Patek Philippe Aquanaut: 5 Things to Know

As the most prestigious watch brand in the world, Patek Philippe is renowned for its timeless heritage pieces and sophisticated complications. In 1997, Patek presented its young and modern side with the first ever sports watch designed by the brand itself – the Aquanaut.

Two decades on, the casually elegant Aquanaut has affirmed its cult status. Not one to rest on their laurels, the brand continues to explore bold new interpretations for the line, reaffirming Patek Philippe’s ability to innovate. Let’s take a closer look at the Patek Philippe Aquanaut’s evolution.


Aquanaut 5167
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Midsize Automatic Steel Watch Watch 5066


1. The Patek Philippe Aquanaut was created to embrace the brand’s sporty side and appeal to a younger audience.

Patek Philippe’s first foray into sports watches took place with the Nautilus. Created by renowned watch designer Gerald Genta in 1974, the Nautilus took inspiration from the shape of a porthole and was meant to embody the sailing lifestyle.

On the final decade of the 20th century, in the midst of the dot com boom, Patek Philippe decided to create their very own sports watch suited for the new millennium. With a shape inspired by the Nautilus, the Aquanaut appealed to a younger audience by choosing steel over gold and rubber over leather.


Three generations of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut: 5060, 5065 and 5167


2. The ref 5060A defined the design of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut line.

The Aquanaut was officially introduced in 1997; but a transitional model was in fact released the year before. With the reference 5060S, Patek gave a peek of the eventual design of the Aquanaut but one that’s also distinct in other ways. It featured the Aquanaut’s porthole style case without the “ears” – but it also came in a gold case with a smooth Roman numeral dial and a leather strap. This reference was Patek’s first attempt at reinventing the Nautilus design.


Aquanaut 5065
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5060A (photo: Phillips)


In 1997, Patek introduced what is widely considered as the beginnings of the Aquanaut. The 5060A – A for “acier” or French for steel – established the features that we see on the Aquanaut today. It came in a porthole-style steel case, a checkerboard dial and the “Tropical” rubber strap.

This was the first instance of a Patek with a rubber strap; and the brand’s meticulousness was evident. Made from a blend of components, the Tropical was advertised to be resistant to saltwater, UV rays, and bacteria. It was also embossed to match the checkerboard pattern on the dial.

Over the next few years, the Aquanaut would be enriched with several variations including a yellow gold case and a steel bracelet.



Aquanaut 5167
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Extra Large Steel Mens Watch 5167A


3. The Aquanaut was updated for its 10th anniversary.

For the 10th anniversary of the Aquanaut in 2007, the design was given a fresh look. The most sizable changes took place on the dial and bracelet.

On the dial, the deep grooves are replaced by more shallow but curved lines that follow the roundness of the case. The 3 o’clock hour marker is also removed to give way to the date aperture, giving the dial better symmetry.


Aquanaut 5167
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Steel Mens Watch 5164A


The legendary Tropical strap moved from the bar lugs to an integrated-style bracelet reminiscent of the Nautilus. The pattern also took on a more curved design similar to the dial, the sides became flat for a more comfortable wear and the clasp was made more resistant with a double mechanism.

Following prevailing tastes, the yellow gold model was also swapped for a rose gold version, which was paired with a brown dial and strap.



Aquanaut Rose Gold
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Rose Gold Mens Watch 5164R


4. It received its first complication in 2011 – the Travel Time.

In 2011, the time-and-date Aquanaut was given its first complication, with the birth of the ref 5164A Travel Time. In addition to the minute and hour hands, a hidden skeletonized hand was provided to display a second time zone. To ease the read, two windows were added where one can determine the local and home time with a color change. The date was moved south, using a subdial in place of the aperture.



Patek Philippe Aquanaut in Khaki Green 5168G, Research Aquanaut Travel Time 5650G, Aquanaut Chronograph 5968A


5. Patek Philippe added more unconventional features on its second decade.

From the 2010s, the Aquanaut has become Patek Philippe’s venue for experimenting with more contemporary designs. Notable examples include the exuberant colors of the Patek Philippe Chronograph with orange details (5968A) and the khaki green 5168G. There is also the Advanced Research Travel Time 5650G, where aside from a white gold case and a blue dial and strap, we see a skeletonized mechanism for setting the second time zone.



With a balance of elegantly casual styles, and young, dynamic designs, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut has become the very embodiment of the luxury sports watch. Explore our collection of Patek Philippe Aquanaut watches at






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