3 Alternatives to the Patek Philippe Aquanaut

Article By: Logan Hannen

Oct 23, 2018

What is up, watchfam?! Today, we’re going to dive into 3 alternatives to the Patek Philippe Aquanaut!

First, some criteria – so these alternatives are, generally, more affordable than your base level Aquanaut 5167A-001 new (at around the $20k mark). The alternatives must also be mechanical, for our purposes, and must come stock on a rubber strap as an option (there is a variant of the 5176, the 5167/1A, that comes on a steel bracelet, but that model hasn’t assumed the icon status as the rubber strap version, so we won’t be going there). Beyond that, at least a majority of the design cues from the Aquanaut must be present (arabic dial, preferably with a texture of some kind, as well as a date window at 3 o’clock), but with some added character of its own. Some degree of water resistance would also be useful, as the 5167 comes with a screw-down crown and 120m of water resistance. With all that out of the way, let’s get into the picks.

1: Fortis Spacematic Limited Edition

Fortis Spacematic Limited Edition ref. 623.10.41 Si.01
Source: Amazon

This particular Fortis Spacematic is perhaps one of the most unique options for an Aquanaut alternative I’ve come across. In many senses, it’s nothing like the piece I’m claiming in emulates. The lugs aren’t integrated into the case, which is entirely brushed rather than featuring mixed finishes, and there’s no interesting texture to the dial. At the same time, it features 100m of water resistance, a black rubber strap that features ends curved to trace the flank of the case, making the transition from strap to metal seamless, as well as some large and luminous Arabic numerals. It comes with a tried and true ETA 2836-2 (the day and date variant of the 2824) under the hood, and generally just carries a sense of sporty casualness that the Aquanaut has perfected in its segment. At a price of about $750 when they do crop up, it’s also infinitely more affordable, so that’s always a plus.

2: Monta Triumph

Monta Triumph
Source: Monta Watches

Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that this is indisputably my pick of the bunch. The Monta Triumph is the second release from the brand Monta, a brand founded by the owners and operators of popular aftermarket Rolex rubber strap providers, Everest. The pieces they produce, to me, feel like what many of Rolex’s most famous designs (the Submariner, the GMT, the Explorer 1) would look like if they were invented today, all of which don’t feel like straight copies and indeed have a very specific visual identity. It’s interesting, then, that the piece I most gravitate towards, the Triumph, reminds me more of a Patek Philippe than the Rolex that undoubtedly inspired it. Much of this comes from the impressive finishing, with all of the edges beautifully chamfered, but the peak of this connection comes in the piece’s thickness…or should I say “thinness?” At just 9.6mm thick, the Monta Triumph nearly rivals the Aquanaut, which boasts a svelte 8.5mm thickness. While the Monta is 38mm in diameter compared to the Patek’s 40, it’s still a perfect example of refined sportiness, and one I’d happily wear any day. You can pick up a Monta straight from the website for around $1,400.

3: Breguet Marine (ref. 5817ST925V8)

Breguet Marine Big Date
Source: Breguet

The reason that this piece made the list is ultimately very simple – it offers the same kind of panache of having an ultra-luxury watchmaker produce a sports watch on a rubber strap as the Aquanaut does…for about half the price, depending on where you shop. Sure, the Marine Big Date isn’t as thin as the Patek. Sure, its case is entirely polished as opposed to being finished in a variety of styles. And sure, it lacks the Arabic numerals, which are a pretty defining trait of the Aquanaut. But in spite of all of that, the Breguet more than holds its own. The 39mm case is also 100m water resistant with a screw-down crown, and 12mm thick. Breguet is also one impressive manufacturer, a brand that I’ve proclaimed my love for ad nauseum, and the Marine line is derived from brand namesake Abraham Louis Breguet’s role as chronometer maker for the French Navy. All of that together, plus being a visually stunning piece, all amounts to a pretty impressive package…all for $10-15k. Is that a minimal amount of money? Absolutely not, but when compared to the Aquanaut, it’s a pretty hefty savings if you’re looking for something with the same vibe.

That does it for my picks, geeks!! Don’t forget to chime in with any Aquanaut alternatives you might have that I may have missed and, as always, keep it classy, watchfam.