If the Patek Philippe Nautilus is the king of sports-luxe, then the Aquanaut is the prince. It might not inspire quite the same level of slack-jawed wonder but smart collectors who know a Nautilus is out of their reach can pick up an Aquanaut with a similar amount of pride – it worked for Paul McCartney. Now, seven new Aquanaut references have been announced for both men and women, including a brand new Patek Philippe quartz calibre.
Aquanaut Chronograph Ref. 5968-G, £53,280
The first two watches that are being added to the collection are a pair of Aquanaut Chronographs that introduce white gold cases to the chronograph line up and are available with green or blue dials and matching straps. There’s nothing particularly new here, given the chronograph was added to the collection in 2018, but additional options are always good and the 42.2mm white gold case skews more towards the luxurious end of the sports luxe niche the aquanaut fits into.
Housed inside, behind 120m of water resistance, is the Patek Philippe CH 28-520 C self-winding flyback movement that opts for the ever collector-friendly column-wheel with a vertical disk clutch. Again, not new, but it really doesn’t need to be.
Ref: 5968G-001 (sunburst blue dial), 5968G-010 (khaki green dial) | Case/dial: 42.2mm diameter x 11.9mm height, 18K white gold case, sunburst blue or varnished khaki green dial with chequerboard pattern | Water resistance: 120m | Movement: Calibre CH 28-520 C, automatic, flyback chronograph, 32 jewels, 308 parts | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 45h – 55h | Functions: Hour, minute, sweep seconds hand, 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock, date | Strap: Composite material in midnight blue or khaki green | Price: £53,280
Aquanaut Luce Quartz Ref. 5267/200A, £15,490
That’s it for the men’s Aquanauts for now, onto the women’s. That said, these are Aquanaut Luce models that a guy could get away with – with a bit of confidence, anyway. The primary update for the Ref. 5267/200A, is that they are available in new, larger case sizes of 38.8mm (let’s round it up to a cool 39mm), which is in the sweet spot for gender neutral sizes. They also happen to use quartz movements.
From left to right: Ref. 5267-200A011 / Ref. 5267-200A-010
The exact calibre in question is the E 23-250 S C, which has been a staple of the Aquanaut Luce since 2004. It’s an odd thought that your heirloom watch might need a battery change, but quartz is always practical.
Otherwise, these models are pure Aquanaut and come in three colours: black, white and khaki green, with white gold numerals on the black and green, contrasting black numerals the white. These being ladies’ watches, where would we be without diamonds? So Patek have thrown in a ring of 48 round-cut diamonds in the bezel, just for good measure. Which unfortunately damages the unisex appeal.
Ref: 5267/200A-001 (black dial), 5267/200A-010 (matt white dial), 5267/200A011 ( khaki green dial) | Case/dial: 38.8mm diameter x 7.9mm height, steel case, black, matt white or khaki green dial with chequerboard pattern, bezel set with 48 brilliant-cut Top Wesselton Pure diamonds | Water resistance: 120m | Movement: Calibre E 23-250 S C, quartz, 8 jewels, 80 parts | Frequency: 32,768 vph | Power reserve: 3 years (powered by silver oxide battery 1.55 V) | Functions: Hour, minute, sweep seconds hand, date | Strap: Composite material in blue, matt white or khaki green | Price: £15,490
Aquanaut Luce Automatic Ref. 5268/200R, £38,440
If you’re shuddering at the thought of a quartz Patek, the automatic Aquanaut Luce has been updated, too. Similar to the quartz versions, it increases the case size from 35.6mm to 38.8mm. There’s not much else to say, to be honest. This watch is a minor update to the 2013 model’s white dial and rose gold case with matching rose gold numerals and hands. It also, of course, has a diamond-set bezel.
Housed inside is the 26-330 S C self-winding movement from 2019, a time and date calibre with stop seconds, multiple patented mechanisms and a 45-hour power reserve. It’s standard Patek Philippe fare, which is to say pretty damn lovely.
Ref: 5268/200R-001 | Case/dial: 38.8mm diameter x 8.5mm height, 18K rose gold case, matt white dial with chequerboard pattern, bezel set with 48 brilliant-cut Top Wesselton Pure diamonds | Water resistance: 120m | Movement: Calibre 26-330 S C, automatic, 30 jewels, 212 parts | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 45h – 55h | Functions: Hour, minute, sweep seconds hand, date | Strap: Composite material in matt white | Price: £38,440
Aquanaut Luce Travel Time Ref. 5269/200R, £30,970
Rounding out the update is the Aquanaut Luce Travel Time Reference 5269/200R which, as the name suggests, brings a second time zone to bear on the collection. Aesthetically, this new addition is practically identical to the Ref. 5268/200R, complete with rose gold case and white dial. The only visible difference is the addition of a GMT hand, a skeleton, outlined version of the standard hour hand.
That alone isn’t new of course; what’s new is the quartz travel time movement, the newly developed E 23-250 S FUS 24H. The mechanism that controls the dual time zone is actually similar to its mechanical equivalent but adjusted so that all the functions are controlled by the crown. It makes for a more subtle GMT integration, one that’s only scuppered a little by the 48 diamond-set bezel.
Ref: 5269/200R-001 | Case/dial: 38.8mm diameter x 8.77mm height, 18K rose gold case, matt white dial with chequerboard pattern, bezel set with 48 brilliant-cut Top Wesselton Pure diamonds | Water resistance: 60m | Movement: Calibre E 23-250 S FUS 24H, quartz, 9 jewels, 96 parts | Frequency: 32,768 vph | Power reserve: 3 years (powered by silver oxide battery 1.55 V) | Functions: Local hour time (solid hand), home hour time (skeletonized hand), minutes and sweep seconds, day/night indicator at 6 o’clock | Strap: Composite material in matt white | Price: £30,970
While there’s nothing ground-breaking throughout this seven-watch update, it’s good to see Patek focusing on both their quartz and ladies’ offerings, both aspects that many a prestigious watchmaker largely ignore. Now if only they could find it in themselves to forgo those diamond bezels and I might be interested myself.
As Junior Content Producer for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. While a relative newcomer to the magazine, he's nonetheless a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better.