Following up on the April drop of four new Nautilus watches, Patek Philippe is giving collectors what they want again by introducing a new generation of its sporty Aquanaut, its second hottest model, with seven new references. They include the first white-gold chronograph, an Aquanaut Luce Travel Time with a new dual-time movement for ladies, and three new stainless-steel Aquanaut Luce models with new colors and larger case sizes—up from 35.6 to 38.8 mm.
The new ladies’ Aquanaut Luce Ref. 5269/200R-001 ($40,216) has an upgraded quartz movement, the Patek Philippe caliber E 23-250 S FUS 24H, which adds a second time zone to the watch. It uses two central hour hands: a skeletonized hand for home time and a solid hand for local time. To keep the dial uncluttered when you’re not traveling, Patek devised a way to make the two hour hands line up to become a single hand. The dual-time system is already a feature on the men’s Aquanaut Ref. 5164, but on that watch, it uses two push-pieces on the left flank of the case to set the local time. On the Aquanaut Luce Travel Time, the movement was made more user-friendly by transferring the setting system to the winding crown. There is also a discreet day/night indicator at 6 o’clock. The case is 18-karat rose gold, and the bezel is set with 48 diamonds totaling 1.11 carat.
The other 18-karat rose gold Aquanaut Luce, the 5268/200R-001 ($49,914), has also been bumped up to the larger 38.8 mm case size, and it contains an automatic movement, the 26-330 S C, with date and seconds and a stop-seconds function for setting time to the exact second. The dial is white with applied gold numerals that are coated with lume—a must feature on sports watches. The bezel is set with 48 diamonds totaling 1.11 carat. It is water-resistant to 120 meters and comes on a new integrated matte-white rubber strap, in case you wanted to take your precious cargo for a dip.
There are three new references of the stainless-steel Aquanaut Luce ($20,108), with new colors – black, white or khaki green – and a larger 38.8mm size. The green khaki color was introduced to the men’s Aquanaut in 2019 and was more than year ahead of its time in terms of trends—green is the big dial color for 2021. It is also a nod to the original model of 2004, which had a dial in a slightly different shade of green. The matching rubber composite strap has a patented fold-over clasp secured by four independent catches. It contains the quartz caliber E 23-250 S C with sweep seconds and a date window. The new 5267/200A references replace the previous Ref. 5067 models (in black, safari brown, pearly white and blue-gray). The bezel is set with 48 diamonds totaling 1.11 carat and is water-resistant to 120 meters.
The big news for men is the first-ever white gold Aquanaut Chronograph Ref. 5968G ($69,194), comes in either the same khaki dial color, with a matching integrated strap, or in a new midnight blue color. Patek Philippe launched the Aquanaut Chronograph in 2018 in steel. It has a 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock that echoes the bezel’s rounded octagonal shape. The automatic caliber CH 28-520 C movement comes with a rare flyback function on which the center chronograph hand also functions as a permanent seconds hand. The 42.2 mm case is, like the other watches in the new Aquanaut collection, water-resistant to 120 meters.
The Aquanaut, which debuted in 1997, is often called the little brother (or sister) of the wildly popular Nautilus. Both are sporty and have the same porthole-inspired, rounded-octagon case design, but the Nautilus is hinged on one side and usually comes on a bracelet, while the Aquanaut comes on a rubber or composite strap. On the dial, the Aquanaut has a checkerboard grid, compared to the horizontal lines of the Nautilus. The Luce in the name of the ladies’ version refers to the diamond bezel, which appears on all models. The Aquanaut, with its entry-level pricing, has served to introduce a younger clientele to the rarefied world of Patek Philippe. And, while Patek has chosen to categorize its new Aquanaut pieces into men’s and women’s, thanks to the collection’s case sizing, all of the models could be worn by any gender.