Stop Freaking Out About Patek’s Blingy New Watch
Flashy, diamond-decked watches don’t signal a new direction for Patek Philippe.
A total of 53.71 carats of jewels cover one of Patek Philippe’s newest watches. From the dial, its hands and markers, to the bezel, onto the bracelet, and even set into the sides of the bracelet’s links, 779 baguette-cut sapphires in a mix of colors form a rainbow motif. Some 130 baguette-cut diamonds fill the negative space.
Depending on your perspective, it’s either drool-worthy—or completely over-the-top. We’re talking, of course, about the new Aquanaut Luce Haute Joaillerie Self Winding Minute Repeater (5260/1455R-001) which has proven especially polarizing.
Nevermind that it introduces a minute repeater to the Aquanaut line for the first time, the hot takes are spicy and meme-makers have had a field day based on its flashy, opulent nature. It undermines the brand’s cultivated image of quiet sophistication, they cry. It’s a money-grab meant for baller celebs that don’t even appreciate the brand’s history and watchmaking, they say. Patek is losing its way, they fret. It’s not even waterproof, they lament.
People, relax. Is a colorful, iced-out Patek really that shocking? Aesthetics are subjective, your opinions are valid, and the watch world is better off for your passion. And, granted, the watch’s design is rather flashy. But, to me, the reaction is somewhat overblown. It doesn’t seem like a massive departure for the brand, and it does what it’s meant to do very well. It’s a showcase for its in-house gem setting and a halo piece even among the brand’s always exclusive and expensive watches—but another thing it’s meant to do is to be provocative.
The primary grievance seems to be stylistic (I’m not going to get into this high-complication, high-jewelry, price-on-request watch’s “not water resistant” rating). The loud, blingy nature of the watch raises comparisons to brands associated with ostentation and celebrity flexes, and strikes some as anathema to Patek’s beloved persona. It might not look like the Patek Philippe you know and love best, but it represents a facet of the company that’s long existed.
Firstly, it’s described as Haute Joaillerie, for women. The brand has long been making such watches, and they’ve even made iced-out, rainbow-themed watches before. In fact, the watch in question is among several diamond-caked Aquanauts and Nautili introduced together for November 2023. The others are apparently far less controversial.
Sure, it’s easy to imagine this particular Aquanaut on the wrist of Floyd Mayweather but, in addition to his Hublots, jewel-encrusted Royal Oaks and Jacob & Co.s, it would fit right into his collection alongside other sparkly Pateks. In other words, watches like this have long existed, to some degree. To me, this shows that this particular watch doesn’t signal something like a change of direction at the brand, as many fans seem to worry.
Patek Philippe will keep making excruciatingly beautiful and understated watches. Don’t worry about that. None of this is to say that a watch like this would fit into my personal wardrobe (much less my budget), but I’ll tell you what I like most about it (aside from a Patek Philippe minute repeater): I like it when brands take risks and challenge perceptions. I also like that the watch collecting community feels so strongly about such watches. That’s healthy on both counts.
Learn more about the Aquanaut Luce Haute Joaillerie Self Winding Minute Repeater (5260/1455R-001) on Patek Philippe’s website here.
MORE STORIES ABOUT Patek Philippe
|Movement||Self-winding extra thin Dandong caliber SL1588; 41-hour power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes and seconds|
|Case||40mm; grade 5 titanium; water resistant to 100m|
|Dial||Red guilloché with "Sunmao" structure; rhodium plated applied indexes|
|Strap||Titanium bracelet and white colored rubber strap|
|Limited Edition||Limited and numbered edition of 100 pieces|