Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Affordable High End Chronograph: Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A

Unlike the Nautilus Chronograph, the new Aquanaut chronograph features no running seconds or 12-hour subdial integrated into one, instead, it displays only a 60 minute counter

May 01, 2018 | By Jonathan Ho

When it comes to high end luxury sports chronographs, many count the Omega Speedmaster, Rolex Daytona and the Patek Philippe 5980 Nautilus Chronograph among the many grail watches to own. For 2018, watch lovers can add the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A to the list, likely to be one of the more affordable high end sports-luxury chronographs (in relative terms of brand positioning) on the market to date.

Affordable High End Chronograph: Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A

The Patek Philippe 5980 Nautilus Chronograph debuted in 2006, the same year the Nautilus celebrated its 30th anniversary. If you wanted one today, it costs SG$82,200. Enter the new Baselworld 2018 Aquanaut Chronograph or Patek 5968A. Costing SG$57,700, it’s one of Patek Philippe’s most affordable high end luxury sports chronographs with a fashionable if youthful new colour-way, orange!

After surprising watch connoisseurs with the first perpetual calendar in the Patek Philippe Nautilus collection, the new Aquanaut Chronograph is also a first for the Patek Philippe Aquanaut collection since 1997. Where the Nautilus was considered a bridge between dressy and sportive luxury timekeeping, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut was the brand’s first truly purpose-built sports watch and as its namesake would imply, aquatic sports in particular. Thus, for 21 years, the maison never really saw a need for a chronograph model in the collection.

That said, the Aquanaut was notable for one distinction – it was a five digit luxury sports model with a rubber strap, a first for the industry and a first for the brand; especially when you consider that its peers, even the behemoth Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore were launched with steel bracelets. Launched at Baselworld 2018, the new Aquanaut Chronograph joins two other models – a time-and-date and travel time editions.

Impressively, the new Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A earns its second distinction as likely one of the more playful or colourful models thanks to its orange accents and accompanying orange rubber strap. Naturally, one of watchmaking’s most detail oriented brands has also seen fit to include a secondary strap in black, which makes things a little more serious. While the colour scheme is a little out of character for Patek Philippe, the overall style of the new Aquanaut has not changed one bit – the octagonal shape of the case remains immediately recognisable even with two chronograph pushers.

The slate grey dial with square aka “Checker-board” pattern and “smoked” or fume effect radiating outwards, punctuated by orange accents and the single subdial makes for very attractive if completely symmetrical appearance. Unlike the Nautilus Chronograph, the new Aquanaut chronograph features no running seconds or 12-hour subdial integrated into one, instead, the Baselworld 2018 Aquanaut Chronograph displays only a 60 minute counter which one supposes, even with the complexity of its flyback mechanism, makes things relatively more affordable hence the price tag.

The new 2018 Aquanaut Chronograph is driven by the in-house Calibre CH 28-520, a self-winding flyback chronograph with column wheel and modern vertical disk clutch which prevents rebound of the hand when the chronograph is actuated. Ingenious Patek Philippe architecture also means that the clutch is virtually friction free which allows the new Aquanaut Chronograph  to have a chronograph hand which also serves as a running seconds hand.

Another Patek innovation also appears on the Baselworld 2018 Aquanaut Chronograph, a foldover clasp equipped with four catches secure wearing (and also the product of two years R&D).

New Aquanaut Chronograph Price and Specs

Movement Automatic Calibre CH 28-520 with 55 hours power reserve
Case 42.2mm Stainless steel with 120 metres water resistance
Strap Rubber
Price SG$57,700



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