The Story of the Aquanaut
With the Nautilus having famously been penned by Gérald Genta, Patek Philippe decided to produce their own take on the luxury steel sports watch, designed entirely in-house. In 1996, they delivered the 5060A, which is widely considered as the first Aquanaut to have been introduced, integrating the signature elements that have endured to this very day: a stainless steel case, the recognisable checkerboard dial and a rubber strap.
These design elements were geared towards something much sportier and more contemporary than the manufacturer was then known for at the time. Though unconfirmed, rumour suggests that the model was first commissioned by high level military personnel, hence the utilitarian design and dial pattern reminiscent of a grenade. Ever since its introduction, the Aquanaut has acted as a sort of modern canvas for experimentation, giving the manufacturer the ability to deviate from their otherwise reserved and classical offering.
A year after the model was first released, Patek Philippe introduced three more references, further developing their offering: The ref. 5064, with a practical quartz movement, the ref. 5066, integrating an open caseback, and finally, the ref. 5065, which became the largest of the first generation Aquanauts. Specifically, the 5065 offered a larger version of the original design, upscaling the case from 36mm to 38mm, hence why it has come to be known as the “Jumbo” Aquanaut.
This example, the ref. 5065/1A-010, is a variant of the 5065A, launched shortly after the initial limited references, featuring an updated 315 SC calibre and an increased 38mm case diameter (up from 36mm). The ref. 5065A “Jumbo” also uses a sapphire display case-back, replacing the solid steel seen in earlier versions.
The Aquanaut re-interprets a number of signature design elements from the Nautilus - most notably, the octagonal rounded bezel. It displays a high level of finishing, with brushed surfaces on the case front, and polished, bevelled edges. The steel, three-piece case provides water resistance up to 120m, further featuring a screw-down crown.
With a texture reminiscent of a hand grenade, this military-inspired dial stands apart from the manufacturer’s more traditional designs. Each accurately bevelled brick gives a satisfying depth and definition to the otherwise pared-back colour scheme. This texture is extended over to the brick style metal bracelet, with both of them complementing each other and creating a general sense of coherence.
The black checkerboard dial has tritium-filled index markers and is embossed with silver applied numerals, and matches the texture on the rubber strap. This example, as a ref "-010", is fitted with Patek's stainless steel Aquanaut highly-polished bracelet, a faceted design that is in part functional, and part jewellery.
The movement inside the reference 5065A is the self-winding calibre 315 SC, first used in 1984. It can be viewed through the sapphire caseback, and features 29 jewels, a straight-line lever escapement, shock absorber mechanism, a self-compensating flat balance spring and a monometallic balance, adjusted to cold, heat, isochronism and 5 positions. Furthermore, the solid-gold rotor is finished in classic Patek Philippe style, with circular Geneva stripes.
This Aquanaut Ref. 5065A-001 comes with its original outer and inner box, in addition to several booklets detailing the movement, distributors, the Aquanaut, and a pamphlet with some of Patek Philippe's other offerings. The watch is also accompanied by a Certificate of Origin in addition to an extra steel link.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5065A-001 will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.