THE FIRST AQUANAUT
When it was first released in 1996, the Aquanaut was a paradoxical watch; not only was it made out steel, but its utilitarian, rubber strap seemed far-flung from Patek Philippe's classical style. Its checkerboard dial, and its interplay with the texture of the strap, was also unlike anything the manufacture had produced before, building on the contrarian foundation established by the Nautilus.
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 only grown in appeal. This Aquanaut Travel Time 5164A represents the bounds in complication development the manufacturer has achieved over the last twenty years, in addition to the continued success and appeal of the contemporary Aquanaut series.
The reference 5164A
This example, the ref. 5164A-001, was launched in 2011, as the first Aquanaut to house a complication. It features a secondary time zone function, displayed through the hollow hour hand, and in the form of two apertures at three and nine o’clock. These are used to differentiate the night and day for both the home and the local time, respectively. On top of this, the date function in the form of a sub-dial is placed at six o’clock, which is linked to the local time.
The watch has a number of additional, highly utilitarian functions. When not travelling, the second time zone hand sits underneath the main hour hand - a clever feature, making the design aesthetically clean and highly legible. It also utilises highly-practical pushers on the left side of the case, used to set the GMT hour hand independently from the main hand.
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.
The black checkerboard dial has luminous-filled index markers and is embossed with silver applied numerals, and matches the texture on the rubber strap. The luminous material is superluminova, following the end of Patek Philippe using tritium on their dials. The centre portion of the date function at six o’clock is embossed with a globe pattern, giving further indication the 5164A was conceived with travel in mind.
The movement inside the Aquanaut Travel Time is the self-winding calibre 324 S C FUS. The 324 SC was first introduced in the early 2000s, as a marked improvement on the 315, and additionally features a travel-time module for the 5164A. The calibre beats at 28,800 A/h for improved accuracy, with a larger solid-gold rotor for increased power-generation - finished in classic Patek Philippe style, with circular Geneva stripes. The power-reserve is 45 hours.
This Patek Philippe 5164A-001 Aquanaut Time Time is accompanied by its original inner and outer boxes, Certificate of Origin (stamped and completed) and Travel Time manual, along with its Patek Philippe Register and Collector's Library booklets.
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