Aquanaut: Patek Philippe's Sportiest Luxury Watch
The Aquanaut is the entry into the sports watch world of Genevan luxury watch manufacturer Patek Philippe. Its exceptional quality, in-house caliber, and kinship with the famous Nautilus appeals to watch lovers and collectors.
The Perfect Alternative to the Nautilus
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, a creation by the legendary watch designer Gérald Genta some 20 years prior. Both designs are characterized by an octagonal, porthole-shaped bezel. However, the Aquanaut's bezel is much rounder than that of its sibling model. This is also true of its crown protector and lugs, which lend this watch its curvier, more 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.
The men's Aquanaut offers simple three-hand watches, models with second time zones, and chronographs. A new model with an annual calendar joined the line-up in 2023. In terms of materials, Patek Philippe primarily uses stainless steel, but individual references are also available in rose or white gold.
Women's watches in the Aquanaut line come in stainless steel or rose gold and sometimes feature intricate diamond decor. In terms of calibers, both automatic and quartz watches are available.
The Aquanaut usually comes on a rubber strap that is especially resistant to water, abrasion, and UV light. If you'd prefer something a bit less sporty, Patek Philippe also produces variants that come on a three-piece link bracelet in stainless steel.
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 features a practical dual-time mechanism
Prices at a Glance: Patek Philippe Aquanaut
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)*||Features|
|Aquanaut Travel Time Advanced Research, 5650G||600,000 USD||Second time zone, white gold, limited run of 500 watches, 40.8 mm|
|Aquanaut Luce Haute Joaillerie, 5072R-001||188,000 USD||Date, diamonds, rose gold, 35.6 mm|
|Aquanaut Chronograph, 5968A-001||146,000 USD||Chronograph, date, stainless steel, 42.2 mm|
|Aquanaut Chronograph, 5968G-001||135,000 USD||Chronograph, date, blue dial, white gold, 42.2 mm|
|Aquanaut Chronograph, 5968G-010||135,000 USD||Chronograph, date, green dial, white gold, 42.2 mm|
|Aquanaut, 5168G-010||100,000 USD||Date, white gold, green dial, 42.2 mm|
|Aquanaut Travel Time, 5164A-001||92,000 USD||Second time zone, pointer date, stainless steel, 40.8 mm|
|Aquanaut, 5167A-001||69,000 USD||Date, stainless steel, black dial, 40.8 mm|
|Aquanaut Luce, 5267/200A-011||55,000 USD||Diamonds, date, stainless steel, quartz movement, 38.8|
|*as of June 2023|
How much does a Patek Philippe Aquanaut cost?
If you're looking for a men's model, the ref. 5167A-001 is the most affordable timepiece. This three-hand watch is made of stainless steel and cost around 69,000 USD in mid-2023. The next step up is the ref. 5168G-010, which has a green dial and white gold case. It sells for roughly 100,000 USD.
As for chronographs, the Aquanaut ref. 5968A-001 is a great option. This stainless steel watch changes hands for around 146,000 USD. Frequent flyers can turn to the Aquanaut Travel Time ref. 5164A-001. This is another stainless steel watch, but has the added benefit of a second time zone. It also has a more manageable price of 92,000 USD.
The Aquanaut Luce is home to models marketed toward women and comes in your choice of stainless steel or rose gold, while the diamond bezel is a non-negotiable. Prices can land anywhere between 55,000 and 75,000 USD, but ornately decorated pieces can break 100,000 USD.
About the Three-Hand Models
The standard version of the Aquanaut is the ref. 5167 with a diameter of 40.8 mm. Older editions of this reference use the automatic caliber 324 S C which offers a stop-seconds function. For some time now, however, the Aquanaut has shared a caliber with the Nautilus, namely the caliber 26-330 S C. In any case, both movements have a date display at 3 o'clock and oscillate at a frequency of 28,800 vph. The biggest difference between the two calibers is the power reserve. The 324 S C has a 40-house power reserve, while the 26-330 S C lasts up to 45 hours.
Plan to spend around 69,000 USD for the stainless steel version on a rubber strap (as of June 2023). If you'd prefer a stainless steel bracelet, expect to pay around 2,000 USD more. The rose gold edition with a chocolate brown dial and rubber strap requires an investment of around 90,000 USD.
To celebrate the collection's 20th anniversary, Patek released the Aquanaut 5168G with a 42-mm white gold case, blue or olive dial, and matching rubber strap. This timepiece will set you back approximately 100,000 USD.
You can save quite a pretty penny by buying an older, pre-owned model like the 38-mm stainless steel Aquanaut 5065A. This watch is powered by the in-house caliber 315 SC and changes hands for roughly 56,000 USD.
The Aquanaut Luce for Women
The Aquanaut Luce is the collection's women's model. With a diameter of 38.8 mm, this watch is notably smaller than the men's watch and boasts 48 diamonds on its bezel. The stainless steel version, the ref. 5267/200A, comes with a black, green, or white dial and matching strap, as well as a quartz caliber. Prices for this watch generally come in around 55,000 USD, regardless of dial color.
Patek equips the three-hand rose gold edition with an automatic movement. The reference 5268/200R is now also available with a brown dial and brown rubber strap and demands an investment of approximately 101,000 USD. The ref. 5269/200R is a Travel Time edition with an additional hour hand for the second time zone provided by a quartz movement. This model costs about 71,000 USD.
The highlight of the women's watch collection is without a doubt the Aquanaut Luce "Rainbow" released in 2022. The bezel, dial, and clasp on this rose gold watch have been furnished with 204 precious gems, and the bezel – as the name implies – features a rainbow of colors. This gem of a timepiece is powered by the Patek Philippe chronograph caliber CH 28-5 20-C, which comes with a flyback function. Plan to shell out at least 500,000 USD for this watch.
Aquanauts With Complications
Patek Philippe is famous for creating movements with sophisticated complications, and the Aquanaut collection is no exception to the rule.
Aquanaut Travel Time With GMT Function
The Aquanaut Travel Time (ref. 5164) offers a second time zone by using an additional hour hand to indicate the time back home – a practical feature when traveling. Two push-pieces on the left side of the case are used to set the local time an hour forward or backward, as needed. The minute and seconds hands are not affected while setting the hour.
The words "Home" and "Local" sit next to two small windows just below 3 and 9 o'clock, respectively. These windows serve as day/night indicators. A subdial at 6 o'clock shows the date. Depending on when the reference was made, it uses either the caliber 324 S C FUS or the more modern 26-330 S C.
As of June 2023, the stainless steel model (5164A-001) costs approximately 92,000 USD, while the rose gold edition (ref. 5164R-001) sells for around 125,000 USD.
Exclusive and Highly Precise: Travel Time Advanced Research
The Aquanaut Travel Time Advanced Research released in 2017 is especially exclusive, thanks to its limited production run of 500 pieces. Not only does the watch have a white gold case, it's also equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Thanks to the new Spiromax balance spring, this timepiece has a deviation of only +2/-1 seconds per day. What's more, a single stainless steel component has replaced the complicated push-piece mechanism previously needed to set the local time. A cutout in the dial allows the wearer to view this new component at work.
If you're lucky enough to find one of the 500 pieces, you can expect to invest around 600,000 USD.
The Aquanaut With a Stopwatch Function
Aquanaut chronographs with the reference number 5968 are the youngest members of the Aquanaut family. The 42-mm watch is powered by the powerhouse caliber CH 28-520 C and features a date display at 3 o'clock and 60-minute counter at 6.
The stainless steel chronograph (ref. 5968A) can be worn on a black or orange rubber strap, the latter of which is included with the original purchase. You'll need to set aside around 146,000 USD for this watch in mint condition.
Patek Philippe introduced two new variants of the chronograph in summer 2021. These models are made of white gold. While the manufacturer furnishes the ref. 5968G-001 with a blue dial, the dial on the 5968G-010 is green. Technically, the two watches are identical to the stainless steel model. The white gold watches were changing hands on Chrono24 for approximately 135,000 USD in June 2023.
Launched in March 2023, you can find the Aquanaut Chronograph with a rose gold case and brown dial under reference number 5968R-001. Prices are around 63,000 USD.
New in 2023: Aquanaut With Annual Calendar
The annual calendar found its way into the Aquanaut collection for the first time in March 2023. This complication, which only requires you to correct the date once a year on March 1st, was previously only used in the Complications and Nautilus series.
The Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar 5261 is powered by the brand-new caliber 26-330 S QA LU. This movement displays the date in a window at 6 o'clock, while the day of the week and month are indicated by hands on subdials at 3 and 9 o'clock. There is also a moon phase indicator at the top of the hour. The finely decorated automatic movement is on display through the sapphire crystal case back.
The watch has a rose gold case with a diameter of 39.9 mm, making it suitable for both men and women. Patek Philippe set the list price at 61,506 USD. However, waiting times will be long due to the low production numbers. As a result, you can expect hefty markups on the open market; dealers were demanding 250,000 USD in June 2023.