Since the company was established in 1893 Patek Philippe has been producing delicately crafted timepieces. While, they started to expand their offerings to include sports watches only within the last half-century. Almost each piece replica Patek Philippe produced was either an extremely complicated or graceful dress watch until the Nautilus was released in 1974. And the company began to expand its more causal offerings after the Nautilus had proven that there was a demand for a stainless steel luxury spots watch from Patek Philippe.
It was more than twenty years since the Nautilus was debuted and proven to be a success afterwards, Patek Philippe decided to introduce another line of sports watches into their growing collection of timepieces: the Aquanaut in 1997.
The Nautilus was the epitome of a highly luxurious sports watch, with its unique shape and bold 1970s styling. While, the Aquanaut took the basic design language of the Nautilus and gave it a modern and sporty twist, resulting in a noticeable and unique watch that looks more more youthful and casual significantly than any other edition that Patek Philippe had introduced before.
Like the Nautilus, the bezel and dial of the Aquanaut followed the porthole inspired, rounded-octagon design that was first pioneered by prolific watch designer, Gérald Genta during the 1970s. But for bracelet, the Aquanaut had more traditional lugs and used a “tropical” rubber strap which was highly resistant to salt water, sweat, and ultraviolet radiation, rather than an integrated stainless steel bracelet.
Although the fact that Hublot had been equipping with rubber straps for their high-end watches since the early 1980s, the decision to fit the Aquanaut with a rubber bracelet was a bit controversial at that time. Since there were only a few luxury watch manufactures that were using rubber straps on their watches, it was quite unusual for a traditional luxury brand such as cheap Patek Philippe to include such a modern and decidedly casual design element.
The rectangular grid-like pattern that appears on the exterior of the Aquanaut’s signature rubber strap is also engraved into the surface of its dial, with the vertical lines curving outward towards the sides of the case. Except creating a cohesive appearance with the Aquanaut’s “tropical” strap, the grid-like pattern engraved into the dial of the Aquanaut is vaguely made us think of the horizontal list that can be found on the dial of the Nautilus, however it still makes the Aquanaut have a special appearance that belongs to itself totally.
Even if the Aquanaut has a similar whole case shape with the Nautilus, the actual structure of the two watches is remarkably different. Unlike the Nautilus, which uses a hinged design for its case that places two “tabs” or “ears” on either side of it, the case design of the Aquanaut is far more traditional, lacking the Nautilus’s unique hinged structure. Though the 9 o’clock side of the case (on the standard version of the Aquanaut) lacks any sort of protrusions, its screw-down winding crown is protected by large, integrated grown-guards that are identical to the shape of those found on the Nautilus.
Normally, the Aquanaut is a timepiece with most sporty and modern appearance that cheap replica Patek Philippe produces, over the years the collection has been expand to include several different sizes, as well a few models including chronograph and dual-time zone complications. In recent years, the Aquanaut has experienced an obviously increase in popularity because of the crazy demand of the Nautilus. However, the Aquanaut is a watch with its own unique merits, and it’s worthy to complement any serious timepiece collection.
The Nautilus paved the way for the Aquanaut in many aspects, and made a re-defination of the public’s perceptions for a luxury watch from Patek Philippe. The Aquanaut has lots of similars with the Nautilus, both in regard to appearance and function. Nevertheless, it expands upon the Nautilus’s sporty design and takes it one step further successfully, distilling down many of its remarkable design elements to create a minimal take on the classic sumptuousness sports watch, which still remains all of its versatile styling and elegant athleticism. Thus, it’s really a highly coveted timepiece.