From poor relation… to superstar? Cheap replica Patek Philippe’s Aquanaut watches is causing a stir among collectors, investors and auction houses. A closer look at a model that has enjoyed a singular trajectory.
The Aquanaut is said to have originally been created for one of Saudi Arabia’s army corps. Other sources cite the 1997 regime in Libya, with 1,000 of these AAA UK fake watches also dedicated to the army. For some unknown reason, this order was produced by Patek Philippe, yet never delivered. Hence the appearance, between 1996 and 1997, of this batch of 1,000 units with strong military connotations, which nevertheless had to be sold…
This military DNA is reflected in the dial’s domed cut-outs, reminiscent of a grenade casing. Its operational vocation is confirmed by a rubber strap. This was a first for perfect Patek Philippe replica watches, even if Hublot had already been pioneering the idea for almost 20 years.
The 1996 launch year is not insignificant, as it was then that 1:1 Patek Philippe copy watches inaugurated the huge Manufacture that still exists today, bringing together the eight previous Geneva sites under one roof. Philippe Stern, the company President at the time, explains in retrospect that “this greatly increased our reputation and demand duly followed”.
The Patek Philippe Aquanaut replica watches for sale benefited from this effect, as a youthful timepiece, supported by an ultra-modern Manufacture and ideal for attracting a new clientele; notwithstanding the fact that Philippe Stern shares that “we envisioned it as a watch for young people, but they had a hard time acquiring it in the first year, because all the older, well-established collectors immediately swept up what was available, regarding it as the perfect everyday watch.”
The momentum was confirmed by a new name associated with the Manufacture, namely Philippe Stern’s son Thierry Stern who had just joined the family firm in Geneva. He took the helm of the brand in 2009 and has always been a fervent supporter of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut super clone watches online, “a sports watch that can be worn anywhere, and that’s exactly what I like”.
Casting a shadow
The Aquanaut’s early years were nonetheless spent in the shadow of its elder sibling, the Patek Philippe Nautilus replica watches with Swiss movements. While the two admittedly have in common the fact that they were supervised by Gérald Buchs, who joined Patek Philippe in 1969 and became Creative Director in the 1990s, that’s where the comparison ends: the Nautilus (1976) is the work of Gérald Genta, while the Aquanaut (1996) is a pure in-house creation, even though the aesthetic similarities are clearly apparent.
Representing an unusual case within the watch industry, the Aquanaut immediately established its aesthetic codes: a dial and strap with the same textured motif, Arabic numerals, a polished bezel, three central hands and a day-date display at 3 o’clock enlivening almost all interpretations in the initial years. Once again, there is an instant connection with the Nautilus, as the first versions shared almost identical diameters and above all the same movement: Caliber 330 SC – with the last two letters referring to the central seconds hand.
This first-generation Patek Philippe Aquanaut fake watches site bears a simple reference number: 5060. It covers the first two years of its life. As early as 1998, Patek Philippe realized the need to make its Aquanaut more distinctive, to bring it out of the shadow of its predecessor. A new reference, the 5064, was designed for this purpose. It diversified to encompass four diameters (from 29.5mm to 38.8mm) and is equipped with four calibers (two quartz, two mechanical). Patek Philippe also tried out a gold version and even a gold bracelet fitted on the 1999 collections.
Rowing against the fashion tide
This creative approach may come as a surprise, as in the late 1990s, between the Royal Oak Offshore and the new Panerai, the trend was very much for ultra-massive, showy tool best quality replica watches. Oversize was definitely in, yet for its Aquanaut, Patek Philippe decided to go in the exact opposite direction. Diameters were reduced and variations appeared in gold, while others were gemset. This proved a wise choice, according to an informed collector: “Most XXL pieces from the late 1990s have not aged well, while these early Aquanauts are still relevant, elegant and wearable today.”
Patek Philippe didn’t develop the next model until 2004, in the form of three ladies’ variations with gemset bezels. The next step was a new movement: Caliber 324 SC. Introduced in 2008, it represents the second great generation of Aquanaut movements, which it powered for over 15 years. The third generation, still in force, beats mainly to the rhythm of the 26-330 SC.
A bright future
Today, the Aquanaut range comprises 20 different references. That’s equivalent to all the references produced between 1997 and 2017, a sign that Patek Philippe is relying more and more on its Patek Philippe Aquanaut replica watches wholesale. Nevertheless, this timepiece remains subject to an “inbetween”positioning: not quite recent, but not yet truly “vintage”.
Many admit that its current price is indexed to that of the Nautilus, meaning excessively high and disconnected from the market. Within this speculative “bubble”, second-hand models sometimes sell for six times the boutique price. “For this reason, it makes no sense to buy second-hand,” continues this collector. “The Aquanaut has found its own audience, more adventurous than that of the Nautilus. It is gradually becoming a classic and a safe-haven investment, yet not at any price.”