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Patek Philippe - One Year, One Watch

Patek Philippe One Year, One Watch

2018 : Aquanaut Chronograph*


Our world comes in colour; colours of every hue set the tone for our lives and affect our moods. Seeing colours involves having eyes that work properly – and the first artificial iris was authorised in May 2018. And so the stage is set to review the colours that left their mark on the year in question: Blue – as in the blue shirts of the French team that won the Soccer World Cup. White – a tribute to the northern white rhinoceros, officially deemed to have become extinct in 2018. Black, for the triumph of Black Panther at the movies – and to describe the darkness of the cave in Thailand where 12 children and their coach were trapped for 17 days. Red, for Mars, where the first subglacial lake had just been discovered: water on the Red Planet! Pink – as in the colour of the jacket worn by one of the two figures in David Hockney’s painting Portrait of an Artist. This allegory of love lost sold for over $90 million, making Hockney the most bankable artist alive. Gold – as in fortune. That of Apple, for instance: the first company to have a market cap of $1 trillion. Green – like the pretty leaves of cannabis, henceforth authorised for sale in Canada. Yellow, the colour worn by the ‘yellow vest’ demonstrators in France, as they began one of the longest ever social protest movements in the country’s history. Grey, the colour of Banksy’s Balloon Girl, which sold for £1 million – only to be immediately shredded, in by far the most original artistic happening of 2018. Purple, meanwhile, was Pantone’s Colour of the Year, awarded to PANTONE 18-3838: Ultra Violet.

One Year, One Watch

Aquanaut Chronographe © Patek Philippe

And lastly, multi-coloured – like a bunch of flowers; in 2018, scientists established that they had first bloomed on earth some 180 million years ago. And what of watchmaking colours, in a world only too accustomed to 50 shades of grey? The watch for 2018 is the Patek Philippe Aquanaut – proof of how colour can transform the way we look at things.

Why Patek Philippe?

Patek Philippe is so famous, so revered and so sought-after, that everything that can possibly be said about the brand has been said already. Patek is haute horlogerie personified in all its splendour; a brand that even those who aren’t the least bit interested in watches are aware of. The brand also embodies a perfect union between technical excellence and a devotion to classicism that verges on the fanatical. A Patek is unchanging, perennial, immortal.

Sometimes, however, the brand does dare to step outside its comfort zone and try its hand at less conservative, sporty watches. And this is what we find with the Nautilus and indeed the Aquanaut – a lifestyle watch with a primmer design than the Nautilus that nevertheless began its colour metamorphosis in 2018.

One Year, One Watch

Aquanaut Chronographe © Patek Philippe

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph: Orange Is the New Black

The Aquanaut is a really nice watch. It has presence and a touch of originality; when I look at it, I could easily find myself humming That’s What I Like (Grammy-award winner for Song of the Year in 2018). With this chronograph version, Patek Philippe has given its sporty watch the most popular complication on the market – and taken the opportunity to spice it up a little by adding some colour. The chronograph and minute counter hands are done out in orange; that might be considered a detail, but for this particular Geneva-based brand, the use of colour is unprecedented in the extreme. And ‘extreme’ doesn’t even begin to cover it when you consider that the Ref. 5968A comes on an orange strap, too. Discreet conservatism is suddenly so last year. The Aquanaut takes a walk on the wild side – with delightful results.

The Take from The Devil’s Advocate

The only colours in my palette are black and red. So there. Leaving colours out of it, is there any room for improvement in the Aquanaut 5968A? It could do with shedding some excess girth (from its current 42mm) and losing the date window. Some people have actually complained about the colour. Way to go to miss the point entirely. Perhaps I could tempt them to take another look.

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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