The Aquanaut collection – the most affordable of Patek Philippe’s watches for men - welcomed its first chronograph at Baselworld this year. The Ref 5968A-001 in steel is an automatic flyback chronograph that retains the casual elegant tone of the Aquanaut line. This is clearly a watch aimed at a younger, more casual Patek customer.
The new chronograph uses a 42.2 mm stainless steel case that is 11.9 mm thin and has a mix of satin-finished and polished surfaces. The gently-rounded octagonal bezel is brushed and has chamfered edges. Thanks to its screw-down crown, the case is water resistant to 120 m and is fitted with an exhibition caseback that offers views of the self-winding CH 28-520C, but more on that later.
What’s refreshingly different about the embossed dial of Ref. 5968 is that the chronograph indications are integrated well into the design of the Aquanaut range. In the interest of a simpler dial, there is no 12-hour counter or seconds subdial. The sweep chronograph hand can also be used as a continuously running seconds hand, thus eliminating the need for a seconds subdial. The 60-minute counter at 6 o’ clock adopts the rounded octagonal shape of the bezel.
The chronograph displays (chronograph hand, the peripheral railway track scale with quarter-second divisions, 60-minute counter) are orange and contrast well against the black dial with the typical Aquanaut embossed pattern. Applied Arabic numerals in white gold and the broad baton hands, all with luminous coatings, ensure good legibility.
The watch is powered by the self-winding CH 28-520 C, a flyback chronograph movement that combines classic column-wheel control with the modern, vertical disc clutch which prevents hand bounce and rebound when starting the chronograph. This movement has in the past been used in Nautilus chronograph references like the 5980 and the 5976. It is a 4 Hz movement and has a power reserve of 55 hours.
The composite rubber strap is embossed like the dial. Patek Philippe delivers the watch with two straps: the black one is standard issue and can be replaced with the orange strap that amplifies the bold accents of the dial. The strap features Patek’s latest foldover clasp. Two years in the making, the clasp is equipped with four catches for additional security. The watch is priced at $40,177 (AED147,536).