The Patek Philippe Aquanaut needs no introduction. Despite being an entry-level sports model, it is one of the most desired and hardest to get watches from the Patek Philippe boutique today. While the current, time-only Ref. 5167A is the Aquanaut that we all know and love, discerning collectors are quietly looking back to the ’90s to buy the original Aquanaut- the 5065A.
Launched in 1997 to attract a younger crowd, the 5065A was priced as an entry-level Patek Philippe made in stainless steel and equipped with a rubber strap. Marketed as a luxury sports watch and as a younger sibling to the Nautilus, it was not exactly loved when it was first released as it was seen as blasphemous to the identity of Patek Philippe. With that being said, any big change always comes with its opposition, and the 5065A being the first-ever Patek to sport a rubber strap, it was no different.
Well, we all know how this story plays out. With an appreciation for sports watches, today the Aquanaut is seen much differently, with the original 5065, in particular, being one of the must-haves for any discerning Patek collector. This is because, with any historically important watch, the genesis is always seen as a reference point and something worth collecting.
The Patek Philippe 5065A is a simple watch, sized at 38mm, it wears much more like a vintage piece than the current version and sports the newly nicknamed ‘grenade’ dial due to its distinct large-sized guilloche at the center of the dial. This motif carries on through to the strap, with its rectangular embossing complementing the overall design identity.
There were two distinct periods for the 5065A, easily denoted by the luminous material used. This example is an early one, which features tritium that has aged well and developed a beautiful yellow patina. Furthermore, while 5065As originally came with jet black dials, this example has faded over time to a very pleasing dark grey. While the black rubber strap is the most classic, this 5065A comes fitted on a sportier grey rubber strap made by Patek Philippe that I think matches the dial perfectly.