Mechanical self-winding Caliber 324 S C FUS movement
Rose Gold or Steel
Brown or Black
Scratch‑resistant sapphire crystal
< 120 metres
Applied lume (Rose Gold model)
£30,500 - 45,000
Patek Philippe, the luxury Swiss brand headquartered in Geneva was established in 1839 by the Polish nobleman Antoine Norbert de Patek. Patek Philippe watches are world-famous for their tradition, exclusivity and record prices. In the list of the most expensive watches ever manufactured in the world, Patek Philippe timepieces fill the top 20 spaces. It is no surprise that the Aquanaut range was released, deemed a little more affordable for the luxury watch enthusiast.
Launched in 1997, not long after Nautilus marked its 20th anniversary, it is not hard to see that the famous shape of the Nautilus inspired the Aquanaut Travel Time model; with its famous rounded octagonal case. Patek positioned the price of the Aquanaut just a bit lower than the Nautilus, offering a cheaper alternative for the fans of the latter – a decided move to make it more attractive to the younger audience. It has a “tropical” designed strap made of a new, solid composite material with very high durability (resistant even to saltwater and UV damage).
The Aquanaut is available in two models, the 5164R (Rose Gold) and the 5164A (Steel), both have a three-part case with a sapphire glass back and a screw-down crown, whilst the front dial tells the time in two time zones. It is something that is not new but the method utilised, however, is spectacular. The watch’s comfortability on the wrist is unparalleled. The Aquanaut Travel Time 5164 is a solid rubber strapped tool watch, and an incredible companion while travelling the world for business or on an adventure. It has a noteworthy wrist demeanour yet feels ruggedly elegant on the wrist. It is the second “sports” watch from Patek Philippe.
The dial on the Aquanaut 5164R comes in a tender embossed brown colour and embossed black for the 5164A steel model. The dial colours seemingly change slightly in the light, adding extra uniqueness to the watch. At the centre of the dial is a captivating geosphere design, which is applied more boldly again at the six o’clock sub-dial. The dial shows local and home day/night indicator apertures located at nine o’clock and three o’clock, respectively. Notice the two-hour hands: one is skeletonised showing the home time, and the other is pointing out the local time.
Both models have white minute indices, whilst the Aquanaut Travel Time 5164R Rose Gold model makes use of gold hour Arabic numerals, permeated with a moderate amount of Super-Luminova lume. The skeletonised hand is illuminated, while the white gold hour and minute hands are two sharp swords suffused with glowing lume vividly pointing out the strength of its readability and sense of sport. A sharp needle indicates the seconds, while a smooth sub-dial pointer handles the date sign. The Aquanaut 5164 is slightly crowded but is still somewhat simple in its appearance. It all adds up to an exceptionally readable dial with energy.
If you are travelling across a time zone or two, upon landing, place your eyes onto the hour hand and push the top or bottom left side pusher. The hour hand will jump an hour back or ahead — showing a faintly skeletonised additional hour hand that does not move from your home time – straightforward yet outstanding. The now visible home time hand is a little bit below the hour hand so that the dial does not fall into disarray when not you are not travelling.
Both the rose gold and steel models of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time 5164 have a case dimension of 40.8mm diameters and 10.8mm thickness. The Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164 goes a different route with the presentation of the unusual language of sports watch design; in being enclosed with stroked case sides and smooth lug-tops. It has a straight and accurate horizontal brushing on the side of the case side. The steel model is quite impressive with a razor-sharp polished bevel on the bezel.
The smooth and tightly-secured screw-in crown with the equally twisted around logo features a recessed button to correct the date—pointed out through the six o’clock sub-dial. On the left-hand side, there is an appealing difference between the smooth and rounded pushers used to manage the time zone function. The timepiece’s case back is secured by sapphire crystal.
The watch is powered by the 324 S C FUS automatic calibre movement. The finishing is as accurate in this 294 part, 29 jewel calibre, which somehow copes with being beyond expectations. The water resistance is 120 meters, and its power reserve runs 45 hours. Côtes de Genève, anglage and wonderfully recessed blued screws are a beautiful sight to the eyes. And while the 324 seems solely traditional, it has modern components. Patek Philippe’s in-house Gyromax balance and Spiromax balance spring are made use to make this escapement very capable and solid.
The first thing that strikes the wearer is the comfort of this Patek. It measures an almost-perfect 40.8mm across. It weighs less than 100 grams. Given the movement, it is still less than 11mm in height. Being very detailed and uniquely comfortable says a lot about this tough sports timepiece.
The signature of the Aquanaut Travel Time 5164 is the famous “tropical” bracelet, made of high-tech composite materials. It is not only comfortable to wear but also very durable, resistant to ultraviolet radiation, salt water, wind and rain. This model is a perfect leisure watch! The Aquanaut 5164 is waterproof to a depth of 120 meters and has established itself to be a universal watch that can even be worn for the casual swim whilst out on the yacht.
The dark-brown composite rubber strap is charmingly supple and available on the rose gold model. The steel model comes with a black composite variant. Once reduced to the desired length, it is simple to slip on and off the wrist. This strap is no doubt one of the best rubber straps you can wear on the wrist. It is engraved with an akin stocky geometric design (similar to the dial) and semi cut on the back to enhance convenience and airflow. The clasp is well made as a spring-loaded release offers a sense of quality and authenticity.
The Patek Philippe range is priced for the non-price conscious individual who is excited by the luxury appeal of the brand. Although the Aquanaut range is priced a little less than say the Patek Philippe Nautilus, it still garners a hefty amount. The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time 5164A (Steel) starts at around £30,000 ($39,800 or €33,500) although a second-hand model is likely to be less.
The fantastic reflection of the light on the rose gold or steel case really elaborates the premium look and feel of the Aquanaut 5164. Pricey as it may be, we feel Patek captures the gold standard of luxury timepieces and the Aquanaut does this justice. Although the dial may be somewhat crowded, the simplicity and flow of the dial hands lends to the authenticity and quality on offer. A thumbs up from us.
Exhibiting case back
In-house Gyromax balance and Spiromax balance spring.