Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5060A-001: Review

by Barbara Wilson

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5060A-001 stands as a milestone in the prestigious brand’s history, making waves in the world of luxury timepieces. Released in 1997, it marked the first instance of Patek Philippe embracing a rubber strap in its watch design, a departure from its traditional leather and metal bracelet offerings. This bold move was a testament to the brand’s commitment to innovation and a response to the changing demands of the luxury sports watch market. As we delve into the history, design, and features of this remarkable timepiece, it becomes evident that the Aquanaut 5060A-001 has left an indelible mark on the horological world.


I. The history of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5060A-001

A Leap into Uncharted Waters

In 1997, Patek Philippe took a leap into uncharted waters by introducing the Aquanaut 5060A-001. This was a groundbreaking moment as it was the brand’s first foray into creating a luxury sports watch with a rubber strap. At the time, sports watches were rapidly gaining popularity, and Patek Philippe recognized the need to adapt to changing consumer preferences. The Aquanaut was born out of this vision, combining elegance and functionality like never before.


The decision to incorporate a rubber strap was revolutionary in the world of haute horlogerie. While rubber straps were commonly associated with casual, less prestigious timepieces, Patek Philippe’s move challenged the status quo. The brand’s dedication to crafting the perfect rubber strap, one that exuded luxury and comfort, resulted in a design that seamlessly melded with the Aquanaut’s aesthetic. This audacious decision marked a turning point for Patek Philippe, paving the way for more contemporary and versatile watch designs.


II. The limited edition Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5060A-001

A Collector’s Dream

Just a year after the initial release, Patek Philippe unveiled a limited edition version of the Aquanaut 5060A-001. This special edition was produced in limited quantities, with only the first 1,000 pieces ever made. It quickly became a collector’s dream, cherished for its exclusivity and historical significance. Owning one of these limited-edition models was a testament to a deep appreciation for horological craftsmanship and innovation.


The limited edition status of the Aquanaut 5060A-001 not only elevated its desirability but also underscored its significance in the watch world. The exclusivity of being one of the first 1,000 owners of this timepiece created a sense of belonging to an elite club of horological connoisseurs. The watch became not just a symbol of luxury but also a symbol of one’s discerning taste and appreciation for timekeeping excellence. Collectors scrambled to add this unique piece to their portfolios, driving demand and solidifying its status as a highly coveted item in the world of luxury watches.

III. The Aquanaut 5060A-001-Design, Features

1. Dimensions that Defied the Trend

One of the standout features of the Aquanaut 5060A-001 is its relatively modest dimensions. While other sports watches were growing larger and more ostentatious, this Patek Philippe timepiece measured about 36mm in width, offering a refreshing understated elegance. This design choice allowed it to appeal to a broader range of wearers, from the sports enthusiast to the discerning collector.

In an era when oversized watches were becoming the norm, the Aquanaut’s restraint in size was a deliberate choice by Patek Philippe. The 36mm case diameter, often considered smaller in the context of sports watches, harkened back to a time when watch dimensions were more conservative. This decision was rooted in a commitment to timeless design, ensuring that the Aquanaut 5060A-001 would remain a classic for generations to come. It catered to those who appreciated a watch that could seamlessly transition from a formal setting to an active lifestyle without overpowering the wrist.

2. Distinctive Details of the Aquanaut 5060A-001

The devil is in the details, and the Aquanaut 5060A-001 doesn’t disappoint. It boasts a tritium lume dial, providing excellent visibility in low-light conditions. The closed caseback ensures the watch’s integrity and water resistance, in line with its aquatic theme. Furthermore, the “Nautilus” signed clasp pays homage to Patek Philippe’s iconic Nautilus model, further emphasizing the brand’s commitment to its sports watch lineage.

Tritium, known for its luminescent properties, was a fitting choice for the Aquanaut’s dial. This feature not only enhanced its functionality but also added a captivating glow to the watch in the dark. The closed caseback, often a hallmark of dive watches, added an extra layer of protection, ensuring the Aquanaut’s durability and longevity, even in underwater adventures. The “Nautilus” signed clasp was a nod to the brand’s heritage, creating a connection between the Aquanaut and its legendary predecessor, the Nautilus. This attention to detail showcased Patek Philippe’s dedication to crafting watches that seamlessly blended aesthetics with functionality.

3. Practicality Meets Accessibility

Notably, the Aquanaut 5060A-001 caters to a wide range of watch enthusiasts. Some models in the Aquanaut family feature a practical quartz movement and a reduced 34mm diameter, making it one of the brand’s most accessibly priced timepieces. This accessibility ensured that the Aquanaut was not solely reserved for seasoned collectors but also appealed to those looking to enter the world of haute horlogerie.

The introduction of a quartz movement and a reduced 34mm diameter expanded the Aquanaut’s reach within the luxury watch market. For those seeking the Patek Philippe experience at a more accessible price point, these variations provided an entry point into the brand’s world-renowned craftsmanship. This move was a testament to Patek Philippe’s commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that watch enthusiasts of various budgets could partake in the brand’s legacy. Whether it was a seasoned collector or a first-time buyer, the Aquanaut offered a taste of Patek Philippe’s exceptional quality and design.

4. The Heart of the Aquanaut

Beneath its elegant exterior, the Aquanaut 5060A-001 houses an automatic mechanical movement. This intricate engine uses the motion of the wearer’s wrist to wind the mainspring, keeping the watch ticking with precision. The combination of Swiss craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology results in a timepiece that is not only visually stunning but also a marvel of engineering.

The automatic movement of the Aquanaut 5060A-001 exemplifies Patek Philippe’s commitment to horological excellence. The watch’s heart, the mechanical movement, is a testament to Swiss watchmaking tradition. The meticulous craftsmanship that goes into creating this movement ensures accurate timekeeping and reliability. What sets it apart is its ability to harness the kinetic energy generated by the wearer’s movements to power the watch, eliminating the need for manual winding. This self-sustaining feature not only adds to the watch’s convenience but also showcases the brand’s dedication to innovation and functionality.

IV. The Aquanaut 5060A-001’s similarities and differences to the Nautilus

The Aquanaut 5060A-001 shares a heritage with Patek Philippe’s first highly-successful sports watch, the Nautilus. Both models embrace a sporty aesthetic while maintaining the brand’s signature elegance. However, there are distinct differences between the two, such as the use of rubber straps in the Aquanaut, which was a departure from the metal bracelet of the Nautilus. Each watch has its unique charm and appeal, catering to different tastes within the world of luxury timepieces.

The Aquanaut and the Nautilus are two iconic siblings in Patek Philippe’s sports watch portfolio, each with its own distinctive character. While both models share a commitment to combining sports and luxury, they do so in their unique ways. The Aquanaut’s use of a rubber strap was a bold move that set it apart from the Nautilus and other luxury sports watches. This choice not only added a modern and casual touch to the watch but also enhanced its comfort, making it ideal for active lifestyles. In contrast, the Nautilus boasts a more traditional metal bracelet, which exudes a timeless elegance. This contrast in strap materials showcases Patek Philippe’s versatility in designing sports watches that cater to diverse preferences.


In the world of luxury watchmaking, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5060A-001 is a testament to innovation, adaptability, and timeless design. Its history, from the groundbreaking 1997 release to the limited edition models, showcases Patek Philippe’s commitment to excellence. The Aquanaut’s design, featuring modest dimensions, distinctive details, practicality, and a mechanical heart, make it a standout in the brand’s illustrious lineup. While drawing inspiration from its predecessor, the Nautilus, the Aquanaut carves its own path in the horological landscape. In summary, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5060A-001 is not just a timepiece; it’s a piece of horological history, a symbol of innovation, and a timeless classic for collectors and enthusiasts alike, transcending trends and generations.


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