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Patek Philippe Aquanaut

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Patek Philippe 18K YG Gents Aquanaut 35mm Patek Philippe 18K YG Gents Aquanaut 35mm $18,000

The Aquanaut: A Sporty Introduction to Patek Philippe

The Aquanaut holds a special place in Patek Philippe's collection. A sporty watch waterproof to 120 m, it's unique from their other watches - with the exception of its predecessor, the Nautilus.

Highlights

  • Designed by Gérald Genta
  • Waterproof to 120 m
  • Entry-level Patek Philippe model
  • In-house caliber
  • Dual time mechanism

A Companion to the Nautilus

The Geneva-based luxury watch manufacturer Patek Philippe first introduced the Aquanaut series in 1997. With its angular design, crown protector, and wide bezel, it closely resembled Patek's Nautilus, the porthole-design watch which premiered in 1976 and was designed by Gérald Genta. Genta also created the distinctive look of Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak. Genta's modern design for the Nautilus was initially shocking for Patek Philippe traditionalists, but they soon changed their minds. The Nautilus predated the Aquanaut, which enhanced the collection around 20 years later. The relative newcomer is considered an entry-level model and appeals to a younger audience. It also costs less than the Nautilus. In 2007, Patek Philippe released a new Aquanaut with a reworked design.
The Aquanaut and Nautilus share an important feature: both are waterproof to 120 m, equivalent to 12 bar. This is an unusual value for a watch from Patek Philippe, as most of their luxury watches are only waterproof to 30 m (3 bar).
The basic version of the Aquanaut has the reference number 5167. Its affix, "extra large," is a bit misleading, as the 40-mm three-hand watch with a date display isn't unusually large. It's wide, brushed bezel is in the shape of an octagon, the Aquanaut's most distinctive design element. At the same time, the bezel quickly makes it obvious how the Aquanaut was influenced by the Nautilus. Both watches are also made of stainless steel. For many watch manufacturers, this metal is the standard material used. For Patek Philippe, however, stainless steel is rarely used. Elegant series like the Calatrava consist of watches made of yellow, rose, and white gold. However, the Aquanaut isn't limited to just stainless steel; it's also available in gold.
The automatic caliber 324 S C powers the extra large Aquanaut. It vibrates at 28,800 alternations per hour (A/h) and has a 40-hour power reserve.
The Aquanaut Travel Time is able to display a second time zone. The patented mechanism, like the Aquanaut itself, was released in 1997. An additional hour hand allows you to display your home time, a practical feature when traveling. You can use the two push-pieces on the left side of the case to set the local time an hour forward or backward. The minute and seconds hands do not change. At three o'clock, there's a window with the word "Home," across from a window at nine o'clock labeled "Local." The window is either colored white or dark blue, which symbolizes if it's currently day or night in the local and home locations. This display feature helps wearers avoid calling friends or family in the middle of the night due to a time miscalculation.
The date is displayed on a subdial at six o'clock on the Aquanaut Travel Time. A hand points to the current numeral between 1 and 31. The date display refers to the date in the local time. The second time zone complication is made possible by the automatic caliber 324 S C FUS. The base version of the caliber, 324 S C, has other important Aquanaut features, such as a 40-hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 A/h.
There are also women's watches in the Aquanaut collection. Patek Philippe utilizes the wide bezel design to add diamonds. Three hundred and eighty-seven of these gemstones decorate the case of the Aquanaut with reference number 5069G-001, with a further 164 diamonds on the fold-over clasp. The diameter of the ladies' Aquanaut is 35.2 mm. In addition to stainless steel, the watch is also available in white gold.
Many versions of the Aquanaut have a composite strap, a feature typical of underwater watches. The square pattern on the strap is repeated on the dial.

Buying Advice

Are you looking for a sporty watch from one of the most renowned Swiss manufacturers? The Aquanaut is a robust, sporty watch from Patek Philippe. It's easily legible thanks to its light-colored, wide hands set against a black dial. As its name suggests, it can be worn while swimming or snorkeling and is waterproof to 120 m. However, if you plan on scuba diving, you should switch to a diving watch waterproof to at least 200 m (20 bar).
New, a stainless steel Aquanaut costs around 25,000 euros. The rose gold versions are somewhat more expensive, but most are still under 30,000 euros.
Less expensive Aquanauts are available, however. Stainless steel quartz-powered Aquanauts from the early days of the series can be purchased in good to very good condition for around 7,000 - 8,000 euros.

Innovative, Independent

Patek Philippe was founded in 1851. Antoni Patek (1811 - 1877), a Polish exile, began working with the Frenchman Adrien Philippe (1815 - 1894) in Geneva in the year 1845. The year prior, Philippe had invented the crown, with which one could wind and set a pocket watch. Before that, a key was required in order to give the movement power.
Patek and Philippe sold two watches to Queen Victoria in their first year at the Great Exposition in London, an important sale for the fledgling business. European nobility quickly became regular customers. Tiffany & Co. ordered 130 watches to sell in the United States. Patek Philippe acquired many patents in the following years, such as a patent for the first double chronograph in 1902. In 1925, the company introduced the first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar.
Jean and Charles Henri Stern produced dials exclusively for Patek Philippe. In 1932, the brothers bought the company. Since then, Patek has belonged to the Stern family, with Thierry Stern leading the company since 2009. Every year, Patek Philippe produces around 50,000 watches. Aside from Rolex, it's one of the few independent luxury watch manufacturers left.