Review: Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Reference 5164A (2024)

While the Patek Philippe Aquanaut is often overshadowed by the Nautilus, the luxury watch manufacturer has given its “other watch” a new lease of life with the 5164A model. Now, the Aquanaut has been brought into the highest rank of premium timepieces – as we’ll detail in this review.

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164A was launched in 2011 to great acclaim. It is the first Aquanaut to feature a complication – and an impressive one at that. This casual sport watch also boasts a second timezone function, complete with apertures that indicate whether you’re reading home time or local time. This makes the Aquanaut 5164A the perfect travel companion for those who want to make an impression while keeping accurate time.

Of course, with Patek Philippe, you almost know what to expect. When you buy a Patek Philippe timepiece, it puts you in an exclusive club. After all, this is a brand that literally handmakes watches for royalty. However, this time around, the luxury watchmaker has brought some new design features to the table, all wrapped up in that signature Patek Philippe standard of immense quality.

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Simplicity

With the Aquanaut 5164A, there’s a real emphasis on ease of use. Twin pushes situated opposite the crown allow for forward/backward adjustment of the time zone, which can be amended at any time without risking damage to the mechanism. These controls also showcase Patek Phillipe’s commitment to aesthetic harmony, with curved buttons which conform perfectly to the shape of the case, while providing symmetry against the crown and shoulders situated on the opposite side of the piece.

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Versatility

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164A is nothing if it’s not versatile. The travel-time feature is likely to find daily use in the routines of practically all owners of this model. Whether you travel frequently, converse with those who do, or simply require a means of keeping track of time in relation to world events in a distant time zone, the second hour-hand will come in useful.

In addition to its travel-time versatility, the 5164A is also versatile in the sense that it can be worn for any occasion. It’s arguably the hippest and sleekest Patek model, and is not too staid to be worn outside of strictly formal occasions.

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Beautiful movement

The movement calibrated for travel-time is the calibre 324 S C F_US, which is a variation on the calibre 324 S C found in Patek Philippe Nautilus models. It begs the question why this piece is classed as an Aquanaut and not a Nautilus, given that it features the same sort of high-end quality of Patek Philippe’s signature model, complete with beautifully-finished movements and total accuracy.

The calibre 324 S C F_US features just under 300 parts, boasts 29 jewels and has a power reserve of up to 45 hours. This same power reserve is also found in the non-travel-time movement. One might expect the home and local apertures to take up a marginal amount of power – however, this is an automatic watch which is designed to be worn with pride every day, so a power reserve isn’t a big deal.

The movement must be seen closely via the sapphire case back to truly be admired. Some watch movements appear to be impressive on a first glance, only to look quite ugly under further scrutiny. In the case of the Aquanaut 5164A, the opposite appears to be true. It’s so beautiful in fact, that it accounts for nearly a quarter of the entire value of the watch.

Set the date

Like other Patek Philippe watches, the date indicator on the Aquanaut 5164A is situated at 6 o’clock and is registered to the “home time” setting. This spherical date face features large numbers in a legible font and is easy to read even at a distance. It may seem minimalist in design; but look closer and you’ll realise that the date has a subtle globe theme, in keeping with the idea that this is a watch made for those who like to travel.

Utilitarian case

The case dimensions of the Patek Phillipe Aquanaut 5164A officially measure in at 40.8mm. However, the case shape means that it wears a little bit smaller than this. The shape of the case is rather atypical – not quite circular, and not quite angular – and this makes it incredibly comfortable to wear. With a water resistance of up to 120 metres, the 5164A is a watch built for durability, whatever activity you’re taking part in.

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Attention to detail

The dial on the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164A is black and embossed with gold numerals. Luminescent hour markers help to bring a bit of contrast to the face – and we’re sure as this watch ages, these markers are going to look even more striking.

The bezel on this timepiece features a brushed finish which Aquanaut fans will be familiar with. It works exceedingly well against the black of the dial, making for a smart and contemporary look. This is a watch for those who want to exude importance, seriousness and success, while at the same time suggesting a cool and calm side.

Contemporary strap

Patek Philippe refers to the strap of the Aquanaut 5164A as “tropical”. This could be an allusion to Tropic straps which were commonplace on 1960s dive watches. However, this is not a retro timepiece – instead, it’s timeless. The strap is manufactured from a rubber composite and is incredibly comfortable to wear. While a rubber strap may seem unusual for a watch of this type, it still manages to retain class despite being unorthodox. It also features jeweller-grade detailing which sets it apart. Make no mistake – it’s not leather, but it’s still an incredibly fine piece of artisanal crafting.

The back of the “tropical” strap features 10mm successive notches, which means this watch can be worn comfortably regardless of your wrist size. On the underside, you’ll also find a signature Aquanaut double deploy clasp. It’s functional, and it looks the part too.

Lightweight and comfortable

One of the first things to notice about the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164A is that it is incredibly light. So light, in fact, that you might even forget that you’re wearing it. It’s a joy to wear for all occasions, and the weight is complemented by the incredibly comfortable strap. Clearly, a lot of thought has gone into the shape, weight and feel of this device – as a luxury watch, it’s also a great all-rounder that is reassuringly tactile.

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Pricing

With a retail price of £30,000 back in 2012, the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164A was launched at a slightly lower cost than Nautilus models, but slightly higher than its contemporaries from manufacturers like Audemars Piquet. However, Patek Philippe watches aren’t about the price tag: they’re about a love for quality, and owning something you and your family can enjoy for years to come.

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Summary

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5164A is the ultimate all-season, globe travelling watch for those who want a bit of luxury in their lives. The Geneva-based manufacturer has gone above and beyond to create a perfect relative to its Nautilus line – but make no mistake: this watch is more than an “entry-level” luxury timepiece, and packs a punch all on its own. It’s comfortable, lightweight, durable and timeless in that it manages to appear classic and contemporary all at once.

If anything, the only criticism of this watch is that it’s perhaps a little too understated. Most people would have no idea just how seriously impressive the 5164A is at first glance. However, true connoisseurs who know quality when they see it will recognise the beauty and complexity of this subtle-yet-suave timepiece.

It should come as no surprise that Patek Philippe watches command a high resale value. Those who wish to sell a Patek Philippe can recoup much of the original cost of the piece. After all, with such attention to detail, exquisitely crafted components and aesthetic brilliance, it makes perfect sense. Naturally, the Aquanaut 5164A ticks all these boxes – and more. The fact that it’s a perfect entry point into luxury watches only increases its appeal, as it will be more sought after by those who would like to purchase their first premium timepiece.

Nowadays, an unworn Aquanaut 5164A can command prices of up to £40,000 on the pre-owned market. Models of particular provenance (such as an Aquanaut owned by a person of note) could be worth even more. It’s fair to say that Patek Philippe watches hold their own in the resale stakes, and if you decide to sell a Patek Philippe you can expect to collect a handsome sum for it.

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In short:

• This Patek Philippe watch sits atop of its class.
• It pairs the versatility of a luxury stainless-steel sports watch with a dual-time complication.
• The travel-time feature allows the user to view two separate time zones, complete with a day/night indicator for each.
• The finish on the 5164A is incredibly detailed.
• This is a watch that retains its value.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article, please do give us a thumbs up and leave a comment below.

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Review: Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Reference 5164A (2024)
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