Patek Philippe Aquanaut


Re: Does anyone have any info on the Patek Philippe Aquanaut….

Posted by Jack Freedman on February 26, 1998 at 11:13:58: In Reply to: Does anyone have any info on the Patek Philippe Aquanaut….. posted by Hermann Tse on February 26, 1998 at 4:12:14:


I heard that the PP Aquanaut has been discontinued and PP will be disclosing a new larger Aquanaut at Basel but for much more money. Does anyone have any info on this watch? : Thanks : Hermann Tse

Here is a previous review posted by Michael Friedberg, July 23, 1997, on TimeZone followed by my own comments: The New Patek Aquanaut –Fairest of them All? Patek
Philippe has just introduced a true sports watch, and what a watch it is. Styling is classic (something like an IWC Mark XII in a rounded slightly ellipse-shaped case). Price is the lowest in the Patek line. Water resistance is the highest in the Patek line. Patek calls the model the Aquanaut. The watch is a strap model with stainless case. Black dial (with slight pattern) with plain white Arabic numerals at all positions, white markers for minutes on the dial edge. Plain white hands for hours, minutes and seconds. A date
aperture at 3 o’clock. The shape is a slightly rounded octagonal, with a thick stainless bezel. Like a modified Nautilus. The hands and hour markers appear to be Tritium. All in all, the style appears to be like a classic Military style sports watch but with a little Patek-like styling “oomph”. The watch is rated as water resistant for 12 ATM –about 360 ft. if I’ve converted correctly. The band appears unusual –like a rubber Hubot-style strap with a deployant small stainless fastener with the Calatrava cross on it. There is a sporty, “brickwork” type pattern on the strap –I can’t tell what is the material, but it’s made to be especially water resistant. Movement is the in-house made Patek 330SC,
essentially a 315 movement with the date moved in slightly, necessitating 4 extra parts. Automatic, gyromax balance and 21,600 bph. 21 carat rotor.

Price in Italy is 8,900,000 Lira, which is about $5200 USD at today’s exchange rate. My guess is that the US retail list will be about $5750 (guessing by comparing other Italian Patek prices to US Patek prices for the same models). Model Number is Ref. 5060 A –and when it’ll be available in the US is anybody’s guess!

My comments:

While the Aquanaut is not to be construed as a mass-market product, its first series limited production of 1000 pieces has already made this model a best seller. A friend of mine recently called about 10 stores desperate to add this Patek timepiece to his watch collection. He saw one in a well-known watch store window and went in to inquire only to be told by the salesperson that it’s there for show and order taking as there is a long waiting list. With a stroke of luck he found one at a smaller shop and is now a proud owner of one of the most hottest watches today. He could probably sell it pre-owned at a handsome profit. What makes this watch a hot item? The Aquanaut opened the door to a new, more youthful, clientele who either have not learned about the brand or cannot afford the rest of the Patek collection. It also responds to the desires of those who want the traditional Patek Philippe quality but in a true sports watch. The trend with other high-end companies has been to introduce sports watches, too. Blancpain, like Patek, hitherto making very thin dress watches (read MECHANICAL only – Since 1735 there has never been a quartz Blancpain watch and there never will be), released its sports collection – the 2100 series – with a new thicker movement and heavier case. IWC put out its massive Fliegerchrono which can stand the strenuous pressures of a sports watch and has also in the past year released their GST collection. The Aquanaut has excellent value when one considers that it is an evolution of the brand’s Nautilus model and shares the same high-quality automatic calendar movement, calibre 330 SC. While this sports model has been a departure from their otherwise conservative dress watches, I believe the good success and revenues it brings the company may prompt further models which are more robust and less expensive in cost. I don’t think Patek will ever dip below U.S. $5000 as doing so would break a certain psychological price barrier with connoisseurs.

The appropriate sports watch I envision for Patek would contain a heavier (thicker) movement with, perhaps, the reintroduction of a discontinued older automatic system found in earlier Patek watches, either the caliber 12-600 AT or calibre 27-460 which are somewhat similar in idea to the automatic unit assembly used by IWC with their calibre C8541. Incidentally, I don’t know the situation at Patek but watch companies in general, alarmed by the quartz revolution in the 1970’s, disposed of their tooling and ebauches of their finest most reliable mechanical movements. They saw the coffin open and waiting and in despair tossed out the entire inventory along with their original blueprints. Whatever was missed in their initial hurry, and mistakenly left over, was further discarded when company directors decided that the THIN dress watch was to become a permanent fixture in the watch industry.

With a renewed interest in sports watches, it would be technically smart to outfit those watch models with robust dependable shockproof movements. Perhaps, watch executives should take a cue from Rolex who continue to rely on such a described movement which can take a beating and go on ticking proudly. A thicker movement (if Patek still has left their older calibres) can be assembled much faster and a new series of another generation of Aquanauts could be produced in larger numbers. In order to spread the costs of reintroducing an earlier calibre (since PP does not sell movements to other watch companies) they should launch a small series of different style sports watches each of which would use the same robust calibre movement.

Entering this new segment of the market, Patek would realize great potential to a yet untapped market worldwide. Sports watches with fresh creative styling could be the golden key.

Just my 2 cents.

Jack Freedman,