To the best of our knowledge the present lot is fresh to the market.
Christie’s is extremely honoured to unveil the incredible new discovery of an entirely unique white gold Aquanaut with ruby-set dial which has remained unknown, undocumented and undiscovered in a private collection for 23 years.
This astonishing watch, is one of the most significant Patek Philippe discoveries of recent times, unique in every aspect, it is the only example of the Aquanaut model made in white gold known to exist at all from the entire first 20 years of production, as such, it is of incalculable significance. Studying the unique details of this hitherto hidden treasure, leave the viewer in awe - it has a unique reference number – 5063; a unique movement caliber for an Aquanaut; and a unique ruby-set dial of amazingly intricate construction. One of the ultimate rarities of Patek Philippe’s modern production, the appearance of the present watch in this auction gives serious Patek Philippe collectors and connoisseurs the perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire the rarest, best looking and most important individual specimen of the Aquanaut ever made.
Study of the Unique Aquanaut Reference 5063
An analysis of this Aquanaut with the unique reference 5063 requires it to be put in context with the wider development of the model. The Extract from the Archives shows that it was made in 1997 – in the early period of Aquanaut production. The Aquanaut was launched in 1996, firstly with the reference 5060, made in stainless steel or yellow gold (from 1997-2002) with a solid back. It was quickly superseded by the reference 5066 in 1997 which was essentially the same as the 5060 but with transparent display back. Both models were powered by the caliber 330 194 movement. A pink gold limited edition of the 5060 with a white dial was made for the Asian market in 1998, only three of which are known publicly. Between 1996 and 1997 a special gold version with guilloche bezel was produced in limited numbers and given the reference 5061J.
It is therefore fascinating that the present watch was made during these early years as a unique piece in white gold with white gold deployant clasp, ruby-set dial with its own reference number, yet remained completely unknown. It is the singular example of the Aquanaut known to have been made with a white gold case in 20 years of production until the launch of the 20th anniversary reference 5168G in 2017, billed as ‘the first white gold Aquanaut’. The present watch is almost certain to have been specially made as a luxury one-off, perhaps even as a special order, for one of Patek Philippe’s most loyal and important clients.
Unique among Aquanaut dials, the eye is immediately drawn to the grid of 12 perfectly matched invisibly set baguette rubies at the centre, their form designed to blend seamlessly to the Aquanaut dial pattern. The oversized white gold numerals with outer luminous indexes provide perfect balance. Another individual feature is the signature placed on the crystal rather than the dial.
Unique as a movement for an Aquanaut, the present watch is fitted with the in-house ultra-thin caliber 335 SC as opposed to the caliber 330 194 used in other Aquanauts. The 335 SC (SC for ‘Seconde Centrale) with 29 jewels and a gold rotor, it was most famously used for the Nautilus reference 3800 until 1992. Confirmed by the extract from the Archives, the caliber 335 SC movement is another completely individual aspect of this remarkable Aquanaut.