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, integrating the signature elements that have endured to this very day.
The first ever Aquanaut reference - the 5060.
Following in the footsteps of the trail blazing Nautilus, the Aquanaut made big waves in its own right with its paradoxical rubber straps and stainless-steel body. With its combination of textures and sleek profile, the watch appealed to a younger crowd in search of a casual, yet luxurious, look.
Its 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 only grown in appeal, with these early pieces reminding us of where it all began.
The Tenth Anniversary Releases
The reference 5165 and 5167 were introduced in 2007 at Baselworld, marking the tenth anniversary of the Aquanaut. The 5165 used the 38mm case size of the earlier "Jumbo" 5065, whilst the 5167 introduced the Aquanauts largest case yet, with a 40mm sizing. Both references took the original Aquanaut design and updated it for modern times. The 5167A-001 remains in the manufacture's collection today, proving this modern interpretation has stood the test of time, amongst vintage and contemporary watch enthusiasts alike.
Although the Aquanaut may be closely related to the Nautilus, it makes many of Gerald Genta’s famous design features its own. The octagonal rounded bezel is one of these features, which gives the traditional rounded square more of an edge. The dial of the Aquanaut is also given a different dimension, with a checkerboard design that provides visual depth.
Where the previous iterations of the Aquanaut had deeper scoring on their checkerboard dial, this ref. 5167 has a shallower design overall, with slightly more curved lines to match the added roundness of the case. The index-markers are luminova-filled and the dial is embossed with silver applied numerals, matching the texture on the rubber strap.
Additionally, the date window on the dial is placed at the 3 o’clock aperture, superseding the 3 o’clock hour marker completely, allowing the date window to slide slightly more into the centre of the dial, providing space for a luminous marker on the chapter ring.
The recognisable strap - also known as a “tropical” strap - is made of composite rubber that was first advertised as being resistant to ultraviolet deterioration, saltwater, and bacteria. This strap was given a slight upgrade for the ref. 5167, as it now fits to the curvature of the watch, giving the impression that the dial texture extends seamlessly into the strap.
The movement inside the reference 5167A is the self-winding calibre 324 SC, introduced in the early 2000s as a marked improvement on their calibre 315. This particular piece bears the Geneva Seal, a mark of excellence given only to watches with the highest quality by the city of Geneva, and which was first established in 1886.
The calibre now beats at 28,800 A/h for improved accuracy and the solid-gold rotor is larger for increased power-generation, finished in classic Patek Philippe style, with circular Geneva stripes. The power-reserve is circa 45 hours.
This Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A comes with its Patek Philippe outer box, wooden inner box, Certificate of Origin (labeled Bo Berggren, Stockholm) and leather wallet, which includes the manual, Bo Berggren boutique business card, Patek Philippe Museum brochure, Patek Philippe distributors list and promotional pamphlet.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.