Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph Reference 5968A: Orange Is The New Black
We are not even halfway through and 2018 has already seen a rainbow of colorful watches! In January at the SIHH we were presented with a both a plethora of new releases with blue dials, which was not such a big surprise because this color has been popular for years, and a gorgeous lineup of timepieces with refreshing green dials (see 5 Green Watches Likely To Become Evergreens and Blue Vs. Green At Baselworld 2018: Green Isn’t The New Blue).
The trend was continued at Baselworld 2018 and continues unabated since then, but with even more colors including watches with bright red dials and even some bold yellow hues as well as a stunning new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver (Reference 15710ST.00.A077CA.01) clad in daring purple – yes, purple – from head to toe. Or, more precisely, from dial to crown and even the rubber strap.
However, the watch that really caught my eye recently was Patek Philippe’s new stainless steel Aquanaut Chronograph featuring a bright orange second hand.
A brief history leading up to Patek Philippe’s Aquanaut Chronograph Reference 5968A
The Aquanaut shares signature characteristics with its famous sibling – including the porthole-inspired case design and prominent octagonal bezel distinguished by rounded corners, with an interplay of satin-finished surfaces and polished chamfers.
However, the Aquanaut follows its own path with an embossed dial featuring a bold, three-dimensional pattern perfectly complementing the case. A water-resistance rating of 120 meters ensures that the Aquanaut lives up to its name. This hallmark design has not changed since that first day, and it is one of my favorite dials.
The sculptured dial provides a gorgeous setting for the applied white gold Arabic numerals and lume-filled baton-style hands.
Sporting a so-called tropical strap produced from a new composite material resistant to wear, salt water, and UV radiation makes the three-hand Aquanaut into the perfect companion for all kinds of athletic endeavors.
For 21 years now the Aquanaut has pretty much stayed true to its roots, and today the collection offers 16 model variations including the women’s Aquanaut Luce fashioned for smaller wrists and distinguished by a scintillating diamond-set bezel.
What’s the fuss over Patek Philippe’s Aquanaut Chronograph Reference 5968A?
The executions of the Aquanaut models for men, most of which have three hands, are driven by Caliber 324 S C and feature sweep seconds and a date indication at 3 o’clock. Measuring a mere 3.3 mm in height, the automatic movement is equipped with a central rotor in 21-karat gold.
On the complication front, the technical highlight of the Aquanaut line to date has been the Aquanaut Travel Time with a dual time zone indication, first launched in 2011 and available in stainless steel, white gold, and pink gold.
In 2018, the GMT was joined by the first chronograph in the Aquanaut collection: Reference 5968A-001, which is is equipped with the tested-and-true Caliber CH 28-520 C, the manufacture’s automatic flyback chronograph movement, which also drives the Nautilus Chronograph.
Bringing together no less than 308 components, including a central rotor in 21-karat gold, within a microcosm of 30 x 6.63 millimeters (the integrated chronograph module adds 1.43 mm in height to the base movement), Caliber 324 S combines classic column wheel control with a vertical disk clutch, which minimizes the hands bouncing when starting the chronograph.
Because this clutch is almost friction free, the sweep chronograph hand can also be used as a continuously running second hand according to Patek Philippe. This is also the reason why there is only one subdial for the 60-minute counter, which reflects the shape of the gently rounded octagonal bezel.
The purist design augments the clean impression of the black dial finished with the signature embossed pattern of large squares.
And here is where the “controversial” color comes into play: the chronograph displays (the chronograph second hand, the peripheral scale with quarter-second divisions, and the 60-minute counter subdial including hand) are executed in bright orange. The brightly-colored hands contrasting against the dark dial offer high legibility.
This daring color choice might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly adds zest and a really cool, refreshing look and feel to the Aquanaut.
The same rings true for the strap since the watch comes with two composite rubber straps: one in classic black one plus an orange strap coordinating with the chronograph elements on the dial. Both straps feature the signature embossed Aquanaut pattern and are equipped with a new folding clasp with four independent catches for enhanced opening and closing functionality.
For more information, please visit www.patek.com/en/collection/aquanaut/5968A-001.
Quick Facts Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph Reference 5968A-001
Case: 42.2 x 11.9 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber CH 28-520 C, 4Hz/28,800 vph frequency, power reserve max 55 hours, Gyromax balance, Spiromax balance spring, Patek Philippe Seal
Functions: hours, minutes; date, chronograph with sweep second and 60-minute counter
Also published on Medium.