Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G

The Ultimate Aquanaut: The Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut has had an interesting journey. Since its introduction, it has gone from a misunderstood—or even blasphemous— iteration on the well-regarded Nautilus, to a highly desirable and distinct watch in its own right. With the Aquanaut, Patek Philippe illustrated that “luxury” and “casual” are not diametrically opposed, and of all the Aquanaut models, I believe the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G takes that ideology to the extreme. This is the exceptionally rare, never serially produced, white gold, diamond-encrusted reference 5167/300G. It’s a watch that has never gotten mainstream coverage and one that most collectors don’t even know exists. This ultra-luxurious, super rare, yet totally capable sports watch is the ultimate Aquanaut.

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G

History 

In 1997 in the middle of the dot com boom, the first Aquanaut was introduced as a luxury sports watch for the younger generation. The reference 5066A took some of the Nautilus’s best elements—like the octagonal bezel, steel case, and durability—and applied them to a more modern and approachable timepiece. This was not your Dad’s Patek Philippe sports watch. The watch stood out due to its rubber strap and sporty design, making it appealing for the young Silicon Valley crowd who would more likely show up to work in pajamas than a suit. Over the years, the Aquanaut has become increasingly popular and now commands a hefty premium on the second-hand market.

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G

Based on the entry-level 5167, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G is anything but. This baguette diamond-covered reference is very limited and was initially made available in the middle east exclusively in white or rose gold. It’s exceptionally rare, and doesn’t show up in any Patek Philippe catalogs. It’s likely that less than ten exist, and it appears the timepiece is only available for Patek’s best customers. It doesn’t get much more exclusive than this. 

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G

Design Details

Measuring 40mm in diameter by 8.1mm thick, the case of the watch is made of 18k white gold and is set with a whopping 101 baguette diamonds. If you’re not looking at a sapphire crystal, you’re looking at a diamond and not just any diamonds; these are some of the most exquisite diamonds available. Patek only utilizes diamonds in the top tiers of color, internal flawlessness, and cut. Additionally, all of the gems are handset without adhesive illustrating Patek’s dedication to their craft.

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G

But don’t let the ice and gold fool you. This watch still has all the classic Aquanaut traits we know and love. The grenade-like raised guilloché pattern at the center of the dial, the bold Arabic numerals, and legible hands, and of course its tropical rubber strap are all present and accounted for. Even with the dazzling diamonds, the classic Aquanaut case shape is still recognizable from across the room. Despite the precious metal and diamonds, the watch still retains its sportiness with its durable rubber strap and 120m water-resistant case; it’s pretty much up for anything. However, if I strapped this on my wrist, the most adventure I would hope to see would be getting pushed in the pool at a wedding. 

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G
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Inner Workings

Under all the glitz and glamour beats the in-house caliber 324 SC. This self-winding time and date movement has a 45-hour power reserve and includes some of Patek Philippe’s advanced research components, including a four-spoke Gyromax balance wheel and a Spiromax balance. These advanced features utilize Silinvar, a proprietary mix of silicon made by Patek Philippe that is substantially harder and more corrosion resistant than steel. It is also exceptionally smooth and doesn’t require lubricant, making it more efficient and reliable. Overall, these advanced research features in the 324 SC make it a highly durable and accurate movement. This Aquanaut is as reliable and precise as it is luxurious. 

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G

Versus The Competition

The rarity of this watch is hard to compete with, but its luxury sport spirit puts it in the most competitive spot in the market currently. Here are some alternatives to consider if you’re looking for an ultra-luxurious sports watch. 

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G

First up is this Rolex Yacht-Master 126655. Like the Aquanaut, the Yacht-Master also lives in the shadow of a famous older brother, the Submariner. However, unlike the Aquanaut, which was conceived to be more casual than the Nautilus, the Yacht-Master has always been a more luxurious version of the Sub. This model is especially so. With its 18k rose gold case and diamond pave dial, there’s no mistaking it for a standard sports watch. While the diamonds are a bit more subtle on the Yach-Master than the Aquanaut, its rose gold case definitely draws the eye, so I would say it’s equally as flashy. Its Oyster-Flex bracelet—Despite looking like a rubber strap—is an expertly engineered marvel of durability and comfort. It certainly gets the upper hand compared to the Aquanauts tropical strap. However, this watch is a standard production piece and not nearly as precious as the Patek. 

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G

Next is this 37mm Audemars Piguet Royal Oak reference 15451. Its case and bracelet are made of stainless steel, just like the original Royal Oak, but this watch’s bezel is set with 40 brilliant-cut diamonds. If you’re looking for something a bit more toned down from the Aquanaut, this is the watch. Plus, what you give up in flash and rarity, you gain in provenance. The Aquanaut was modeled after the Nautilus, but the Royal is totally original. In fact, the Aquanaut is following in the footsteps that were first taken by the Royal Oak. Without the Gerald Genta designed Royal Oak carving the path for luxury sports watches, the Nautilus and the Aquanaut may not exist. 

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G

Personality

This is one of if not the most exclusive and luxurious take on the 5167 Aquanaut. It takes what is seen as a base-level reference and elevates it to the highest level of connoisseurship and collectibility. This watch is for the collector who’s already had every other Aquanaut variant and thought they’d seen it all. They hadn’t. 

Patek-Philippe-Aquanaut-5167_300G
Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167/300G

Final Thoughts

The Aquanaut has really come into its own as one of the best available sports luxury watches on the market, and it certainly doesn’t live in its big brother’s shadow anymore. This watch feels like a celebration of that with its luxurious elements cranked up to 11 and all its sportiness firmly intact. It has taken the concept of a luxury sports watch to new heights. 

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