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The watch: a smorgasbord of new Patek Philippe Aquanauts.
The single best thing about this watch: there are seven of them!
The backstory: Patek Philippe’s sportier lines—the Nautilus and the Aquanaut—are in a state of total flux. While the most beloved of the Nautilus models, the 5711, is taking one final victory lap in 2021 before being phased out completely, Patek is shifting its younger brother into the spotlight. And Patek is putting the Aquanaut onto the map with a bang: there are seven new pieces in total to choose from.
The Aquanaut is the watch that truly embraces its rugged and sporty roots as a watch designed to bring a younger client into the fold. More than 20 years after the launch of the Nautilus, in 1997, Patek needed a watch that was even more casual for a sports-watch-obsessed clientele. The watch is clearly inspired by the Nautilus but its telltale sign is its bumpy rubber strap that mirrors the pattern of the dial. The watch cleans up with the best of them, though. Take, for example, the new chronograph models, which have only come in stainless steel since their debut in 2018. Now, a pair of Aquanauts in “midnight blue” and “khaki green” arrive in white-gold cases.
The really exciting pieces, keeping in step with the rest of the watch world, are over on what is technically the women’s side. Patek’s completely revamped what it calls its Aquanaut Luce. The watches are a little bigger, which is great for guys who want to sneak over to the women’s department, and are neatly outlined with bling. (They don’t call the line Luce, which means “light” in Italian, for nothing.) Of the five new pieces, three come in stainless steel, two in rose gold, and all feature a bezel set with diamonds. The two showstoppers, for me, are the versions of the watch in black and that khaki green—mirrors of standard options on the men’s side—now equipped with blinged-out bezels. I mean, can’t you just picture Drake, who hasn’t shied away from women’s pieces in the past, and Cardi B rocking these watches proudly?
Sharing the spotlight: Earlier this year, following the news that Patek would be giving the axe to the 5711, the brand’s president explained his vexation with the model. “We cannot put a single watch on top of our pyramid,” the company’s president Thierry Stern told the New York Times. The 5711, in other words, got too big for its britches. Wrapping up production of the 5711 is a way to make more room for other watches to shine, and the greatest beneficiary of that space for now should be the Aquanaut. The two have always been linked as the “sporty” models, compared to the brand’s other very complicated and preciously made perpetual calendars and minute repeaters. The two men’s Aquanauts in particular should compel customers who worshipped the simplicity of the 5711: the rubber band is more casual than any other watch coming out of Patek, but the white gold case balances the scale.
Where and when to buy it: Call your local Patek Philippe dealer five seconds ago.