Y’all heard of the Aquanaut?
I kid. Of course you have! Or maybe you haven’t because cheap replica watches are new to you – in that case, welcome! I recently got to spend some time, a “week” if you will, with a stunning example of Patek Philippe’s entry-level watch.
A quick and dirty history before we get to the good stuff: my opinions. The AAA US fake Patek Philippe Aquanaut watches dove onto the scene in 1997 with the 5060A (A is for Acier which is French for steel, click the video to hear my simply unimpeachable pronunciation). Designed to fill a hole in the Patek Philippe line and reach a newly rich audience of collectors thanks to the ’90s dot com boom (shout outs and RIP to pets dot com) the Aquanaut was the more casual and less expensive answer to the Nautilus.
This hip young thing featured clear echoes of Gérald Genta’s design but brought a sportier aesthetic to the proceedings with a composite rubber strap, slightly smaller size, and “grenade” dial. I could continue but in the interest of my time and yours, I’ll send you to this incredibly well-researched and smartly written deep dive by James E. Stacey. Some masterpieces are meant to be reinterpreted, others are simply meant to be shared.
So why shoot this video at all if this watch is well-trodden territory on Hodinkee and elsewhere? Well, I was feeling a little goofy and wild and figured I’d use this high quality replica watches to talk about something that interests me and, I hope, in turn, will interest you. This AWOTW isn’t about alllllll Aquanauts ever, it’s about one Aquanaut from 2001 in one particular collecting category: neo-vintage.
It’s a strange alchemy, defining neo-vintage. There’s no agreed-upon start date – the early ’90s generally, and Modern begins – um – later. Neo-vintage is a mix of pedigree, attributes, and timing. Enter “my” Aquanaut 5065A, here to help and put a finer point on this somewhat vague category. Born at the turn of the century this watch’s birthday and ubiquitous-ness are coupled with a few features that are no longer found on modern Aquanauts and are prized by the vintage luxury copy watches collecting community. And since she is, to use an era-appropriate reference, not a girl not yet a woman, she couples easy serviceability along with those vintage features.
A Week On The Wrist
Not to brag but I have tried on an Aquanaut before. But this was my first time really wearing it, and if you watch even five seconds of the video you will observe that I completely forgot how to act. Aquanauts in general feel special but this one put a little extra pep in my step because it felt like yeah, I’m wearing fancy Swiss made replica watches, but there are some details that make it extra special. This watch invites a closer look.
The tritium lume is the biggest and most obvious neo-vintage plus. Found on the dial and hands it has aged to buttery perfection and stands out nicely against the dial which is more deeply grooved than in modern iterations of the perfect fake watches (tritium was only used until about 2004). Sure it hits the “if you know you know” secret handshake aspect of watch collecting, but if anyone were to sit with the watch for a few seconds I bet they’d be able to appreciate the colors and textures. This Aquanaut almost lulls you into a meditative state with the crevices on the dial that then extends to the strap. I think, if this Swiss movements super clone watches didn’t come with the composite strap I would be utterly frustrated with my inability to experience the tactile sensation that the dial calls out for. But luckily it does, so the sapphire case remained intact and free of my curious fingers.
Let’s talk about that green strap for a minute. While not OEM, the khaki green composite is another desirable rarity for collectors, and the straps have developed something of a cult following themselves. But what I appreciate about this particular green is that while bold in your hands it becomes almost neutral on the wrist. The green didn’t stand out nearly as much as I thought it would on me or any of the other folks who tried it on that day. In fact, all five of us on set tried it on, looked great, sighed deeply and fell madly in love – real Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants magic at play here.
All of that surprisingly luscious rubber is paired with the stainless steel case in a study of contrasts and a carrying-on of design lineage. A notable feature of this top replica Patek Philippe Aquanaut watches is the exhibition caseback which was an improvement from the closed casebacks of the previous generations, allowing those holding it in their hot little hands to view the caliber 315 SC working away.
Fun fact this was actually the first “Jumbo” Aquanaut, up from 36mm to 38mm (which by today’s standards is hilariously small for something called Jumbo – the current model, by comparison, is 42mm). It’s 8mm thick so sits nicely on the wrist and the shape and tapering of the strap helps it feel well-balanced. How fun to own a piece of a Patek history, especially one that puts the changing tastes in wholesale fake watches sizes in such sharp relief.