Review: Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A
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Review: Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A: a complete review



The Patek Philippe Aquanaut was first released in 1997 as a sportier, less expensive alternative to the classic Nautilus model. However, by 2018 the Aquanaut had gained a reputation of its own, and the illustrious Swiss manufacturer got round to finally releasing the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A – the brand’s first chronograph Aquanaut. It’s a sporty, subtly nuanced timepiece which exudes some serious class, and in this review, we’ll detail precisely why it’s a smart move to buy a Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A.

A slight change on a classic case

The stainless-steel case of the Aquanaut 5968A measures 42.2mm in diameter. This is neither overbearing or too dainty – although its 11.9mm height is a little thicker than what you might expect from a Patek Philippe timepiece. That said, for a sporty chronograph watch, it’s perfectly fine. The case remains largely unchanged from the classic Aquanaut design and retains the iconic, instantly recognisable porthole shape. The only addition comes in the form of two subtly-nuanced pushers at 2 and 4’o clock, which are variably finished.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A

Slight improvements on the dial

There’s little change in the dial on Aquanaut Chronograph. It’s manufactured from brass, features a sunburst finish and is embossed with a checked pattern. While Patek Philippe did release some limited-edition blue-dialled models in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Aquanaut, the brand has reverted to its standard dial for the novelty on the Patek Philippe 5968A.

There is, however, a notable change to be found on the dial in the form of a chronograph minute-counter. This has been thoughtfully designed and shaped like the case for consistency – and it must be said, it’s incredibly pleasing from an aesthetic perspective.

Orange accents can be found throughout the dial, notably on the chronograph second/minute indices as well as the lancet chronograph second/minute hands. While more traditional luxury watch fans might find the continued use of orange as somewhat unconventional and perhaps even garish, it’s clear that this design decision has not been taken lightly. It appeals to a younger clientele, and while it might take a little getting used to for traditionalists, it ultimately contrasts well against the black dial. This improves the legibility of the timepiece and injects some youthful exuberance into what is arguably Patek Philippe’s most casual watch to date.


Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A
Powerful, beautiful movement

The Patek Philippe 5968A is powered by a 32-jewel, 308-part Calibre CH 28-520 C movement. This self-winding movement operates at a 4Hz beat rate and provides up to 55 hours of power reserve when the chronograph has been disengaged. It’s worth pointing out that this is the same movement found in the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980, which makes sense. After all, why design and create a brand-new chronograph movement when you’ve got several to choose from already in models like the 5980 and 5170?

The Calibre CH 28-520 C is a vertical clutch/column-wheel chronograph movement which features flyback functionality. The clutch is essentially free from friction, which means the central chronograph can also function as a continuous second-hand without adding any additional wear and tear. It may not be a perfect substitute, although it does remove the need for a second sub-dial. This means the Aquanaut 5968A has a clean and legible dial in comparison to other models.

As you might expect, the movement is finished in accordance with the Patek Philippe quality seal. The Côtes de Genève are easily visible through the base back, and on the main plate you’ll find polished bevels, mirror-polished screwheads and a 21k gold central rotor.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A

Understanding the market

The market for chronograph sports timepieces is competitive and crowded, and it helps for brands to have a competitive edge or a niche in mind when launching a new model. The Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A launched with a price tag in the region of £30,000, which is certainly at the upper end of the spectrum for watches of its type.

However, Patek Philippe timepieces are to be considered an investment, as they tend to hold their value in comparison to competitor models. In some cases, Patek Philippe watches actually appreciate in value. It’s possible to sell a Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A on the secondary market for more than its initial price tag, depending on its condition and provenance.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A

Strap options

Patek Philippe delivers the Aquanaut 5968A with a choice of two UV and abrasion-resistant composite straps. As standard, it ships with a black strap attached. However, this can be switched out and replaced with an orange rubber strap which helps to amplify the bold orange accents of the dial.

Each of these straps comes with the manufacturer’s latest fold-over clasp, which boasts four independent catches for extra detail and security. While traditionalists might scoff at the inclusion of not one but two composite rubber straps, it’s worth pointing out that these are incredibly lightweight and comfortable, and also feature the same sort of fine detailing that Patek Philippe fans are used to seeing on standard leather straps. Make no mistake – this is a truly modern luxury timepiece aimed at a younger market. As such, the Aquanaut 6958A has already become ubiquitous with hip-hop culture in the United States and Canada, with various music industry celebrities having been spotted adorning their wrist with the model over the past couple of years.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968A


While there is nothing particularly ground-breaking about the Patek Philippe 5968A, it’s a pleasing addition to the Aquanaut line and one which brings a much more casual vibe to the brand’s canon of luxury timepieces. Sure, it’s expensive in comparison to similar watches from Vacheron Constantin, but it’s also fun, fresh and a great conversation starter – particularly if you opt for the more vibrant, bright orange rubber strap.

It’s bold, and it may not appeal to everybody, but for a casual luxury timepiece it’s also versatile enough to switch the strap back to black for more formal events, and this certainly ticks all the boxes for those who want to exude reliability, status and a relaxed sense of style.

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