The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time is a watch that combines elegance, simplicity, and practicality.
Sitting in the catalog with the other Patek collections, the Aquanaut is an ultra-sporty watch that stood out considerably. With a steel finish and a rubber strap, it was a decidedly more casual approach from the Genevan powerhouse. Add in a complication and the usually traditional Patek was competing against the big league when it comes to sports watches.
Here’s our review of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time ref 5164.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time: A Background
While Rolex is king when it comes to luxury watches amongst the regular public, Patek Philippe gained fame designing wristwatches for royalty. That esteemed position continued on to modern times where only the most seasoned watch collectors follow Patek very closely.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time ref 5164A with ref 4960
During the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, Patek Philippe saw the opportunity to grow their fan base. New millionaires were being made in droves and with all this increase in potential disposable income, Patek Philippe designed a steel sports watch to appeal to a younger audience – the Aquanaut.
Its first model was the ref 5060A released in 1997. With its stainless steel finish, block dial, and for the very first time, a rubber strap, it was designed for the modern watch collector. It was the first luxury, steel sports watch that the Patek brand had released in over two decades since the iconic Nautilus (introduced in 1976).
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time ref 5164A (photo: Patek Philippe)
Fifteen years after, in 2012, Patek released the Aquanaut Travel Time ref 5164A. The sporty look, combined with a cleverly displayed complication, really made the Aquanaut all its own. Wait lists grew exponentially with the desire to own a Patek sports watch.
Aquanaut Travel Time 5164/A
The first Patek Philippe Aquanaut released with a complication was ref 5164A in steel, introduced in 2011. The desire for dual-time watches is pretty high and Patek made it simple while honoring the casual luxury they started with the Aquanaut line.
Designed for those who travel or do business frequently with those in other time zones, the Aquanaut Travel Time is a fixture in the wearer’s daily tasks. It’s a Patek design that is supposed to be worn outside of those formal occasions and blend into the everyday world.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Rose Gold 5164R
In 2016, Patek released an 18k rose gold edition of the Aquanaut Travel Time ref 5164R. Both of these case styles remain in the Patek catalog, even if the waitlist to get your hands on one is long.
Dial and Case
The dial of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Ref 5164 is an embossed black, much like earlier references with white gold Arabic numerals. Outside the numerals is a stark white minute track that stands out nicely against the black background. The embossed pattern of the dial ties directly in with the pattern of the bracelet.
The case itself is made from stainless steel, which means that it’s durable enough to withstand daily wear but light enough not to weigh down your wrist when you’re wearing it throughout the day. The combination of polished and satin-brushed finish is seen on the case, which is slightly rounded into a more octagonal shape rather than a round or square.
This case with a screw-down crown is water resistant for up to 120 meters. There’s no reason you can’t wear this eye-catching timepiece in the pool or on your beach vacation.
Despite its size, the 40.8mm case is shaped in a way that it sits smaller on most wrists. The shape and strap make it wear very comfortably.
Dual Time Zone
What makes the 5164A so coveted is the dual time zone complication and the clever way it is arranged on the dial. Apart from the central hour, minute, and seconds hands, there is a fourth hand and two apertures on the dial that indicate whether you are reading local or home time.
The hands are is easily differentiated with the starker hour and minute hands indicating your local time, and the skeletal hour hand underneath to indicate the home time.
You’ll find two apertures, one between 3 and 4 o’clock and the other between 8 and 9 o’clock that indicate day and night at each time zone with white meaning day and dark blue for night.
When you’re home, the hands can lay on top of each other, maintaining the simplicity of the dial face. With a single glance, you’ll can determine if it’s a good time to call home or if you should wait a few hours to diminish angry feelings from a 3 am wake up call.
A 6 o’clock there’s a tasteful dial that will show the current date at your local time.
Pushers and Date Corrector
It’s easy to change the local time by one-hour intervals with the pushers located on the left-hand side of the case. Unlike other more complicated dual time watches that use crown positions to set the new time zone, Patek designed for the upper pusher to advance the local hour hand forward an hour with one push, and the lower pusher backs it up an hour with a single push.
The pushers only advance the local time hand. The skeletal home hour hand remains unchanged when using the left-hand pushers. When traveling it’s as easy as using the lower pusher when heading west and the upper pusher when heading east.
Simplicity is key and Patek made sure to design this watch perfectly for its target audience. Much like the simple way to adjust the hour when traveling, it’s just as easy to change the date. A small button was included at 4 o’clock on the case band to correct the date.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time ref 5164A (photo: Patek Philippe)
This stunning timepiece is powered by the automatic movement calibre 324 S C FUS. This includes all the added features of the dual time complication indicating two time zones, the day and night indicators for both local and home time, and the local date.
You can see, through the case back, the 213 components and 29 jewels that ensure absolute minimal friction. The watch beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and has a 45-hour power reserve.
Patek calls this particular strap “Tropical”. It’s made from a supple, composite rubber in a black similar to that of the embossed dial. As stated before, the embossed pattern of the dial and the embossed pattern of the strap are complimentary, finishing the design of the watch seamlessly. This design feature creates a sense of continuity and easily makes up for the lack of an integrated bracelet.
First developed for the ref 5060A, the strap is made from 20 different materials. It’s impervious to salt water, bacteria, and UV damage. It’s no wonder they call it “Tropical” when it’s definitely designed for fun in the sun and the water.
On the underside of the strap, you’ll find the Aquanaut double deployant clasp in steel marked distinctly with the brand’s Calatrava cross emblem. This trigger released clasp is not only convenient, but secure. You can’t accidentally trigger it, decreasing any falls when you’re putting it on or taking it off.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time ref 5164: Final Thoughts
The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Ref 5164 is an excellent watch that will not only look great on your wrist, but also help you keep track of time while traveling. The strap ties the sporty-elegant aesthetic together, while providing comfortable wear for hours.
With the Aquanaut Travel Time’s ingenious design and robust craftsmanship, Patek Philippe proves once more that they’re the ultimate investment. Find the perfect Patek Philippe watch for your wrist at SwissWatchExpo.com.