‘Plum Dial’ 5065 Patek Philippe Aquanaut

With no hyperbole whatsoever, this is probably the most desirable Aquanaut in the world. It’s a 5065, the first 38mm ‘jumbo’ reference, one of a handful (and that might be too generous) to exist with what is called a ‘Plum’ dial. It may even just be two examples, yet to be determined. This was a part of an extremely exclusive personalization program that Patek Philippe used to offer to their most important, rarified set of clients. Two have made their way into the world through public sales, but that’s it. It is a color not seen in any other Patek Philippe range or even model, which could be described as plum, prune, or merlot. And it is, easily, the most delicious Aquanaut I’ve seen.

Lore holds that this color was ordered as part of a set of four unique and brightly colored Aquanauts for a client in North America. A bright sky blue and this plum red were separated from the set and auctioned at Phillips in June 2020, from the original owner, where they both individually achieved 145K US. Outside of the sole 5060 prototype auctioned in 2019 by Antiquorum, this is the highest result attained for a steel Aquanaut. According to the Phillips lot description it was ‘purchased along with the blue colored version as a romantic gesture during a holiday in the USA with her then boyfriend.’ Wow, right? After that Phillips auction, a different case number, but same plum dial was then auctioned again at Antiquorum in July 2021 where the hammer was 123K US. Was this also part of that set or an order from elsewhere in the world? No one knows for sure but the case numbers were sequential: 4.302.529 and .528


They’ve been hiding away in private collections since, but now one is coming to market for the first time outside of any auction house. This one is about to list at 250K and though that’s not a small amount by anyone’s measure, it’s still 2.25M cheaper than a modern Aquanaut Luce Minute Repeater (which you couldn’t pay me that sum to wear). It’s easy to be cynical with sums this high, but I’m glad these ultra-rare examples exist for us to learn about in posterity, they’re what makes collecting nuanced and wide-reaching. Even if you’ve just learned how to spell Patek Philippe, there need to be these mythical creatures for us to learn of and dream of venturing off to conquer. This Plum Patek certainly is one.

This example is in perfectly sharp condition, case and dial. It comes with an Extract of Archive confirming the dial color and year of production. It’s being offered by a well-regarded Dubai retailer.