satin finish on the bezel and polished flanks – and underline the watch’s pedigree. The choice of white gold is also smart because it can always be downplayed as steel.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G Khaki Green White Gold

Khaki Green Dial

Unlike the blue model with its gradient dial, this khaki green dial is uniform and has no colour variations. Coupled with the matte texture, the dial comes across as totally flat and is consequently liberated of reflections. The chequerboard embossing on the dial, with its decoration of parallels and meridians like those found on a globe (evoking world travel?), add volume and interest to an otherwise flat, matte dial.

The white gold Arabic numerals are applied to the dial and filled in with lume as are the markers above the numerals and the thick baton-shaped hands. The luminescence of the Aquanaut is powerful and long-lasting. Offering central hour, minutes and sweep seconds, the date window of the 5168G replaces the number ‘3’ and has a white background.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G Khaki Green White Gold

Rubber Strap

The rubber strap of the Aquanaut is a big deal. It was a differentiating factor back in 1997 and a provocative lure to attract a younger, hipper, sportier client. As you can see, the embossed pattern on the dial extends all the way to the khaki green strap, which I have to admit is extremely comfortable, flexible, and silky to the touch and feels very good against the wrist. Obviously, the strap is water-resistant but it is also resilient to traction, saltwater and UV radiation and comes with the new patented fold-over clasp with four independent catches.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G Khaki Green White Gold

Calibre 324 S C

Inside the case is Patek’s self-winding calibre 324 S C, a movement shared with all the other 3-hand Aquanauts. Simple in function, the thin 3.3mm calibre is fitted with some of Patek Philippe’s best developments like the Gyromax balance and Spiromax balance spring. The 21k gold rotor – decorated with Geneva stripes and Patek’s Calatrava cross – ensures a power reserve of roughly 45 hours. The decorations are not lavish but sufficient with enough attention to detail and accuracy to merit the Patek Philippe Seal.

Thoughts

The combination of a white gold case and khaki green dial and strap works extremely well. Cool, rugged, slightly military or safari (take your pick), the Aquanaut Jumbo is resilient and water-resistant, yet elegant and well-finished, bearing the Patek Philippe aura that is important to many buyers. It’s the kind of watch that insinuates an active outdoor lifestyle, and will no doubt be a big hit in the Aquanaut range.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G Khaki Green White Gold

My one reproach – and quite a big one – about this Aquanaut 5168G is its price. And you can dispel any nagging doubts about this being a poor man’s Nautilus! Retailing for EUR 36,010, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G is more expensive than a time-and-date Steel Nautilus Ref. 5711 (EUR 27,780). Fair enough, it is white gold as opposed to stainless steel, but I can think of many other top-notch sports watches with a lot more to offer for half the price. I guess the fact of owning a Patek Philippe and making sure that everybody can recognise it as a Patek Philippe comes at a price. Does that make it a rich man’s sports watch? What do you think?

More information on the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Jumbo 5168G Khaki Green at patek.com.

11 responses

  1. Sadly, Patek and Rolex (although a few other top marks are also guilty) are doing nothing to meet demand in a way which can be called respectful to the customer. The suppression of supply and the bonkers prices (especially for the used market) is a bubble waiting to burst.

    I have collected watches for 30 years. My collection is quite valuable and I even own a Patek. But sadly the watch buyers out there now care little for the heritage of the pieces that are buying. Now more than ever those buyers are just waving their wrists about in a vulgar display of wealth. Sickening and sad.

  2. Despite it being a marginally cheaper way of getting hold of the 324/SC calibre (although there’s a Calatrava that has it for the least in real terms), I’ve never liked the Aquanaut design. Imagine it was IWC or Girard Perregaux who offered it – it’d be as popular as dog’s eggs.

  3. I read recently that the average price for a Patek Philippe wristwatch is $40,000. We now know why. I accept that veblen goods have existed since before the Pharaohs and am honest enough to admit that if I became extremely wealthy I would probably own something like this (to keep it subtle, you know?), but from any objective viewpoint, the boat has well and truly sailed on The so-called Holy Trinity. Every week we see watches on this and other sites which are just much better made and designed than the same few age-old models being revamped to death by a complacent horological establishment. Audemars Piguet would go bankrupt in a month without the Royal Oak and their latest “new and improved” models have been a blatant exercise in cost-cutting. I wonder exactly how much Mr Genta earned in his lifetime. Not nearly enough, I’m guessing!

    They have learned nothing from their competitors. If VC were stealing from Lange or came out with a stunning tribute to Bauhaus, there might be hope. Hell, even Cartier are managing to move on and I have to say, apart from their insulting movement choices in some models, they are walking that fine line between tradition and innovation very well.
    PP, AP and VC seem to exist for no other reason that for clueless tech billionaires to grab some quick credibility or for watch collectors to be able to say to themselves, “I finally bought a Patek!”
    It’s just not good enough.

  4. Simon is correct about prices I guess its all about exclusively and it seems to be working for the manufacturer. I bought my Rolex when it was definitely a luxury but affordable to an ordinary working man. Now a service from a dealer costs 20 percent more than the watch cost brand new.. Never had a hankering for a Patek, just as well. 36000 can buy a lot of really nice well made watches that you would not have to worry about damaging when wearing.

  5. We are now at the stage of “Reverse Veblen”. Many of the wealthiest people on the planet now consider this kind of purchase to be little more than a sign of middle class insecurity. Jocks, Frat-boys and “poor kids done good” parade their un-necessary purchases to each other while those with real power have nothing to prove. I have a relative who could buy one of these watches every week but he dresses like the average man on the street. Once at lunch my father asked him whether he had a stock of expensive suits and watches to wear to business meetings.
    “There’s no need”, he replied. “They get to know who can deliver and who can’t and that’s the only thing that counts.”

  6. So here we go . First and foremost the watch is to me hideous . The dial looks like a basketball 🏀 and a rubber strap in that price range (yes even in green) is insulting . Look you want to buy a Patek have at it but the other day at my AD I handle a albeit older Patek perpetual calendar and I wasn’t impressed one bit. To me in order to buy a watch at any price it has to first look good and this doesn’t . The date window is an eye soar and the dial plastic looking . Honesty it just looks like a lazy effort without an ounce of creativity except the knee jerk reaction of “let’s make it in white gold “…sad

  7. @JAGOTW

    It has a strong effect on me though, that whole, ‘You can’t have THIS thing *coy smirk*’ psychological game. Luckily not Patek’s horrible steel jobbies, but I get a pang of desire whenever I see a RO 15400 listed way above retail even though I turned it down at retail preferring the Overseas, because I’m a stupid fool who’s easily manipulated.

  8. Oh don’t get me wrong Gil, I’d still love to have a venetian leather case full of The Classics. I am definitely an insecure member of the middle class! 🙂

Leave a Reply