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​What Makes the Patek Philippe 5980 Watch Unique?

24th Jul 2020

Sometimes referred to as “the Rolls Royce of watches,” Patek Philippe is recognized for producing some of the finest and most exquisitely crafted luxury watches in the world. Within its lineup of stunning time-tellers is the famed Patek Phillipe Nautilus Chronograph 5980/1R. This is one of the most coveted and well-respected watches among connoisseurs, costing collectors a minimum of $65,000 (though usually significantly more). And yet, aesthetically, it’s one of the most understated wristwatches worn by enthusiasts. Why so much hype—and so much cash—for such a seemingly unremarkable, relatively unadorned accessory? The truth is that the Patek Philippe 5980 is actually very special. Here’s why.

Patek Philippe 5980 Watch 

But First, a Brief History of the Nautilus 5980 …

Steeped in history, the 5980 takes cues from the original super-luxury steel sports watches from the 1970s, primarily the avant-garde Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. This groundbreaking design was the creation of legendary Swiss watch designer Gérald Genta and was revered for its oversized look and luxury design. It was one of the first high-end watches to be made of steel, which was until then considered a decidedly “un-luxury” material. Four years later, Genta designed the Nautilus (3700) for Patek in the Royal Oak style.

For the next three decades, Patek would release various Nautilus references, and many would earn their place among the watchmaker’s most desirable chronometers. In 2006, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original Genta-designed Nautilus, Patek released the Nautilus Chronograph 5980 with a full revamp. The new version featured rounder, more modern curves and a self-winding flyback chronograph movement. It was Patek’s first in-house self-winding chronograph.

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This is a stunning timepiece that brings a classic—arguably conservative—vibe, earning it a reputation as a timeless gentleman’s watch. Not bold nor flashy, the 5980 looks best when worn with a suit. True to style, it clocks in a bit thinner than other Nautiluses—it has a 40.5-millimeter case diameter and is 12.16 millimeters thick—which makes it especially desirable for wear beneath suit sleeves and dress shirts. With that said, it’s still an inherently sporty timepiece and even offers water resistance up to 120 meters.

Why It’s So Special

The most significant discerning factor of this watch is the fact that it houses the Patek Philippe caliber CH 28-520 C FUS, making it a chronograph watch. This caliber was significant in horology for its automatic winding mechanism and cutting-edge design. This complication alone makes the 5980 stand apart since it was Patek’s first-ever self-winding chronograph developed in-house. The chronograph element plays to the Nautilus’ expressly sporty vibe and joins a date display to make it a perfectly suitable daily driver if desired.

Patek Philippe 5980 Watch 

To the untrained eye, the 5980 might look somewhat uninteresting—but that’s part of its appeal. Compared to other Nautiluses in the same family—including the ultra-coveted 5711/1A, which has a chunkier 43 millimeter case—this model is slimmer, offering more of a classic suit watch feel, but with a bit of a sporty edge. It features the Nautilus’ signature horizontally grooved dial and is available in a few different options, including a rose gold edition (5980/1R-001) and a two-toned steel and rose gold (5980/1AR-001) edition.

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There’s no denying that investing in a Patek Philippe watch of any reference is a smart move, especially if you stick to the ever-popular, trend-defying Nautilus. The 5980 is a perfect choice for the first-time or seasoned collector and offers a classic style emblematic of Patek as a whole. Luxury of Watches has an excellent assortment of authentic new Patek Philippe watches so you can find the perfect chronometer to be the crown jewel in your collection.