History of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut

History Of The Patek Philippe Aquanaut

Renowned as one of the world’s most popular luxury sport watches, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut is a timeless modern timepiece designed for both durability and style. Since its launch in the 1990’s it has ever since been one of the brand’s most popular models thanks to its effortless blending of old and new design elements and its practical nature. Let's take a look at the Aquanaut in detail to see what makes it so special.

The Origin Of The Aquanaut Timepieces

Inspired by the Patek Philippe Nautilus watch, which was the brand’s first ever stainless steel luxury sports watch launched in the 1970’s, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut timepiece was later designed in the late 90’s. The company introduced a model known as the 5060S, which had a porthole case reminiscent of the Nautilus, and featured Roman numerals on its dial along with a chic leather strap. This timepiece seemed to be a dressier version of the Nautilus 3800, but originally it was available only with a gold case. 

Later in the following year, the brand then released the 5060A, which was an incredibly similar version only it featured a more practical stainless steel case and a robust rubber strap. During this time, Patek Philippe advertised the 5060 models as a part of the Nautilus collection, but have since been understood to have been early Aquanaut models. The Patek Philippe brand itself credits the invention of the Aquanaut to a request made by a valued yet mysterious client who wanted a rugged yet attractive wristwatch that would be gifted to top-ranking military officers. The identity of this client remains unknown to this day, as does the nation in which the watch was gifted to top members of the military.

The Rise Of The Aquanaut Collection: Military Inspired Timepieces

The military inspiration behind the Aquanaut is evident through the watch’s checkerboard ‘Tropical’ rubber strap which is reminiscent of tyre treads, giving it the sense of being ready for action. The rubber is made with composite materials which are incredibly durable and resistant to saltwater and UV radiation, which makes it a practical choice for serving military officers. 

The texture of the strap is carried through to the Aquanaut's checkerboard dial, which appears to have been inspired by the texture of a grenade. This further emphasises the watch's rugged, modern and militaristic appearance. However, the soft-edged octagonal porthole design allows the watch to maintain an elegant nod to tradition and it is this blend of modernity and tradition that makes the Aquanaut as timeless as it is.

In the late 90s, there was a huge push in the industry towards bigger and flashier luxury watches, which Patek Philippe Aquanaut watches evidently rebelled against. The original Aquanauts had a small 36mm diameter and an understated, discreet appearance which made them more practical than dressy. It is this pared-back, modern design, which when it was originally launched in the late 90s, appealed greatly to younger watch enthusiasts. Today, the Aquanaut remains a sporty, youthful-looking watch that retains its practical aesthetic, even when embellished with steel straps or diamond bezels.

What Makes Patek Philippe Watches So Special?

Renowned for their high quality and advanced technology, Patek Philippe watches have been at the forefront of innovative watch designs since 1839. Today the company has developed more than 160 watch designs along with 40 various in-house movements, which have certainly made a statement in the watch industry across the years. However, despite this level of prolific innovation, there are only very limited numbers of brand new Patek Philippe watches for sale each year. The rarity of the brand's timepieces factors into their desirability among watch enthusiasts.

The Aquanaut collection holds some of the most sought-after pre-owned Patek Philippe watches, as the earliest models of the range only grow in value year on year if they are maintained in good condition. You can expect to buy Patek Philippe Aquanaut watches for as much as £180,000 or more depending on the model. However, it is possible to get your hands on an Aquanaut for significantly less than this (around the £20,000 mark) if you're less concerned with rarity.

Choosing The Watch Model Of Your Dreams

If you’re looking for a classic Patek Philippe Aquanaut, opt for a reference 5065 in which you won’t be disappointed. The 5065A-001 features an increased diameter of 38mm and an updated 315 SC self-winding calibre. The black rubber strap and black grenade textured dial is original, timeless, and destined to complement any outfit in your wardrobe.

Inside the 5065A are 29 jewels, a shock absorber mechanism, and a self-compensating flat balance spring. Furthermore, the stainless steel case is resistant to water up to 120m. This watch is designed for action, so be sure to wear it every day, not just for those special occasions. However, its elegant casing does make it smart enough for dressier occasions if you're a fan of understated accessories. If you’re looking for luxury pre-owned watches, then look no further than our popular watch brands and collections here at Watch Centre and find the watch of your dreams today with the help of our watch specialists.

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