Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce
Patek Philippe has recently updated its Aquanaut line. While I’m sure some will consider the Aquanaut a poor man’s Nautilus, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Partly because, well, it’s still a Patek Philippe and is still made to their demanding standards, but also because the prices on the pre-owned market for an Aquanaut are just as sky-high as they are for the Nautilus. Let’s dig in.
The first ones we’re going to look at split across the range of the seven new watches, with Patek Philippe introducing a new name to the Aquanaut lineup. Called ‘Luce’ (pronounced loo-chey), it’s the Italian word for ‘light’, which makes sense as it’s applied to the more petite feminine models of the collection.
The first three watches in the new collection fall under the reference 5726. These models all have a 38.8mm diameter case made of stainless steel. They also all come with a diamond-set bezel (a unique feature of the Luce Aquanauts) and are colour-coded. You can have one with either a black, white or khaki-coloured dial, all of which come with a colour-coded rubber strap with the signature blocky texture that’s been a hallmark of the Aquanaut range since its inception. These models come with a quartz E 23-250 S C calibre and are priced at $20,108.
The next model is also quartz-powered, but it has a twist. Falling under the reference 5269, it features the E23-250 S FUS 24H calibre, which is the first quartz movement from Patek Philippe to feature their travel time function, allowing you to tell the time in two different timezones simultaneously. This version of the travel time complication is controlled by the crown rather than some pushers, keeping with the theme of the elegant 38.8mm 18k rose gold case. The price for this model is $40,216.
Next up is the Aquanaut Luce reference 5268, which features an automatic movement instead of quartz. It also has a 38.8mm 18k rose gold case with a diamond-set bezel. Just like the other Luce models, this bezel features 1.11 carats of diamonds that are all cut, polished and set by hand. Inside the case is the self-winding calibre 26-330 S C which has a 4Hz beat rate, a power reserve of up to 45-hours and all the lovely finishing one could ever need. This one will cost $49,914.
The last two models are not Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce pieces. They fly under the 5968G flag and are thoroughly sporty men’s chronograph timepieces. Patek Philippe is offering these in either khaki or blue/black gradient with a 42.2mm white gold case. Inside them is the CH 28-520 C, a flyback chronograph with a vertical clutch and a power reserve of up to 55-hours. Because of the extra complication on these models, and the chunky white gold case, the price for one is high at $69,194.
Pour yourself at least 48 ounces of coffee because, this morning, we have seven new Aquanauts to introduce, broken out across four main references. Ready? Take a deep breath: The lineup includes two new men’s Aquanaut Chronographs in white gold (5968G), three new diamond-set steel Aquanaut Luces with quartz movements (5267/200A), an automatic, diamond-set Aquanaut Luce in rose gold (5268/200R), and another rose gold diamond-set version featuring a new quartz travel-time movement (5269/200R). The defining feature of the ladies’ Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce line is that diamond-set bezel – luce means “light ” in Italian. This is a significant refresh of the Aquanaut, particularly for the Luce, with updates to the collection’s most successful aspects, including that new Travel Time option. Nothing here feels like a radical departure, apart from a larger case size in the Luce – and even there it’s a size we’ve already seen in this fully blinged-out model. What’s most notable about the update is that it just hits so many watches all at once. The travel time is the single complication most associated with the Aquanaut, and now the Luce finally gets its own quartz Travel Time version. While you set the existing Aquanaut Travel Time via two prominent pushers on the side of the case, the new Luce Travel Time sets easily via the crown, which does not screw down (how’s that for poetry?). This watch, along with the trio of steel quartz Aquanaut Luces and the rose-gold Aquanaut Luce Automatic, come in a larger 38.8mm case size (compared to the 35.6mm size on the previous watches). We also have some new Aquanaut chronographs, a watch that’s existed in steel since 2018’s debut of the 5968A, which uses the same flyback chronograph movement. Now we have them in two new white-gold options that’ll make you do a double-take – I know I did. The new chronographs nicely mirror two existing white-gold time and date ref. 5168G options that also have khaki green and blue-black gradient dials. To my eye, the blue dial here appears a bit more blue-black in some pictures than others. You’ll notice an integrated strap, already standard on the men’s Aquanaut, but new for the Aquanaut Luce. Besides offering better visual coherence across all the models of the Aquanaut collection, men’s and women’s, it makes for a more genuinely sporty looking watch by emphasizing the curvature of the case and lugs. This is also emphasized by that bigger case. An evolution of the original Gerald Genta-designed Nautilus, the Aquanaut leans into its sport watch identity more willfully than the Nautilus. Its design feels more modern, with its composite strap echoing the patterned dial while retaining the spirit of the shaped case. While all of these watches are likely to do well, the two white-gold chronographs are the clear stars of the Aquanaut show. With the 5711 waving bye-bye this year, the next logical place for collectors to turn their attention is the Aquanaut.
Once rejected by watch enthusiasts, now one of the most sought-after Patek Philippe’s models, the Aquanaut is a major source of buzz for pretty much everyone. Therefore, it seemed inevitable that Patek would address the dearth of options for its female collectors sooner rather than later. Of course, Patek Philippe masterfully embraces not only the hottest color in the watch industry but also appeals to the serious watch lover with different types of movements. Let’s take a look at the five new iterations of the Aquanaut Luce, revealed earlier today.
How wonderful is it to admire such intriguing new releases? The women’s Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce has been with us since 2004. Its debut came many years before green cracked the mainstream. However, the on-trend shade looks perfectly at home on the piece pictured above. The new collection boasts the classic silhouette, but these new colors (and some diamonds) steal the show.
From a design standpoint, the stainless steel variations ref. 5267/200A push the mainstream look to the max. The 38.8mm, rounded octagonal case turns this Patek’s world into a flash of diamonds while the typography on the dial, luminous coating on the hands, and numerals have a sportier appearance. Leading the collection is a characteristic of this model dial that builds on the Aquanaut pattern. The main shades in focus for this collection are olive green, matte white, and — the most classic option — black. All Patek watches ref. 5267/200A features the quartz movement Caliber E 23‑250 S C and are water-resistant up to 120m.