The Patek Philippe Aquanaut needs no introduction. Launched in 1997 to attract a younger crowd, it 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 and it was seen as blasphemous to the identity of Patek Philippe. Fast forward to today and it is one of the hottest offerings from the manufacture.
I am sure all of you would know by now, that perhaps after the Nautilus, the Aquanaut is the hardest model to buy at retail with crazy waitlists. It is no secret that you have to buy many pieces from Patek before that will even let you onto the waitlist. The example you see here today is somewhat of an anomaly, a transitional model of sorts. The Ref. 5165A was released in 2007 together with the more famous 5167A as a celebration of the Aquanaut’s 10 year anniversary. The only difference is that the 5165A was more modestly sized at 38mm. While the 5167A is still in production today, they only made the 5165A for a few years, making it a very rare reference.
I can’t deny that it is a fantastic watch on the wrist. While I love the 5167, as someone with smaller wrists, I do think that proportionately the 5165A sits better on my wrist. You get everything the same from its sibling, including the classic world-class Patek case finishing with a satin-brushed bezel and sides and polished edges. The gradient grey dial similarly has an embossed checkerboard pattern and lume filled Arabic numeral and markers, making it extremely legible. The integrated rubber strap follows the dials pattern and looks very well together.
Powering this watch is the in-house self-winding calibre 324 S C, which is also found on the 5167A. It has a 21k solid gold central rotor and excellent finishing throughout. This Aquanaut 5167A has a power reserve of 45 hours.
While everyone wants the 5167A at the moment, as I’ve mentioned many times, anomalies within brands are what make collectors go crazy and I do think that the 5165A, with its low production numbers, make the cut as a truly collectible Patek.