The Patek Philippe Aquanaut is one of the most sought after timepieces in today’s market. In this article, we’ll go into detail about its origins, the different models, and of course the current market price.
Patek Philippe launched the Nautilus in 1976, and after an initial skepticism by the public, it took off, becoming one of the most sought-after models of the company. However, some customers complained because it was still too “dressy”.
The company answered by reworking its concept to make the watch more sporty, and also, somewhat more affordable, launching the Aquanaut range in 1997.
The Aquanaut features a three-part case with a sapphire glass back and a screw-down crown, offering a water resistance of 120 meters, which allows it to sustain some light diving if needed.
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THE BASIC (TIME AND DATE) LINE
The first edition of the Ref. 5060A, in stainless steel, and 5060J, in yellow gold, was a limited edition of 1,000 pieces only.
This edition featured a 36 mm case with a solid case back (no glass), black ribbed dial with very evident white markings, three hands, and date display. It mounted the caliber 330 SC with a central rotor, featuring a rubber or leather wristband, depending on the model.
The Ref. 5060A in steel starts from around $20,000,
while the Ref. 5060J in yellow gold from about $25,000.
The first production model, Ref. 5066, made from 1997 to 2006, is identical to the limited edition but introduced the glass back so as to display the movement.
This element renders this edition more sought after by the collectors.
The Ref. 5066A in steel starts from around $22,000,
while the Ref. 5066J in yellow gold from about $30,000.
During the same year, due to the immediate success of the collection, Patek Philippe launched the “Jumbo” version, the Aquanaut Ref. 5065, featuring a 38 mm stainless steel or yellow gold case and rubber strap. This version, made from 1997 to 2006, mounted the caliber 315 SC with a central rotor.
The Ref. 5065A in steel starts from around $35,000,
while the Ref. 5065J in yellow gold from about $60,000.
In 1998, Patek Philippe launched the quartz-based version of the Aquanaut, with the Ref. 5064, featuring a 38 mm stainless steel case with the display back and rubber strap, and mounting the caliber E 23 SC.
The Ref. 5064 starts from around $18,000.
In the same years, the company also introduced two smaller (29 mm case) quartz-based ladies models, the Ref. 4960 and 4961, mounting the caliber E 19 C.
These watches had a solid back and were available in stainless steel (in the Ref. 4961 “Luce,” with a diamond-set bezel) or yellow gold. Also, the stainless steel version commonly featured a steel bracelet.
The stainless steel Ref. 4960 starts from around $15,000,
while the Ref. 4961 Luce from a bit more, approximately $16,000.
The yellow gold Ref. 4960 has a price of about $20,000.
The second-generation Ref. 5167 Aquanaut, called “Extra Large”, was introduced at the 2007 Baselworld fair, and is still in production.
It features a more massive, three-piece 40 mm case with display back, a new movement (the Cal. 324 SC), a contoured rubber strap with a new style deployment clasp, and a slightly different dial.
It is available in stainless steel and rose gold. Also, you can find models featuring a bracelet.
The stainless steel models start from around $30,000, either with a wristband or bracelet.
The rose gold models start from about $45,000.
In 2017, Patek Philippe presented an even larger “Jumbo” model, the Ref. 5168, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the collection.
The Jumbo features a three-part 42.2 mm case, but apart from this, it otherwise looks very similar to the more common Ref. 5167 and mounts the same 324 SC caliber.
However, this reference is only available in white gold. The black dial version of the Ref. 5168 is currently trending around $38,000.
In 2019, the company launched a version with a blue dial and another with a khaki green dial.
The blue-dial models start from about $50,000,
while the green-dial models from about $65,000.
There is a vast choice of Ladies Aquanaut models currently in production, all sharing a smaller three-piece case of 35.6 mm, and a display back.
The Ref. 5067 Luce is quartz-based, mounting the Cal. E23–250 SC and a diamond-set bezel, with a colored dial and matching rubber wristband. There are also bracelets available.
This version does not have a display back.
It is available with a stainless steel case starting from about $18,000.
The Ref. 5068 Luce is instead mechanical. It mounts the Cal. 324 SC and a diamond-set bezel, with either a chocolate or white dial and matching wristband.
It is available with a rose gold case starting from about $44,000.
The Ref. 5069 Luce differs from the Ref. 5068 because the whole of the case and bezel are diamond-set, and comes with either a black or white dial and matching wristband.
It is available with rose gold or white gold case starting from about $65,000.
The Ref. 5072 Luce Haute Joaillerie differs from the Ref. 5069 because it features bigger diamonds and the dial is different, with diamond indices. It comes with either a dusty pink or light blue dial and matching wristband.
It is available with rose gold or white gold case starting from about $85,000.
THE COMPLICATED LINE
Patek Philippe expanded the Aquanaut family by introducing complicated models in 2011 when it presented the Ref. 5164 “Travel Time.” It is a GMT watch, featuring a skeleton hour hand, which you can set with two pushers on the left side of the case.
The date is displayed through a subdial at six.
The three-piece case with display back measures 40.8 mm and mounts a variation of the Cal. 324, the Cal. 324 SC F US.
The watch comes with either a stainless steel or rose gold case.
The model in stainless steel starts from around $50,000,
while the one in rose gold from about $70,000.
In 2017, the company launched a 500-piece limited edition of the Travel Time in white gold, featuring an open-heart dial.
It is a very rare watch and starts at around $265,000.
In 2018, Patek Philippe introduced a chronograph model in the collection, the Aquanaut Chronograph, Ref. 5968.
This watch mounts the same caliber used in the Nautilus Chronograph, the Cal. CH 28–520 C, so it uses a more massive three-piece 42.2 mm case with a display back.
It is only available in stainless steel with a rubber wristband.
It starts at around $80,000.