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, 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 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 the 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 "Transitional" Reference
Introduced in 2007, marking the tenth anniversary of the Aquanaut, the ref. 5165 is something of a transitional model. It combines the more restrained 38mm size of the earlier "Jumbo" 5065 with a more modern case, strap and dial design. The reference only appeared in the catalogue for about five years, making it one of the more limited Aquanaut models produced. It was also only ever made in stainless steel, which further sets it apart.
The ref. 5165 - and its larger sibling the ref. 5167 - took the original Aquanaut design and updated it for modern times. With a texture reminiscent of a hand grenade, this military-inspired dial stands apart from the manufacturer’s more traditional designs. On the dial, the deep grooves found on previous references are gone, replaced with a shallower dial design, with slightly more curved lines to match the added roundness of the case.
With finely polished edges and a flat, brushed bezel that frames the dial, well executed finishing is found throughout the case. At 38mm, this watch wears well on a variety of wrist sizes, combining vintage proportions with modern aesthetics. This distinctive texture of the dial is extended over to the “tropical" rubber strap, with both of them complementing each other and creating a general sense of coherence.
The movement inside the reference 5165A is the self-winding calibre 324 SC, introduced in the early 2000s as a marked improvement on their calibre 315. 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 5165A comes with a Patek Philippe outer box, wooden inner box, Certificate of Origin (stamped Boodles, Chester), leather wallet and product literature.
To find out more about the reference 5165, you can read our Collector's Guide on the Patek Philippe Aquanaut.