Is it really possible to find an alternative to a Patek Philippe? The brand is considered by many to be the ultimate in watchmaking. As such, prices for the brand’s popular models have skyrocketed in recent years. Prices for the famous Nautilus and Aquanaut in particular have become astronomical. And although prices have come down for many references, they’re still far above regular retail value. Currently, market prices for many Aquanaut models are twice their MSRP, which is motivation enough to look at alternatives. In this article, we present you with five alternatives to the stainless-steel Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A. It’s the standard date and time Aquanaut that comes on a black rubber strap as well as a stainless-steel bracelet. So, without further ado, let’s jump in.
Piaget Polo Date Black
The Piaget Polo Date is a watch from a very reputable brand that also has visual similarities to the Patek Philippe Aquanaut. It was introduced during Watches & Wonders 2022 and is the follow-up to the Polo S that was first unveiled in 2016. Essentially nothing really changed except the name of the model. The history of the Piaget Polo name goes all the way back to 1979, when the brand introduced the first Polo. When the name resurfaced in 2016, a lot of watch fans were pleasantly surprised to see the new Polo S.
The design was clearly inspired by modern luxury sports watches like the Nautilus and the Royal Oak. While it definitely fits the category, the Polo Date has found its own spot in the watch industry as a great modern sports watch with a 42-mm stainless steel cushion-shaped case with a slim 9.4-mm case. Inside the case, you will find the brand’s caliber 1110P with a 50-hour power reserve. You can choose from either a black dial variant on a rubber strap or stainless-steel bracelet, or a blue dial version with a stainless-steel bracelet or leather strap.
Hublot Classic Fusion
Our second pick is the legendary Hublot Classic Fusion. The Classic Fusion is the watch that started it all for Hublot. The brand just recently introduced modern versions based on the first Classic Fusion from 1980, called the Classic Fusion Original. While the model has been a part of the Hublot collection for years, seeing new versions of that first Classic Fusion proves the brilliant vision that company founder Carlo Crocco had in combining rubber and precious materials. While he was the first to do so – he raised quite a few eyebrows back then – over the last four decades, it’s become an industry standard.
Both the regular three-hand Classic Fusion and the new Classic Fusion Original are perfect and stylish alternatives to the Aquanaut. The regular titanium Classic Fusion 42 mm has a traditional dial layout with hour markers, while the titanium 42-mm version of the Classic Fusion Original features a more minimalist dial design and is more of a style statement. Both are powered by the caliber HUB1110 and therefore technically the same watches. Whichever you prefer, the Hublot Classic Fusion is a more affordable and great stylish alternative to the Aquanaut.
I have written about the Czapek Antarctique before as one of the best modern luxury sports watches. As such, it’s a great alternative to both the Nautilus and Aquanaut. The brand first introduced the Antarctique in 2020 with the brilliant Antarctique Terre Adèlie. The 99 available pieces sold out in no time. The second release was the Antarctique Passage de Drake, which featured an updated dial design and a different dial pattern. This new version saw Czapek introduce new dial colors, which also turned out to be a massive success.
Lastly, the brand introduced the Passage de Drake S version, which saw the case shrink from 40.5 mm to a slightly smaller 38.5 mm. The dial design changed somewhat as a result, losing the minute track on the edge of the dial. But the overall design is very much recognizable as a Czapek Antarctique. It also features the same brilliant in-house caliber SXH5, which is a real feast for the eyes. That said, it doesn’t matter which version you prefer, as they have all sold out. Currently, you’ll need to turn to the pre-owned market to actually get one, where they’re going for $10-20K less than the stainless-steel version of the Aquanaut. That will get you one of the best but relatively unknown modern sports watches – but it’s only a matter of time until the secret’s out.
Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
On to something a bit more affordable. If you are a fan of modern luxury sport watches with integrated bracelets, but don’t want to spend a large sum of money, the Tissot PRX could be the perfect option. The PRX was first introduced in a quartz version in early 2021. Watch enthusiasts all over the globe reacted positively to the PRX’s arrival, and most of them were waiting for a mechanical version.
The mechanical version arrived in the form of the PRX Powermatic 80, which was unveiled roughly six months later and contained the great automatic caliber Powermatic 80.111 with an 80-hour power reserve. Furthermore, the sunburst dials of the quartz versions were replaced with a tile pattern on the Powermatic 80, lending an added depth to the watch’s look and feel. Tissot offers the PRX Powermatic 80 in a number of different dial colors that make the 40-mm watch look stunning on a stainless-steel bracelet. It’s not without reason that the Tissot PRX is one of the great recent successes of the watch world.
The last watch on this list of five comes courtesy of the Norwegian brand Straum. The young independent brand introduced the Rastarkalv as their first watch in 2021. The Rastarkalv is a 41-mm sports watch with a modern aesthetic, but it’s also a lot more than a simple stainless steel watch. It features a case made from Damascus steel and a dial made from 3,300-year-old Norwegian wood. The special story behind this watch combined with the great materials and execution to make sure that the 47 pieces produced sold out.
The Straum Opphav is the brand’s second model, introduced in 2022, and features the same aesthetic, combined with a 41-mm regular stainless steel case and spectacularly lacquered dials. You can choose between white, black, blue, and green dials. Recently, the brand also introduced a version of the watch with Damascus steel dials in the same colors. The timepiece is powered by the popular Sellita SW200, which offers quality and reliability. Combine the watch with a leather strap or the comfortable stainless steel bracelet, and you’ll have a great-looking and affordable modern sports watch for around $1,000-$1,600. The Straum Opphav proves that you don’t have to pay a fortune to get a great modern sports watch that’s also a great alternative to the Patek Philippe Aquanaut.
There you have it, five great alternatives to the Patek Philippe Aquanaut at different price points. While there is no doubt that it’s hard beat Patek Philippe when it comes to design and watchmaking tradition, it’s good to realize there are other options out there that don’t have to cost a fortune.