Patek Philippe: Is the Aquanaut the new Nautilus?

by Barbara

I. History of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut, often hailed as a contemporary icon, emerged in 1997, making it a relatively new addition to the Patek Philippe family. The mastermind behind this striking timepiece was Thierry Stern, the current President of Patek Philippe. While the brand is synonymous with timeless elegance and classic designs, the Aquanaut ventured into a more sporty and adventurous territory. Inspired by the Nautilus, the Aquanaut sought to cater to a younger, more dynamic audience while maintaining the brand’s signature craftsmanship and horological excellence.


The Aquanaut’s design took inspiration from the Nautilus, which itself was an instant success when it was introduced in 1976. Both watches were created to be sporty, water-resistant, and suitable for everyday wear, but with a few distinct differences. Over the years, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut has solidified its place in the luxury sports watch realm, captivating watch enthusiasts worldwide.


II. Notable Variations and Special Editions within the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Collection

The Aquanaut collection boasts a variety of models, each with its unique charm. Notable variations include stainless steel, rose gold, and dual-tone models, providing diverse options to cater to different tastes and preferences. Additionally, the Aquanaut features complications such as moon phases, chronographs, and dual time zones, further enhancing its appeal to horological enthusiasts.


One standout aspect of the Aquanaut collection is the numerous special and limited editions. Patek Philippe releases these exclusive editions sporadically, often paying tribute to particular occasions or commemorating milestones in the brand’s history. These special editions are highly coveted among collectors and enthusiasts, driving demand and admiration for the Aquanaut line.


III. Reviews and Ratings of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Compared to the Nautilus

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut has enjoyed significant acclaim since its inception. Its design, which blends elegance with sportiness, has struck a chord with watch enthusiasts who seek versatility and style in one timepiece. The innovative use of materials and the attention to detail in the construction have earned the Aquanaut high praise from critics and collectors alike.

Regarding ratings, the Aquanaut’s popularity and demand have remained strong, consistently outperforming many other luxury sports watches in the market. While some traditionalists still prefer the timeless allure of the Nautilus, the Aquanaut has managed to create its unique following among those who appreciate a more modern and adventurous design.

IV. Design Differences between the Patek Philippe Aquanaut and Nautilus

While both the Patek Philippe Aquanaut and Nautilus share a common lineage and sporty DNA, they exhibit some design differences that set them apart. The Nautilus boasts a classic, rounded octagonal shape with distinctive horizontal lines on its dial, while the Aquanaut features a rounded octagonal bezel but incorporates a more prominent embossed pattern on the dial, resembling a “tropical” strap design. Additionally, the Aquanaut’s crown guards provide a more robust and rugged appearance compared to the sleeker, integrated crown guards of the Nautilus.

Furthermore, the Aquanaut typically offers a larger case size, catering to the modern trend of larger watches, while the Nautilus maintains a more conservative case diameter. These differences in design elements give each watch its unique personality, allowing potential buyers to select the one that best suits their style and preferences.

V. Similarities between the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Aquanaut

Despite the design disparities, the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Aquanaut share some common characteristics that demonstrate their shared heritage. Both timepieces are water-resistant luxury sports watches, constructed with Patek Philippe’s renowned craftsmanship and attention to detail. The iconic rounded octagonal shape, whether in the Nautilus or Aquanaut, represents a hallmark of Patek Philippe’s sports watches.

Additionally, both collections feature bold, embossed dials that exude a sense of adventure and sportiness. The signature textured “tropical” strap design on the Aquanaut’s dial pays homage to Patek Philippe’s commitment to innovation and creativity.

VI. Key Features and Characteristics of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut embodies a host of essential features and characteristics that have contributed to its success. Some of these key elements include:

1. Modern and Dynamic Design: The Aquanaut’s design departs from Patek Philippe’s traditional elegance, offering a more contemporary and versatile aesthetic that appeals to a younger audience.

2. Water Resistance: True to its name, the Aquanaut is water-resistant, making it suitable for various water-based activities, such as swimming and light snorkeling.

3. Innovative Materials: Patek Philippe incorporates advanced materials into the Aquanaut, providing durability and resilience to withstand the challenges of an active lifestyle.

4. Complications and Special Editions: The Aquanaut collection offers a wide array of complications and limited/special editions that cater to specific preferences and tastes.

5. Haute Horlogerie Craftsmanship: As with all Patek Philippe watches, the Aquanaut exemplifies the brand’s dedication to impeccable craftsmanship and precise movement engineering.

6. Iconic “Tropical” Strap Design: The textured pattern on the dial, reminiscent of a tropical strap, adds a distinctive touch to the Aquanaut’s identity.

VII. Patek Philippe Aquanaut Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. Is the Patek Philippe Aquanaut considered a luxury watch?

Yes, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut is undoubtedly considered a luxury watch. As a product of one of the most prestigious and respected watchmakers globally, the Aquanaut embodies the brand’s commitment to excellence, innovation, and artistry. It exudes elegance and sophistication, while its sporty and robust design allows it to cater to a broader range of watch enthusiasts, including those seeking a luxurious timepiece that can withstand an active lifestyle.

Q2.What is the price range of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut compared to the Nautilus?

The Nautilus has long been a sought-after luxury watch, and its popularity has propelled its prices to unprecedented heights. On the other hand, the Aquanaut’s emergence as a competitor has also led to increased demand and value appreciation. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the price range for a Patek Philippe Nautilus typically started from around $30,000 and could soar up to several hundred thousand dollars for rarer or more complicated models. Comparatively, the Aquanaut often fell within a slightly lower price bracket, with prices starting from around $20,000 and reaching up to $100,000, depending on specific models and features.

Q3. How does the Patek Philippe Aquanaut compare to other luxury sports watches?

When comparing the Patek Philippe Aquanaut to other luxury sports watches, it is evident that it holds its ground as a worthy contender. With its bold design and use of innovative materials, such as the composite “Tropical” strap, the Aquanaut offers a unique and refreshing perspective on the concept of a luxury sports watch. The Nautilus, with its iconic porthole-inspired design, remains a classic and highly sought-after timepiece. Still, the Aquanaut appeals to a broader audience due to its more modern and versatile appearance.

Q4. Are there more information about the inspiration behind the Patek Philippe Aquanaut design?

The inspiration behind the Patek Philippe Aquanaut’s design stems from the spirit of exploration and adventure. The word “Aquanaut” itself is derived from the combination of “Aqua,” representing water, and “naut,” derived from the term “astronaut.” This fusion alludes to the watch’s ability to accompany its wearer through both aquatic and terrestrial environments.

The Aquanaut’s bold and dynamic appearance is the brainchild of the late Gérald Genta, a prominent figure in the watch design world who was also responsible for the creation of the Nautilus. While the Nautilus represents a maritime theme with its porthole-inspired case, the Aquanaut takes a step further into the realm of sports and exploration. Its signature textured dial, reminiscent of the Nautilus’ horizontal lines, evokes images of adventure and the spirit of discovery.


In conclusion, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut has undoubtedly carved its own niche within the luxury sports watch market. While inspired by its predecessor, the Nautilus, the Aquanaut successfully differentiates itself through a more modern and adventurous design language. Its blend of versatility, innovative materials, and a dash of Patek Philippe’s timeless elegance has solidified its status as a sought-after timepiece among watch enthusiasts. Whether it will ever surpass the iconic status of the Nautilus remains to be seen, but the Aquanaut is undoubtedly a worthy contender in its own right, offering an exciting and refreshing alternative to Patek Philippe’s legendary sports watch legacy.


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