Ever since I obtained my Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167a, I have since purchased a Patek Philippe 5146G annual calendar, two Tudor Black Bay 58s, a Lange 1 moonphase, a white Rolex Oyster Perpetual and a black ceramic Rolex Daytona. Looking back and analyzing those purchases like a historian, the first question to ask is why?
Only recently have I received the clairvoyance to know and to answer the question or rather to admit to myself why I purchased those watches. It’s clear that I was searching for an Aquanaut equivalent. Let me first explain why I love the Aquanaut. It is a very thin and ultralight watch that I barely feel on the left. It is a simple but refined 324 SC movement in an exquisitely polished case. The deployant clasp feels so sturdy and unbreakable yet so supple. It’s just such a wearable rubber watch that one cannot imagine life with or without it. It’s that unnoticeable very much like the skin underneath.
All the watches I purchased subsequently in search of haute horlogerie were failed substitutes for wearability. Sure the Lange is a better refined and a more interesting aesthetic and the 5146G definitely boasts a higher complication, but, in the end, despite its simplicity and lack of anything sensational the Aquanaut will remain my number one wearable watch. I fear nothing will beat it, not even if I obtain a Nautilus one day.
I have also since ordered a Vacheron Constantin Overseas, a Czapek Antarctique and an F.P. Journe automatique Lune Havana dial which have not yet been delivered and the jury is still out on those three upcoming events. And I must admit to myself that those purchases were in search of something better than the Aquanaut because we all strive for something better and even towards perfection.
I not only fear that I will not find a better wearable watch than the Aquanaut but I also believe there doesn’t exist an equivalent. The only ones that can even compete are of course the other Aquanaut models either in stainless steel or gold. I suppose if I desire anything equivalent I would have to chase those pieces but they’re just too difficult to obtain for the effort. I will therefore not bother because I already own the quintessential Aquanaut and all others will bode very similarly.
However, there exists one other watch that wears very similar to the Aquanaut and that is the F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu. That watch is a manual wind watch without the date complication. In my humble opinion, that is the only watch that can compete with the Aquanaut and may even surpass its craftsmanship. The double mainspring and the all rose gold mechanism is a sight to wonder more so than the Aquanaut. It is the only comparable watch that I’ve encountered so far. So to all Aquanaut lovers out there who are few and far between, if you are desperately searching for an Aquanaut equivalent purchase a Chronometre Bleu (evil snicker snicker snicker).