Debuting in 1997, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut was released at the height of the dot com boom as a watch to satiate the demand for casual sports uber-luxury timepieces that only a watchmaker like Patek Philippe could fulfil. Inspired by the ever-popular Genta-designed Patek Philippe Nautilus, the Aquanaut's slightly rounded octagonal bezel, rubber strap, embossed dial and functional and aesthetic consistency throughout the years have combined into a watch that has become incredibly popular and sought-after. Like any business knows, strike when the iron is hot, and Patek has certainly done that. Following from their Nautilus and Calatrava releases earlier this year, they have just introduced seven new models of the Aquanaut for us all to drool over, so let's take a look.
Launched as a men's watch all of those years ago, the first ladies variants of the Aquanaut quickly followed in 1998 with its 34mm case and stainless steel case. While initially not a jewelled or precious metal piece (that followed in 1999), the five latest additions to the ladies Aquanaut collection are all gem-set pieces in various metals. Released as the Aquanaut Luce collection, these five models are split between two metals – stainless steel (all $20,108) and 18kt rose gold ($40,216 and $49,914).
The three stainless steel models are all-time only and feature new 38.8mm cases with completely diamond-set bezels. Offered with either a white, khaki green or black dial with matching rubber straps, these three timepieces are stunning and versatile. With their modern size, they offer plenty of wearability for the modern woman's tastes and their robust quartz movement, the Patek cal. E 23-250 S C provides excellent reliability. These new 5267/200A references replace the outgoing 5067 references and promise to be exceptionally popular.
The two 18kt rose gold models expand the women's collection towards the increasingly luxurious thanks to their 38.8mm 18kt rose gold cases with their incredibly lavish diamond-set bezels. Offered only in white, the differences between these two models is the movements found within. The more expensive of the two, the ref. 5268/200R-001, features an automatic time and date only movement, while the other, the ref. 5269/200R-001, features Patek's new dual-time quartz movement, the cal. E 23-250 S FUS 24H. with two central 12-hour hands and an AM/PM indicator at 6 o'clock, it is the perfect watch for the travelling woman who needs easy access to more than just their local time.
While the Aquanaut was released as a casual uber-luxury sports watch, its original case material of stainless steel has been expanded upon throughout the years with yellow gold, rose gold and so on. Now, for the first time, Patek has paired white gold with the Aquanaut Chronograph models. Initially released in 2018, the Aquanaut Chronograph has always been confined to stainless steel cases, but no longer will those lucky enough to buy an Aquanaut be limited to ordinary steel.
Released as a pair of watches, both ref. 5968G's feature the same automatic cal. CH 28-520 C movement with a flyback function so that the centre chronograph hand also functions as a permanent seconds hand that swings back to 12 o'clock once the pusher at 2 o'clock is pressed. Pressing it again stops the chronograph, with the pusher at 4 o'clock resetting it as a running seconds hand. The bezel-matching octagonal subdial at 6 o'clock operates as a 60-minute chronograph counter and serves as the dial's only visual tell that this is not your ordinary Aquanaut.
Offered in either navy blue or khaki green with dial-matching rubber straps, these 42mm beauties ($69,194) will undoubtedly become some of the most in-demand Aquanaut references there are. While any sports Patek is popular, these new releases will certainly feature some incredibly long waiting lists for those lucky enough to even get their name on them.
All in all, these seven models expand upon the collection quite nicely as they reign true to the Aquanaut's DNA without deviating too far from what Aquanaut fans and Patek collectors know and love – a 120m water resistance luxury sports watch with an iconic case design on an incredibly versatile and comfortable rubber strap.