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A guide to the Patek Philippe Aquanaut

The Aquanaut watch by Patek Philippe plays on the brand’s more dynamic and sporty side compared to its more elegant and traditionally-styled watches. No other collection features instruments imbued with military green hues and vibrant orange accents. The Aquanaut watch is available in a choice of traditional materials and is classed as the entry point watch into Patek Philippe’s range of sports watches. Designed for a younger audience, it came at a time when watch enthusiasts were ready for something sportier in design. The watch is still part of the brand’s catalogue today and is available in different case materials and with various complications like the Travel Time, powered by a practical dual time mechanism.  In this guide to understanding the Patek Philippe Aquanaut, we’ll look at the history of the model and how it came to be a widely sought-after collectable for many a sports watch enthusiast, together with its price range and some popular models from the brand’s current line.

The first Aquanaut reference – the ref. 5060A

The origins of the second generation of sports watch by Patek Philippe is considered the sibling to the iconic Nautilus watch, hence why the first few Aquanaut designs went under the name of the Nautilus, originally designed by Gerald Genta. An example is the ref 5060A produced in 1997, which featured a checkered dial, a rubber strap and a porthole-inspired case shape. That said, clear hints to the brand’s attempts in recreating the Nautilus can be seen in the ref. 5060S, released just a year earlier.

The ref. 5060A, for many, officially marks the beginning of the Aquanaut story. Due to the limited availability of the 330 SC movements, the 5060 models were only produced in limited numbers of 100 - both in the steel and a rose gold version. Its case size was smaller by 6mm compared to the Royal Oak, demonstrating Patek’s desire to create something entirely new. As well as its porthole inspired design, the 5060 model also featured a closed caseback as opposed to a sapphire crystal glass exhibition caseback. Taking over a year to develop was the Aquanaut’s composite rubber strap named the “Tropical” strap with a distinct textured surface. It was advertised as being resistant to saltwater and bacteria, as well as resistant to ultraviolet deterioration. Subsequently, it is these robust and durable rubber straps that have become collector’s items today. Finding an original uncut rubber strap in khaki green, for example, that can fit the current Aquanaut watch, is near-on impossible.

Expanding the Aquanaut series

Said to be inspired by the textured surface of a grenade, the surface of every Aquanaut watch has become its most defining feature. This is thought to link back to the collection’s military aspirations. Earlier models featured lume on the hands of the dials. Another defining feature of these older models is the cursive font of the date window at 3 o’clock, whilst younger models feature chunkier date numerals. After the 5060 series came the 5064 series, which offered a quartz movement. The 5065, however, brought a larger case size, and the 5066 model to follow this was one of the most popular tyles of the brand’s neo-vintage Aquanaut series, featuring the old-fashioned style lume. Whilst the 5065 is known as the “Jumbo” due to its large 38mm size, the 5066 kept hold of the original movement and put it on the display through a sapphire exhibition caseback. This model also marks the transition period from tritium luminescence to Super-LumiNova material before it ceased production in 2006. Later, the Aquanaut 5066 model was offered in gold, as did the 5065 model in 1999.

Bringing the Aquanaut up to date

From 2007, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut references 5165 and 5167 enter the collection. The deep grooves on the dial are taken away in the dials of these models and are replaced by shallower dials, whilst the hour marker at 3 o’clock also completely disappears. The 5165 measures a 38mm diameter whilst the 5167 measures a larger 40mm. Gradually, the 315 SC calibre was replaced by the 324 SC and the 5167 model later appeared with a sporty integrated bracelet. Even though the 5165 was only ever offered in a more traditional stainless steel material, the 5167 was made available in rose gold for a more luxurious offering. Since 2000, more contemporary dial designs have arrived as a result of Patek Philippe’s desire to experiment with new materials and styles. In turn, this has attracted a whole younger generation of watch enthusiasts, many of which refer to the Aquanaut as the perfect daily beater.

How much does a Patek Philippe Aquanaut watch cost?

Depending on the material and the condition of the watch, Aquanaut watches vary in price. The Aquanaut ref. 5167A-001 is one of the most affordable Aquanaut watches and costs around $52,000 on the pre-owned market. Its three-hand design in stainless steel makes it a versatile and universally-collected timepiece from this popular range. In white gold, the Aquanaut ref. 5168G-010 with a green dial can set you back around $78,000. Chronographs cost considerably more. The stainless steel Aquanaut chronograph ref. 5968A-001, for example, costs around $112,000.

Popular current Aquanaut watches from Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167-1A-001

Possibly the most classic-looking of Aquanaut watches. This Patek Philippe Aquanaut watch, crafted from stainless steel and presenting the time on a black dial, offers an understated and modest design for wearing every day of the week. Its luminous Arabic numeral hour markers, placed neatly around the watch’s textured black dial, are accompanied by Super-LumiNova-coated central hands. This popular Aquanaut watch features a date window at 3 o’clock and is powered by the Caliber 324 S C, which produces up to 45 hours of power reserve.

Our Pick

Patek Philippe Aquanaut

Reference: 5167/1A

Case/Dial: 40.8mm, Black
120 mt.

Movement: 26‑330 S C, Self-winding

Style: Elegant

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968G-001

Powered by the Caliber CH 28‑520 C, this Patek Philippe Aquanaut watch is a flyback chronograph, which resets, starts and stops the chronograph timing with one simple push of a button. This popular Patek Philippe Aquanaut watch is crafted from 18ct white gold and features a screw-down crown, a water resistance of 120 meters and a stunning blue-back gradient dial. Additionally, the central luminous-treated hour and minute hands are paired with a small second sub-counter at 6 o’clock. The Patek Philippe-engraved crown matches the hallmark stamped to the surface of the white gold buckle attached to the model’s midnight blue composite material strap.

Our Pick

Patek Philippe Aquanaut

Reference: 5968G

Case/Dial: 41mm Stainless steel, Blue
120 mt.

Movement: CH 28‑520 C, Self-winding

Style: Dress

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164R-001

The Aquanaut Travel Time watch will appeal to avid globe trotter and those whose work requires them to travel on business frequently. Its 18ct rose gold case ensures a look of elegance and class at all times, combined with its rich brown textured dial. The watch provides a home and local night and day indicator, and a local date window in the sub-counter at 6 o’clock. The second hour zone hand is separate from the luminous-filled central hour and minute hands, enabling it to stand out when referencing the time at a glance. The Calibre 324 S C FUS is a dual time zone mechanism that provides a 45-hour power reserve and puts a 21k gold rotor on show through a sapphire-backed case. The watch is also fitted on a brown polymer material band that matches the rich chocolatey tones of its dial perfectly.

Our Pick

Patek Philippe Aquanut

Reference: 5164R

Case/Dial: 40.8mm Rose gold, Brown

Movement: 324 S C FUS, Self-winding

Style: Sporty

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5267-200A-001

This Aquanaut watch from Patek Philippe is quartz powered. Its 48 carefully-set diamonds positioned around its stainless steel bezel add a halo of light around a classic-looking black dial, embossed with the famous Aquanaut pattern. A screw-down crown and solid caseback help the watch to uphold its 120-meter water resistance, whilst the front of the case is crafted from anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass to protect the surface of the dial. This popular Aquanaut watch from Patek Philippe features a date window and 3 o’clock and comes complete on a black composite material strap with a matching steel folding clasp.

Our Pick

Patek Philippe Aquanut

Reference: 5267/200A

Case/Dial: 38.8mm, Black
120 mt.

Movement: E 23‑250 S C, Self-winding

Style: Sporty

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5062-450R-001

The most indulgent ad luxurious Patek Philippe Aquanaut watch of all - this diamond-encrusted model is tailor-made for those with a preference for watch designs that don’t hold back. Showered in scintillating diamonds, the design of this Aquanaut watch boasts a dial, case, lugs, and clasp that are set with diamonds in 25 different sizes and shapes including brilliant-cut, baguette, and trapeze. Together these form a unique geometric pattern, whilst inside the watch’s 18ct rose gold case integrated with 30-meter water resistance, is the self-winding Caliber 324. It provides a power reserve of 45 hours and performs at a rate of 28,800 vibrations. Although the most extravagant of the collection, there would be no better Patek Philippe Aquanaut watch to choose to exemplify the brand’s unwavering dedication to creating some of the most exquisite and meticulously crafted luxury watches of all time.

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