Precisely twenty years since it first made its debut at Baselworld in 1997, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut has grown both literally and metaphorically. First introduced in a 35.6mm stainless steel case with a black dial and black composite strap, the Aquanaut line has gradually evolved in terms of size (38.8mm from 1998, 40.8mm from 2008) and choice of case material (yellow gold from 1998, rose gold from 2009). The model presented at Baselworld this year for the 20th anniversary of the Aquanaut, however, nevertheless incorporates three features never before seen in the collection.
The most striking of these is the size. At 42.2mm, the new reference 5168 G-001 has naturally been given the nickname “Jumbo” by fans and collectors, appropriated from the first Nautilus model of 1976, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Also following in the footsteps of the Nautilus anniversary model, the new Aquanaut is the first to have a midnight blue dial with a colour gradient that shifts from bright to dark from the centre of the dial to the circumference. Those who can decode Patek Philippe references in the blink of an eye will know that the third new feature seen on the new Aquanaut Ref. 5168 G-001 is the 18-carat white gold case (the “G” in the reference referring to white gold).
Take a closer look and you will notice a more subtle modification on the dial. In addition to the hand-applied white-gold Arabic numerals, the five-minute markers are also in white gold filled with luminescent material and applied by hand. In all other respects, the Ref. 5168 G-001 is classic Aquanaut: the carefully rounded octagonal bezel, with its polished flanks and satin-finished surface, is there, as is the unmistakable chessboard pattern at the centre of the dial and the discreet protrusions protecting the crown.
Beneath the sapphire crystal case back you can admire the Patek Philippe calibre 324 SC calibre at work. Equipped with Patek Philippe’s proprietary Gyromax® balance and Spiromax® balance spring, the 4Hz movement ensures an accuracy of -3 to +2 seconds per day, in accordance with the strict criteria of the Patek Philippe Seal. It also boasts a superlative level of finishing, including decorated bridges, countersunk and polished jewel settings and screws with polished edges and slots. A 21-carat gold oscillating mass winds the mainspring using the wearer’s movements to ensure a power reserve of up to 45 hours.
See our detailed features on hand finishing at Patek Philippe