I suppose we should get used to this — at least let’s hope so — because Patek Philippe has joined Tudor this week in springing a surprise launch of new watch collections just five weeks after unveiling 2021 novelties via watchesandwonders.com.
While a new green Nautilus (replacing the blue 5711 unicorn watch) bought a flicker of excitement to the week-long marathon of webinars in April, Patek Philippe held back a fresh Aquanaut Chronograph, ref. 5968G, in a choice of midnight blue or khaki green.
These men’s watches appear today along with the release of ladies’ Aquanaut Luce watches in larger 38.8mm cases in a choice of steel or rose gold and with a choice of dial colours and integrated straps.
A completely new quartz-based Travel Time reference has also been added to the Aquanaut Luce family.
Patek Philippe introduced its first chronograph Aquanaut model in steel three years ago, and is taking the range upmarket with the addition of two references in white gold with a mixture of polished and satin-brushed surfaces on the case, bezel and pushers.
White gold is also used for the applied numerals and large baton-style hands.
They use a CH 28-520 C self-winding flyback chronograph movement that allows the central chronograph hand to double up as a permanent seconds hands.
This partly explains why the Aquanaut has only one sub dial rather than the usual two or three, and makes room for a date at 3 o’clock.
42.2mm cases are water-resistant to 120m, and the integrated composite strap is also safe under water.
Luce means light in Italian, and the name is used for ladies’ Aquanaut watches because of the circle of diamonds on their bezels that make them sparkle.
The family is joined this year by models that adopt the Luce’s original 2004 design and use the same slim quartz movements for steel pieces along with automatics in gold.
For the first time, Patek Philippe has also created a quartz-based Aquanaut Luce Travel Time reference with a second time zone hand.
They all come on integrated composite straps matching dial colours including green, white and black.
New Aquanaut Luce automatics in gold come in a larger 38.8mm case, which might be described as gender neutral in markets where men like diamond decoration as much as women — in this case bezels are set with 48 brilliant-cut Top Wesselton Pure diamonds.
Three hand automatics with date also come in an 18ct gold 38.8mm case with the same diamond-studded bezel, as does the quartz-driven Luce in steel, although the watch is a little slimmer at 7.9mm compared to 8.5mm for the mechanical piece.