Vintage Watch Blog.
Not too long ago, I discovered the discontinued Patek Philippe Neptune Ref. 5080. As a dealer of fine watches and always looking for good quality inventory, the all stainless steel Neptune with a pitch black dial, not only caught my eye but won my heart. I usually focus my efforts on finding great examples of vintage Calatrava's; but there was something about this obscure Patek that I couldn't let go of. It was strange that I had immediately took a liking to this rarely heard of Patek. Especially because, that for the most part, the Neptune was not a successful watch financially and quickly shuffled off the stage by PP. When available in the 90's along with a small line-up of other popular sports watches like the Nautilus, the Neptune was wildly different than Patek's other sports pieces and for good reason. When taking a close look at the marketing strategy surrounding this watch, I believe it was Patek's intention to create a hardy sports watch that may also be worn suited up; wetsuit or a fine Italian wool. That's right, this watch was obviously meant to break the barriers between a sports watch and a dress watch. Something the world was just not ready for, a God (Neptune was the god of freshwater and the sea in Roman religion.) of tool watches that is also suitable for a king.
Just take a look at the bracelet and finish. The steel is finely finished in mostly polished surfaces along with edgy but elegant design elements. There was much attention given to design in fact. The dial, thin automatic movement, bezel and bracelet exhumes wealth while the hardy solid material and screw down protected crown said it's time for some fun. The dial is most appealing with dressy applied Roman numerals combined with luminous material and a seconds chapter ring. Is it a sports watch or a dress watch? Well, honestly I think that was not only what made the watch so special, but also the reason it was unpopular. After all, if you can afford to buy Patek Philippe, you should be able to have a sports watch and a separate dress watch. For the James Bond's of the world that need to throw on a suit and drink a martini just after disarming an underwater explosive device, the Neptune couldn't be more perfect. But then again, how many people are we talking about? Hence it's unpopular reception at the time.
Fast forward to 2017. The Neptune, considered nearly vintage now, is an extremely well rounded watch with much appeal. In today's busy world that takes a more minimalist approach to jewelry, I believe a relaunch would be a huge success.
I would compare this watch to a couple other modern sucessful watches, but, much better in terms of haute horology, pedigree, design and function. When wearing this watch, it reminds me of my first ever luxury watch purchase, the 36mm Rolex Explorer I and the watch I'm wearing right now, the Tudor Black Bay 36. The Neptune has a certain ruggedness to it like these pieces - you'll not be afraid to wear it as a daily wearer. The big difference is that unlike the Explorer or Black Bay, there is no question that the Neptune holds its own at a black tie event, plus it's a Patek Philippe...not a Rolex. As a bonus, the calibre 315 ultra-thin automatic makes it much less top heavy than any other luxury sports watches of the era and also presents larger on the wrist because of the thin profile of the case. It is one of the most comfortable sports watches I've ever worn.
So, by now you know I like this watch. The Neptune was made in several variations and also the ref. 5085 with two additional complications, moonphase and power reserve indicator. The simplicity of the 5080 in stainless with a black dial keeps the Neptune true to its intentions and is certainly the most desired iteration.
This watch is for sale in our inventory. You can check it out by clicking here: Patek Philippe Neptune
Adam J. Dubilo, founder of Adam Vintage
Mailing: 7 E Circle Dr. E. Longmeadow, MA 01028
Phone: +1 413 219 1104
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