The History of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut – Part 1

It’s taken some time, yet the Patek Philippe Aquanaut has become pursued by watch gatherers – particularly in steel (no curve balls there). That will likely stable unusual in case you’re generally new to the universe of very good quality watches and are acquainted with seeing Aquanauts publicized at twofold retail. All things considered, in light of the manner in which the market is carrying on now, it’s difficult to envision these watches weren’t generally in super hot interest. The fact of the matter is somewhat unique, notwithstanding. Truth be told, the account of the Aquanaut by Patek Philippe is an intriguing one. That is the reason we’ve assembled this inside and out, two-part arrangement on the history of the Aquanaut.

In Part 1, we’ll be discussing the starting points of this assortment, the climate where it was considered and dispatched, and how the plan was affected by the Nautilus. We’ll additionally investigate a portion of the key early models. There’s a great deal to cover however we trust you’ll stay with us. In evident MONOCHROME style, we’ve put forth a valiant effort to be as exhaustive and as exact as could be expected. We are just human however, so on the off chance that we’ve missed something or on the off chance that you have additional data to add to the story, kindly don’t stop for a second to tell us in the comments below.

The Dot-Com Boom

Depending on how old you will be, you may recall an easily overlooked detail called the website blast (later alluded to as the website bubble). Wikipedia depicts it as “a memorable time of inordinate hypothesis essentially in the United States that happened generally from 1994 to 2000, a time of monstrous development in the utilization, and reception of the Internet.” During this excited period, new tycoons were being stamped pretty much every other day. On paper at any rate. Obligation was modest and simple to come by, particularly if your “innovation” company had .com in its name, and hugely over-bought in IPOs were an ordinary event. To such an extent that somewhere in the range of 1995 and 2000, the Nasdaq Composite securities exchange file rose 400%. Such was the guarantee of income sans work that individuals quit their positions by the thousand to become day traders.

Young individuals in particular, who rushed to accept the prospects of this new innovation called the web, unexpectedly got themselves flush with discretionary cashflow. Also, they were quick to spend it. Huge houses, quick vehicles, luxurious occasions, and obviously, extravagance watches. Of course, numerous brands created and dispatched new items during this period. They were intended to speak to a more youthful crowd that had a quite more easygoing way to deal with luxury.

Against this setting, another steel extravagance sports watch from a lofty watch maker made its presentation. Which, in the event that it was just about some other brand, wouldn’t have been that large an arrangement. In any case, it wasn’t only some other brand: it was Patek Philippe. Also, this was the main new extravagance steel sports watch assortment to give forward from the Geneva make in twenty years. What’s more, we as a whole recall what happened the first time.

The Nautilus Junior

Even in the event that you’ve been living under a stone throughout the previous few years you would realize that the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711 has become perhaps the most sought after steel watches on the planet. Our Editor-In-Chief, Frank Geelen, composed an amazing assessment piece on the point a year ago that I recommend perusing in the event that you haven’t as of now. There are various explanations behind this blast in prevalence, the majority of which are not grounded in any feeling of rationale or reason. In any case, this is a world fuelled by feeling and enthusiasm, so no genuine shocks there. The reality remains however that the dispatch of the Nautilus in 1976 is viewed as a vital achievement in the long and celebrated history of Patek Philippe.

Yet, notwithstanding that, twenty years would pass before the company would present another extravagance steel sports watch assortment. For the individuals who know Patek Philippe well, this isn’t unexpected. All things considered, the company works in fine watchmaking. Its advantageous standing is based on complicated mechanical pieces with a customary tasteful and cases made from valuable metals. However, even it isn’t invulnerable to showcase movements and purchaser patterns, in spite of the fact that it might seem to overlook them more often than not (thus the explanation yearly creation volumes of the Nautilus stay consistent notwithstanding unprecedented demand).

Still, any reasonable person would agree that the Nautilus, while a solid merchant for the brand, was not, at this point the problematic power it had once been. Restless and a little defiant during the 1970s, twenty years on it was currently grounded and pined for via prepared authorities. Nothing amiss with that obviously, however Patek required something new to draw in this new generation of watch darlings. A watch that accepted the idea of ‘easygoing extravagance’ that was so stylish at that point, however which actually conveyed the indisputable signs of an extravagance sports watch from the brand.

The arrangement? The Aquanaut. Intensely propelled by the plan of the Nautilus however for certain key contrasts, Patek Philippe made no mysterious that it had explicitly made this watch for another and more youthful lively customer base. Furthermore, it positively appeared to play well with that crowd. Authorities were more earnestly to persuade however. Some applauded the cutting edge style and specialized execution of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut. In any case, many considered it to be such a Nautilus Junior, and not due to its more modest height. It was a decent watch, yet not comparable to the first: it wasn’t planned by the incredible Gérald Genta ; the case development wasn’t as complex; and it didn’t have an incorporated bracelet.

Given that Patek Philippe was attempting to contact another crowd with the Aquanaut, it was presumably viewed as something worth being thankful for that its current customers were somewhat vigilant. All things considered, on the off chance that you simply continue to fulfill things to keep your present clients, there’s a decent possibility you’re not going to pull in the consideration of new ones. That is presumably enough on the foundation of this assortment however. We should investigate the debut model and the significant varieties that would follow.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5060 A

This is the reference that began everything, the Patek Philippe Ref. 5060A. At 35.6mm, it was less than the current Nautilus at that point – the supposed ‘fair size’ Ref. 3800/1A, which estimated 37.5mm. The likenesses between the two plans are quickly clear however. The most outstanding one being the port opening propelled eight-sided bezel at first brought about by unbelievable watch planner Gérald Genta. Moreover, the silk brushed case is straight out of the Nautilus playbook yet with a more contemporary feel. A strong, screw-down caseback and screw-down crown guaranteed a water-opposition rating of 120m.

The unmistakable dial, in any case, was exceptional to the Aquanaut assortment. Offered only in dark on the Ref. 5060A, it included a focal raised guilloché theme. Some have compared its appearance to a square of Swiss chocolate. Current Arabic numerals in white gold were utilized for the hour markers. The hour and moment hands, likewise in white gold, highlighted a glowing covering for simple perusing in low light, as did the moment markers on the fringe part ring. Nowadays we are more than acquainted with this striking stylish however in those days, its unordinary configuration truly stood out.

The other characterizing highlight of the Aquanaut was its elastic tie. A first for Patek Philippe and a fairly intense move for the brand at that point. Being developed for over a year, it was comprised of in excess of 20 materials. Impenetrable to saltwater, UV disintegration and microbes, it was even tried by the US Food and Drug Administration. Given its reasonableness for water sports and simply broad skipping on the sea shore, Patek Philippe initiated its new tie “Tropical”.

Of course, one of the vital attributes of the Nautilus was (and still is) its coordinated arm band, which appears to stream flawlessly from the case. This was unimaginable with the elastic lash on the Aquanaut at that point (albeit the plan has been improved throughout the long term). So all things being equal, the surface on the lash reflects the example on the dial to make a feeling of coherence. An inconspicuous plan component that actually saturates the assortment today. Shutting the tie was a steel collapsing fasten, decorated with the brand’s Calatrava cross emblem.

Inside was oneself winding Caliber 330 SC, a production development with clear seconds hand and date pointer. Estimating simply 3.5mm thick, it was furnished with Patek Philippe’s protected Gyromax balance haggle at 21,600 vph. A 21k gold unidirectional rotor was liable for energizing the spring, which put away sufficient force for 48 hours of utilization. Albeit not obvious underneath the strong caseback, the development was still expertly completed, as validated by the Geneva Seal (the Patek Philippe Seal wasn’t presented until 2009).

Limited Edition?

It is commonly expressed that the underlying Aquanaut was created in a restricted run of 1,000 pieces in both steel (the above depicted Ref. 5060A) and yellow gold (Ref. 5060J). In any case, in my examination, I was unable to locate any solid proof to help this. At the point when I talked with Patek Philippe, they showed that there was no authority communication concerning restricted or unique releases around then. The authority public statement for the Ref. 5060A says, notwithstanding, that “availability of the Aquanaut will be confined by the restricted stock of Patek Philippe’s self-winding movements.” So, it’s conceivable that the creation of the underlying Ref. 5060A maximized at around 1,000 pieces, however it was definitely not a restricted release as such.

The Case of the 5060J Yellow Gold

Besides the reference 5060A, there’s another watch that frequently shows up as an early model, the yellow gold Patek Philippe reference 5060J, a watch that could really be the archetype of the Aquanaut assortment, however not named Aquanaut.

With the Ref. 5060J, things are not satisfactory. There’s no uncertainty this watch exists, however it doesn’t show up on the authority Aquanaut course of events from Patek, nor is there a different official statement for it (and no notice in the main Aquanaut public statement). For a valid justification, it is in fact referenced in the Nautilus course of events, with a date of presentation in 1996, making it an archetype to the steel Aquanaut 5060A – something we previously talked about here, in the  Part. 2 of our History of the Patek Philippe Nautilus .

It bears a striking similarity to the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 3800/1JA with Roman numeral dial from 1996 however is referenced as the reference 5060S. It appears to be that from numerous points of view this watch, reference 5060S, was the antecedent to the Aquanaut and eventually, Patek progressed it into that assortment and changed the reference to 5060J – the reference 5060S isn’t referenced in the Patek Philippe Authorized Biography by Nick Foulkes, yet the 5060J is, with a presentation date in 1996… This 5060S, later 5060J, could well have been kind of a test from Patek to have a Nautilus on cowhide tie, which drove the brand to present another assortment of sports watches dependent on this model, later to be named Aquanaut – this builds up again the connections between the two collections.

Two forms of the 5060J seem to have been made, the more normal being the one with the dark enamel dial (no focal raised guilloché theme), iridescent Roman numeral hour markers and gold leaf-molded hands.

There’s likewise a variant with a silver/white dial yet I’ve found even less data on this one. These models were ordinarily worn on a dark calfskin lash, not elastic. Once more, there is no authority communication from Patek Philippe that these were restricted release models. Creation is thought to have stopped in 2002, so apparently, there’s not very a large number of them gliding around.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5064 A-001

Following the achievement of the Ref. 5060A, Patek Philippe delivered the Ref. 5064 A-001 the following year. Outwardly practically indistinguishable from the Ref. 5060A, it was offered in a more modest 34mm case fueled by the quartz Caliber E 23 SC. There were likewise some unobtrusive updates to the dial, including the size and position of the date window and hour numerals.

Presumably, this was focused at female purchasers, albeit again there’s not a lot of data accessible about the watch or its dispatch. The Ref. 4960 A-010 was likewise dispatched in the exact year, and that was housed in a significantly more modest 29.5mm steel case. It was additionally fueled by a quartz development, the Caliber E 19 S C.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5065

The Ref. 5060 may have been the one that began everything, except apparently it’s the Ref. 5065 A that many watch darlings consider with regards to original Aquanauts. Presented in 1998, tastefully it followed a similar plan signs as the first yet with a couple of key differences.

For a beginning, it was offered in a ‘enormous’ brushed steel case, estimating a more contemporary 38mm. This fit better with the extravagance steel sports watch tasteful and made the hole in size between the Aquanaut and the Nautilus significantly more modest. It additionally highlighted a sapphire caseback, so you could see the pleasantly completed and recently updated Caliber 315 SC inside.

The Ref. 5065/1A-010 variety presented a hardened steel, exceptionally cleaned Aquanaut arm band. This was a piece at chances with the extravagance sports watch tasteful – it was exceptionally sparkling, not at all like the brushed steel arm band on the Nautilus. The watch accompanied a pre-cut elastic tie as well however, so you could switch between the two. After a year, Patek presented a full yellow gold adaptation in the Ref. 5065/1J-001.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5066

In numerous ways, the Ref. 5066 can be considered as the second generation of the first Ref. 5060. It kept a similar 35.6mm case and a similar self-winding Caliber 330 SC however presented a sapphire caseback. It was likewise made accessible in a yellow gold case with elastic lash in the Ref. 5066 J-001.

If you’ve stayed with me this far, at that point ideally you currently discover significantly more about the early versions of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut than you did when you began perusing. Furthermore, on the off chance that you know something that I don’t (or neglected to incorporate), if it’s not too much trouble, add it in the comments underneath. In Part 2, we’ll investigate how and why Patek Philippe completely refreshed the Aquanaut assortment in 2007. Just as profile the critical models in the current collection.


The required update, a timetable of most Aquanaut watches from 1997 to 2017 – distributed by Patek Philippe for the twentieth commemoration of the Aquanaut.


Credits for pictures: Patek Philippe, lunaroyster.com, govbergwatches.com, acollectedman.com, bulangandsons.com, sothebys.com, antiquorum-swiss.com, watchclub.com