From May 11th to 12th, 2019, Antigoron will hold important modern and antique timepiece auctions in Geneva. Lot 726 in this auction is a unique Patek Philippe watch-Aquanaut Ref.5060 prototype watch. The dial and movement of this watch are decorated with ‘PROTOTYPE’ (prototype) and ‘LABO’ (lab), respectively, and have a ‘comet’ power reserve indicator function.
The ‘comet’ power reserve indicator at 11 o’clock on the disk is a signature feature of Nautilus Ref. 3710 / 1A. Why is it called a ‘comet’? When the watch is wound, the hands move from narrow to wide; once it is full, if you continue to wind, the entire power reserve indicator sub-dial will rotate, like a shooting star across the sky. This is because the sub-dial is connected to the barrel below. If you continue to operate after full string, the mainspring will no longer be tightened by the rotation of the barrel, but will instead drive the connected sub-dial. After the production of Nautilus Ref. 3710 / 1A was discontinued in 2005, Patek Philippe abandoned this feature.
In 1997, Patek Philippe officially launched the Aquanaut Ref.5060A watch, which has a grid dial and date function, which is more casual and affordable than Nautilus. A year later, the Nautilus Ref. 3710 / 1A was launched. It was equipped with the Calibre 330 movement like the Ref. 5060 prototype. It can be guessed that Patek Philippe produced the Ref.5060 prototype table, but later abandoned this concept after testing and chose NautilusRef.3710 / 1A.
The dial is bright black with hands and hour markers identical to those of Nautilus.
This is a pure prototype table, not a pseudo-prototype. Some watchmaking brands create watches that are exactly the same as the stock models, numbered ‘0’ or ’00’, sold on special occasions, or support charity.
Caliber engraved with ‘LABONo04’
Prototype watches almost always appear at Geneva auctions because they are usually owned by former watchmakers or employees of watchmaking brands. However, Patek Philippe’s prototype watches are not common and there are exceptions, such as Ref. 3412 designed by Gilbert Albert, and Nautilus Ref. 3700 ‘Jumbo’ white dial watch. It is reported that this Patek Philippe Ref.5060 prototype watch was valued at 50,000 to 80,000 Swiss francs before the auction, which is equivalent to about 330,000 to 530,000 yuan. (Photo / text watch home Xu Chaoyang)