The Aquanaut: Patek Philippe's Entry-Level Watch
The Patek Philippe Aquanaut is the entry point into the world of this Genevan manufacturer's sports watches. Watch fans value it for its relation to the Nautilus, precise in-house calibers, and high-quality materials and finishes.
The Nautilus' Little Sister
Patek Philippe first introduced the Aquanaut to the public in 1997. Its design is clearly inspired by Patek's most iconic sports watch, the Nautilus, which legendary watch designer Gérald Genta had come up with some 20 years prior. An octagonal, porthole-shaped bezel characterizes the look of both timepieces. However, the Aquanaut's bezel is much rounder than that of its sister model. This is also true of its crown protector and lugs, which lend this watch its more curvy and modern appearance.
The Aquanaut has more in common with the Nautilus than just aesthetics alone: It also shares some of its important technological features. Both are water-resistant to 120 m (12 bar, 394 ft). This is unusual for a watch from Patek Philippe, as most of their luxury watches are only water-resistant to 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft). Furthermore, the manufacturer outfits both collections with the same high-precision in-house calibers.
Another shared feature is the use of stainless steel. For many watch manufacturers, this metal is a standard case material; however, Patek Philippe rarely uses stainless steel. That being said, Patek also offers the Nautilus and Aquanaut in one of their preferred materials: gold.
The Aquanaut usually comes on a rubber strap that is especially resistant to water, abrasion, and UV radiation. Patek Philippe also produces versions on a three-piece link stainless steel bracelet for those who prefer something a bit less sporty.
Reasons to Buy a Patek Philippe Aquanaut
- A more affordable alternative to the Nautilus
- Sporty design in the style of Gérald Genta
- Precise in-house calibers
- Water-resistant to 120 m (12 bar, 394 ft)
- Travel Time with a practical dual time mechanism
Prices at a Glance: Patek Philippe Aquanaut
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Features|
|Aquanaut Travel Time Advanced Research, 5650G||334,000 USD||Second time zone, white gold, limited run of 500 pieces|
|Aquanaut Luce Haute Joaillerie, 5072R||120,000 USD||Date, diamonds, rose gold|
|Aquanaut Chronograph, 5968A||112,000 USD||Chronograph, date, stainless steel|
|Aquanaut, 5168G-010||78,500 USD||Date, white gold, green dial|
|Aquanaut, 5167A-001||52,000 USD||Date, stainless steel, black dial|
|Aquanaut Luce, 5068R||45,000 USD||Diamonds, date, rose gold, quartz movement|
How much does a Patek Philippe Aquanaut cost?
Prices for an Aquanaut largely depend on the case material, movement, and availability. One of the most affordable models is the ref. 5167A-001. This three-hand stainless steel watch costs around 52,000 USD on Chrono24. The white gold ref. 5168G-010 with a green dial has a similar design and demands about 78,500 USD. If you'd like a watch with a chronograph function, you should take a closer look at the stainless steel Aquanaut 5968A-001. This timepiece will set you back roughly 112,000 USD.
You can often avoid the long waiting times associated with offline retailers by purchasing your watch on Chrono24. However, this generally means spending well over the model's official list price. Thanks to its recent financial performance, the Aquanaut makes a great investment.
About Three-Hand Models
The basic version of the Aquanaut bears the reference number 5167 and is known as the Aquanaut Extra Large. Its affix, "Extra Large," is a bit misleading, as this 40-mm three-hand watch with a date display is far from oversized. Its power comes from the automatic caliber 324 S C, which oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour (vph) and has a 40-hour power reserve.
Plan to spend about 52,000 USD on a never-worn stainless steel model. If you prefer the rose gold edition with a chocolate-brown dial and strap, expect to pay around 69,000 USD. For the collection's 20th anniversary, Patek released the Aquanaut 5168G with a 42-mm white gold case, a blue dial, and a matching rubber strap. This timepiece costs approximately 73,500 USD. You can save quite a bit by choosing an older, pre-owned model. For example, the 38-mm stainless steel Aquanaut 5065A with the in-house caliber 315 SC demands roughly 36,000 USD.
Aquanaut Luce: A Women's Watch
The Aquanaut Luce is the collection's women's model. These watches have smaller cases (35.6 mm) than the men's watches and 46 diamonds on their bezels. The stainless steel version comes with a black, brown, blue, or white dial and a matching strap. Patek outfits this version with a quartz caliber, while the rose gold edition features an automatic movement.
Expect to pay around 14,500 USD for a stainless steel model and 45,000 USD for one in gold. The Aquanaut Luce Haute Joaillerie has a particularly feminine design. It is also made of rose gold; however, its mother-of-pearl dial has a chess-board pattern, its bezel is studded with 40 baguette-cut diamonds, and every hour index also has a shimmering diamond. You'll have to invest more than 120,000 USD to call this treasure your own.
The Aquanaut With a Second Time Zone
The Aquanaut Travel Time is able to display a second time zone. An additional hour hand allows you to keep track of the time back home, 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.
The words "Home" and "Local" sit next to two small windows at 3 and 9 o'clock, respectively. These windows serve as day/night indicators. A subdial at 6 o'clock shows the date using a hand. The automatic caliber 324 S C FUS ticks away inside this timepiece. Like the standard caliber 324 S C, this movement also has a 40-hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 vph.
Set aside around 76,500 USD for a stainless steel model. The rose gold editions can cost up to 85,000 USD.
Exclusive and Highly Precise: Travel Time Advanced Research
The Aquanaut Travel Time Advanced Research from 2017 is especially exclusive thanks to its limited production run of 500 pieces. Not only does it have a white gold case, but it is also equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Thanks to the new Spiromax balance spring, this timepiece only deviates +2/-1 seconds per day. What's more, a single stainless steel component has replaced the complicated push-piece mechanism previously needed for setting the local time. A cutout in the dial allows the wearer to view this new component at work. You can call this limited-edition watch your own for around 335,000 USD.
The Aquanaut With a Stopwatch Function
The Aquanaut Chronograph ref. 5968A-001 is the latest addition to the Aquanaut family. Its 42-mm stainless steel case contains the proven caliber CH 28-520 C, which provides this timepiece with a date display at 3 o'clock and a 60-minute counter at 6. This chronograph comes with both a black and an orange rubber strap, allowing you to adapt it to your style. While this timepiece has a list price of 49,680 USD, its actual market value is over double that amount, with watches changing hands for around 113,000 USD on Chrono24. This staggering disparity perfectly demonstrates just how coveted Patek Philippe watches truly are.
Innovative and Independent
Patek Philippe was founded in 1851. Antoni Patek (1812–1877), a Polish exile, began working with Frenchman Adrien Philippe (1815–1894) in Geneva in 1845. The year prior, Philippe had invented the crown for winding and setting a pocket watch.
In their first year at the Great Exhibition in London, Patek and Philippe sold two watches to Queen Victoria, 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 split-seconds chronograph in 1902. In 1925, the company introduced the first wristwatch with a perpetual calendar.
Patek Philippe sourced their dials from brothers Jean and Charles Henri Stern. In 1932, the duo bought the company, which remains in the hands of the Stern family to this day. The current president, Thierry Stern, took over the role in 2009.