The 1990s saw the arrival of smart-casual and business-casual clothing in the workplace. The Patek Philippe Aquanaut—which drew inspiration from the smaller ref. 3800 Nautilus—was launched in 1997 as the quintessential watch for this era: it was suitable for diving and other sporty activities but could be worn equally well in the boardroom.
The Aquanaut bears a striking resemblance to the Nautilus with its porthole-inspired octagonal bezel and with alternating satin-brushed and polished finishes. Nevertheless, it has a uniquely sporty look thanks to the rubber strap and the matching embossed dial. The very first Aquanaut, the ref. 5060 was introduced in 1997. Its successor, the 5065 ‘Jumbo’ with its 38 mm sized stainless steel case followed just one year later in 1998.
This ref. 5065 from 2005 is one of a set of four special order Aquanauts with colorful dials. This piece features the ‘plum’ color dial and bracelet with a lovely reddish-purple tone. Only a handful of this variation are known to exist, all with serial numbers that are extremely close to one another. One known plum specimen was auctioned by Phillips in 2020 and another one by Antiquorum in 2021. Furthermore, a blue variant has been auctioned by Phillips as well and John Mayer is known to possess a green version.
This piece features the Aquanaut’s well known embossed dial executed in a lovely plum color with painted Super Luminova hour markers, as well as 18k white gold applied Arabic indices. The ref. 5065 features a date window on the edge of the dial at the 3 o’clock position and a straight end rubber strap (here in the same unique plum color as the dial). On later references, the date window was moved to the left, sacrificing the number ‘3’ index, and a curved rubber strap that hugs the case was introduced. But we love the ref. 5065 especially because of these no-nonsense prototype details.
This ultra-rare grail piece is in amazing condition and comes with an Extract of the Patek Philippe archives.