Patek Philippe
Aquanaut | 5066J | Yellow Gold

Cal. 330 SC

Regular price £0 Sale price

Compare at £33,500

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Patek Philippe
Aquanaut | 5066J | Yellow Gold

Cal. 330 SC

Regular price £0 Sale price

Compare at £33,500

The Aquanaut marked the beginning of a new generation of luxury sports watches for Patek Philippe, inspired by the unmistakeable lines of the Nautilus. In 1997, the manufacture introduced the ref. 5060, which was followed a few years later by the ref. 5066, which added an open caseback to the original design. Housed in a yellow gold case with complementary, patinated indices, this paradoxical precious metal sports-watch is all the more intriguing.

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 1997, 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. 5065, which became the largest of the first generation Aquanauts and finally the ref. 5066, integrating an open caseback. The latter is the most faithful to the original Aquanaut design from 1997, whilst also offering the appeal of an open caseback. 

A captivating design

An all-gold Aquanaut is a bit of a paradox. The Aquanaut was originally conceived as a luxury steel watch, yet its design and proportions render wonderfully when executed in yellow gold. An all-gold case with black dial and white date disc emphasises its visual richness and vintage inspiration. Though stainless steel has traditionally been the most popular variant, the vintage aesthetic and enigmatic nature of an early 5066J has recently seen a growing appeal amongst collectors.

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, which is extended over to the brick styled rubber strap, with both of them complementing each other and leaving a harmonious impression.

This early reference also features high contrast indices, hands and date wheel, which help with legibility; proof that the watch was designed with usability in mind. The simplistic style of handset is still used to this day, showing a continuity from the earliest of designs. We also find polished and applied Arabic numerals in complimentary yellow gold, alongside a stark white seconds hand.

Another interesting feature of this example is the tritium lume used on the hour markers, which has developed a warm patina over time. Patek Philippe used tritium between approximately 1998 and 2004, before transitioning to superluminova for their later pieces, between 2004 and 2006. Even if the tritium dials were used for longer, it is believed that Patek Philippe scaled-up production of the reference in the final two years, such that superluminova dials and hands are understood to be more common. Thanks to their tendency to develop patina with age, earlier examples have become particular sought after, displaying some vintage elements which are lost on later pieces.

Usually more susceptible to wear than its stainless steel equivalent, this 5066J is nicely preserved. As we have come to expect from Patek Philippe, the case is excellently finished, with angular, bevelled and polished edges. At 36mm, this watch wears well on a variety of wrist sizes, balancing its vintage and contemporary aesthetics. The 5066J has a noticeable heft to it, serving as a gentle reminder that this watch has been executed in a precious metal. A highlight of the watch is the view into the inner workings of the watch, which is enabled by the addition of a sapphire caseback.

The Movement 

This Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5066J is powered by the self-winding calibre 330 SC. It 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. The yellow gold rotor is on full display thanks to the sapphire back, with Côtes de Genève exquisitely executed throughout the rest of the movement.

The Set

This Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5066J comes with the manufacturer's yellow gold deployant clasp and an uncut, brown tropical rubber strap, complementing the warm hues of the pieces nicely.

If sold within the United Kingdom, this Patek Philippe 5066J will be subject to 20% VAT. Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.


To find out more about the the Patek Philippe Aquanaut, you can read our in-depth article on the topic.

Brand: Patek Philippe
Model: Aquanaut Ref. 5066J
Movement: mechanical, automatic-winding calibre 330 SC
Functions: date, hours, minutes, centre seconds
Features: tritium dial, sapphire caseback, Arabic numerals
Case: 36mm yellow gold
Crystal: sapphire front and back
Bracelet: brown tropical rubber Patek Philippe strap with manufacturers yellow gold clasp
Box & papers:
This Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5066J is in very good condition overall, with only light superficial marks throughout. As seen in the product photography, the underside hallmarks have begun to fade (most notably the lighter Patek Philippe and 750 markings), suggestive of a previous polishing, though the case still retains strong lines and a thick profile, indicating this was carried out to an excellent standard. The tritium indexes have also developed a warm patina over time, as seen on many early Aquanaut references. The watch comes with a two-year warranty from A Collected Man, alongside a lifetime guarantee of authenticity.

All of our pre-owned watches have undergone thorough mechanical inspections, including being ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and resealed if appropriate and tested for at least four days, to ensure they meet our highest timekeeping standards. Our pre-owned and vintage watches, unless stated otherwise, are covered by a full or a limited twenty-four month warranty. For example, due to their age, some vintage watches should not be subjected to the same conditions as when they were new. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further information. 

All of our new watches are covered by the warranty from the original manufacturer. Please contact us for further information.

We offer complimentary worldwide delivery on our watches. If ordering from overseas, delivery will depend on the value of the timepiece and the destination. All import taxes and duties are the responsibility of the buyer.

If ordering from the UK before 1 PM, your watch will be sent the same working day. The courier will depend on the value of the watch, with all watches delivered the next working day.

Please note that pre-owned goods (in the United Kingdom) are subject to a marginal rate of VAT, which can not be reclaimed. For further information, please see here

You can cancel your order without giving any reason, within 14 days from the day the watch has been delivered to you.

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