You can surely say that in recent times, the modern watch industry has been suffering with dropping sales and overproduction. While modern watches are slowly picking themselves up and fighting back, one segment that seems to be unfazed and getting stronger (crazier) is the ultra-high-end sport watch. Look at the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or the Patek Philippe Nautilus. The right reference from these models, the 16202 Ultra-Thin from AP and the 5811G from PP for example, are close to impossible to get with waiting lists growing and grey market prices soaring. That said, lists for pieces like the Aquanaut are nigh on impossible to get on, unless you have previous purchase history.
As a result, buyers who are unable to obtain these pieces have begun looking elsewhere for a consolation and the Aquanaut, the younger sibling of the Nautilus, has occupied this market space. While the Aquanaut, released in 1997 is meant to be an iteration of the Nautilus, I personally feel that it does not wear as nicely as the Nautilus. With that being said, any sport model from Patek Philippe today has a wait list and the brand is taking full advantage of this with their newest release, the Ref. 5968R.
The new 5968R is basically an Aquanaut with a chronograph function. Using the Calibre CH 28-520 C, it is an in-house flyback chronograph movement that is also used in the larger 5980 Nautilus. it has a central chronograph hand and a 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock. While the Nautilus has always been quite serious, the Aquanaut was released with the younger generation in mind. The first Aquanaut chrono – the 5968A – came with orange accents and a matching bright orange rubber strap together with the standard black version. However, this new rose-gold iteration has been refined and tones down, using a warm tone of brown, a combination often seen on rose-gold Patek’s.
I think over the past few years, Patek collectors and owners have become rather dissatisfied with Patek’s efforts and this my just fall into that category too. While I’m all for Patek sports watches, this latest piece is somewhat of an oxymoron, again something we’ve seen from Patek in the past. I am certain it will have no problems selling but this is something we’ve almost become accustomed to over the years; Patek producing timepieces that divide opinion and this new Aquanaut Chronograph is no different.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5968R is priced at £60,950. For more information visit patek.com