Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5168G
In 2016, Patek Philippe celebrated the 40th anniversary of its unique Nautilus collection. Now, in 2017, another anniversary is coming up: the 20th birthday of its sporty and dynamic Aquanaut line that was first introduced in Basel in 1997. With the Aquanaut Ref. 5168G, a men’s wristwatch in 18K white gold, the manufacture delivers impressive proof of how well the elegance of the noble metal complements a rugged and decidedly masculine watch that is water-resistant to a depth of 120 meters.
To commemorate the 20th
anniversary of its exceptionally successful sporty Aquanaut series, Patek Philippe has planned several premieres. The new Ref. 5168G is the first men’s Aquanaut wristwatch in 18K white gold. With its somewhat warmer hue, it clearly sets itself apart from stainless steel. But as with the other Aquanaut models (and the Nautilus watches), the design of the gently rounded octagonal bezel with vertically satin-finished flats and chamfered polished flanks remains unchanged. Moreover, with a diameter of 42 millimeters, it is the largest model in this line. The format pays tribute to the original 1976 Nautilus of the same size that was nicknamed “Jumbo” and today is still referred to by that name among collectors. The night blue hue of the dial and the strap is new as well.
Additionally, the night blue color of the dial gradates from bright in the center to black toward the outside as was the case with the Ref. 5164 Aquanaut Travel Time in rose gold (and as a further reminiscence of the bright-dark gradation of the Nautilus). With its finely embossed checkerboard pattern, it provides the ideal backdrop for the applied Arabic numerals in white gold. Thanks to the Superluminova coating, they are readily visible in the dark. Another new facet of the Ref. 5168G: the luminous five-minute markers are set by hand appliques in 18K white gold. Hovering above the dial, sharp-tipped luminous baton hands for the hours and minutes are paired with a slender, counterbalanced and white-laquered parfil seconds hand in bronze. The sapphire-crystal case back reveals the precise and elegant self-winding manufacture movement that choreographs the ballet of time.
Mechanical finesse – the 324 S C manufacture caliber
An 18K white-gold case accommodates the self-winding caliber 324 S C movement. It unites all of the hallmarks that appeal to men with a penchant for classic mechanical horology: traditional haute horlogerie and innovative high-end technology. Merely 3.3 millimeters in height, the movement is so flat that even with its elaborate seals and gaskets, the complete watch is still only 8.25 millimeters thick overall. Nonetheless, it is a veritable time machine. With its heavy central rotor in 21K gold, it extracts and stores energy from every movement of the wrist and features a rate accuracy of -3 to +2 seconds per day as specified by the directives of the Patek Philippe Seal. The finissage of the movement, visible through the sapphire-crystal case back, is truly fascinating. The bridges are decorated with strictly parallel Geneva striping, have countersunk and polished holes for the jewels and the screws with polished circumferences and slots. They also feature gold-filled engravings, as well as round-chamfered and polished edges that emphasize the contours of the individual bridges. Exquisite perlage decorates the center of the gold rotor around its ball bearing. Circular graining underscores the form and function of the rotor. It is also endowed with a large engraved Calatrava cross, a registered Patek Philippe trademark element.
An engraved Calatrava cross also graces the 18K white-gold fold-over clasp. It reliably secures the night blue composite strap embossed with the typical Aquanaut pattern. It is superbly comfortable, extremely tear- and abrasion-resistant, and insensitive to salt water and UV radiation. This makes it ideal for a watch with the personality of the new Aquanaut Ref. 5168G. But there’s more to the Aquanaut.
It stands at the forefront of technical progress in watchmaking
The Aquanaut collection celebrates yet another debut: Since 2017, it is embedded in the prestigious "Patek Philippe Advanced Research Limited Editions" family. In 2005, the manufacture introduced this designation when it began to launch limited-edition wristwatches endowed with one or several avant- garde technologies. This year, it is the 500-watch edition of the Ref. 5650 Aquanaut Travel Time "Patek Philippe Advanced Research" with an innovative Spiromax® balance spring made of Silinvar®. In additiona to the outer boss, it now has an inner boss that further improves isochronism: it has an extremely impressive rate accuracy with a tolerance of only -1 to +2 seconds per day.
Its time-zone setting mechanism was optimized with a so-called compliant (flexible) mechanism developed by Patek Philippe Advanced Research engineers on the basis of the research conducted by Professor Simon Henein. Professor Henein holds the Patek Philippe chair for micromechanical engineering and horological development of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and is the director of the Instant-Lab in Microcity, the EPFL development center for microtechnology in Neuchâtel. A separate press kit has been created to provide comprehensive information on the latest "Patek Philippe Advanced Research" innovations.
1997 – 2017: 20 years Aquanaut
At the 1997 Basel show, Patek Philippe presented the new Aquanaut Ref. 5060A, a very sporty, chic, and contemporary wristwatch for men in stainless steel designed to appeal to a young generation of active people. At the time, the Nautilus – it had its debut in 1976 – was already a manifestation of casual elegance in steel. However, with its extremely elaborate two-part porthole construction, it was beyond the reach of the younger, physically active target group that then manufacture president Philippe Stern had in mind. Consequently, a simpler three-part design with a back, caseband, and bezel was chosen. This eliminated the need for the left- and right-hand hinges but thanks to post-1976 technical progress still assured water resistance to 120 m despite unchanged dial dimensions.
With its slightly rounded octagonal bezel, vertically satin-finished flats, and chamfered and polished edges, the Aquanaut case paid well-deserved tribute to the Nautilus. But instead of the steel bracelet, which was extremely difficult to produce and finish, the Aquanaut was fitted with an innovative, highly durable, and easily manufacturable composite strap. The good intentions were honored, and the Aquanaut soon ranked among Patek Philippe’s best-selling men’s wristwatches. In 2004, the Aquanaut Luce also won over the hearts and wrists of women, showcasing a bezel set with flawless Top Wesselton diamonds, and a palette of different dial and strap colors that often varied on an annual basis. In 2007, the 10th
anniversary, the men’s models were subtly reworked while preserving the character of the watch but making it perfectly fit for another decade. The new Aquanaut Ref. 5168G "Jumbo" in 18K white gold proves the point by crowning 20 years of contemporary casual chic that has been the defining style of this watch collection from the very beginning.