You know a trend has officially arrived in the wristwatch world when traditionally trend-averse, stay-the-course Patek Philippe begins adopting it. The prestigious Swiss manufacture has not only contributed, in its own distinctive style, to the still-prevalent blue-on-blue aesthetic that began gathering heat several years ago — its latest being a moon-phase-equipped annual calendar version of the Nautilus — but has also now plunged into a more recent colorways trend with a new, khaki-colored version of the recently revamped Aquanaut. Here are what both of these sport-luxury models, introduced at Baselworld 2019, have to offer.
Blue being the more well-established of the color trends, we’ll start with the new Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Moon Phases Ref. 5726/1A, a steel wristwatch whose blue dial, with its emblematic horizontally embossed motif, features a subtle shading effect in which the bright blue at the center fades to black at the edges. The watch’s annual calendar mechanism, invented and patented by Patek Philippe in 1996, displays the day and month in two in-line windows at 12 o’clock and the date in a window at 6 o’clock; directly above the latter aperture is a 24-hour day-night indicator encircling a moon-phase display with extreme precision: it requires correction only once every 122 years. Like all annual calendar timepieces, a date correction is necessary only once per year, from Feb. 28 or 29 to March 1st. The baton hands are made of white gold and coated with luminous material.
Inside the 40.4-mm steel case, and powering the calendar and timekeeping functions is Patek’s manufacture Caliber 324 S QA LU 24H/303, a self-winding movement with a solid 21k gold rotor, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 45-hour power reserve. The case is water-resistant to 120 meters and features the porthole-inspired octagonal bezel and extended “ears” that Patek introduced to the world with its first Nautilus in 1976 (which also sported a blue dial). This reference’s steel bracelet, with alternating polished and satin-brushed finishes, is also new, and this model (price: $45,928) with a gradient blue dial will henceforth be the only Ref. 5726 available on such a bracelet: Patek says the prior editions with white and black gradient dials will be discontinued.
The Aquanaut is Patek Philippe’s most unapologetically sporty watch model, and thus provides the ideal canvas on which to introduce a military-chic khaki green dial and rubber-strap combo. The new Aquanaut 5168G — a watch much buzzed about in the halls of Baselworld — gets its nickname “Jumbo” from the 42-mm diameter of its white gold case, matching the dimensions of the aforementioned original 1976 Nautilus — the Aquanaut model’s spiritual ancestor that shared that nickname. The Aquanaut’s slightly rounded octagonal bezel, with vertically satin-finished surfaces and polished flanks, are aesthetic descendants of the Nautilus, but its bold Arabic numerals and embossed checkerboard pattern on the dials and strap, gave it an identity all its own — one perhaps more suited to active lifestyles and younger enthusiasts.
The white gold case used here is the same as that on the 20th anniversary limited edition, with blue dial and strap, which Patek released in 2017, but the khaki green color scheme is entirely new for the model. The baton hands and hour appliqués are in white gold, complementing a sweep seconds hand and a 3 o’clock date window. The case, while generous in dimension, is rather modest in profile, 8.25 mm, to comfortably accommodate the self-winding movement, Patek’s Caliber 324 SC, which is itself only 3.3 mm thick and equipped with a central 21k gold rotor. Visible beneath a sapphire caseback, the movement’s bridges are decorated with parallel Geneva striping and feature countersunk and polished holes for the jewels and screws. Gold-filled engravings and round chamfered and polished edges emphasize the contours of individual bridges. From the technical side, Caliber 324 SC offers a 28,800-vph frequency and up to a 45-hour power reserve.
The dial’s checkerboard pattern continues, in raised relief, on the khaki-hued composite strap. Resistant to abrasion, saltwater, and UV radiation, this strap fastens comfortably to the wrist with a new, patented fold-over clasp with four independent catches, made of the same 18k white gold as the case. The Aquanaut “Jumbo” 5168G is priced at $39,690.