Photos by Ed Rhee and Jake Witkin

Apparently, early-aughts fashion is back. The glossy magazines, trendy blogs, and Gen Z-ers tell me so. If some of you are too young or too old to remember, lucky you. I, on the other hand, am at the perfect age to have fallen victim to velour tracksuits, flashy tops, silly accessories, and denim everything. There was one particular moment that encapsulates that kooky time in fashion — when Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake stepped out together wearing matching denim outfits; it was spectacular (if you haven’t seen the image, Google it for giggles). It immediately popped back into my head when I saw that Patek Philippe had slapped some denim-inspired straps on at least two of its new models at Watches & Wonders 2024. Patek Philippe watches are now wearing jeans?! Wow, that’s a move that doesn’t compute in my head and smells a little like a midlife crisis to me. We went hands-on with the Patek Philippe Nautilus Flyback Chronograph Reference 5980/60G-001 watch to find out if this new wardrobe is “fetch” or fail.

It was only a few months ago that Patek Philippe discontinued all the remaining Nautilus 5980 watches (in rose gold and two-tone rose gold and steel) in its catalog, effectively dropping the entire reference. However, the brand has now revived the fan-favorite Nautilus Flyback Chronograph, this time in white gold. The wearing experience and dimensions are, of course, the same as previous versions, which is to say 40.5mm from 10 to 4 o’clock, 12.2mm thick, and 51.4mm lug-to-lug. As you can see from the photos of the Nautilus on Ed’s 6.6-inch wrist, it’s not a compact timepiece by any means; it wears like a broad but supremely comfortable sports watch. It’s wide because of the signature “ears” of the porthole-shaped case but it lies fairly flat and the chronograph pushers stay out of the way thanks to their angled placement.

Advertising Message

This is a Patek product, so execution and quality are, as expected, excellent. Nautilus cases are known for their lovely mix of finishes; for instance, the tops of the octagonal bezel, lugs, and case ears are brushed, whereas the bezel slopes, chronograph pushers, and case-to-strap links are polished. While you can get lost in inspecting the case from all angles to spot the various finishes and beveled edges, it’s how they come together that gives the Nautilus its distinct charm.

The opaline blue-gray dial was a big color for Patek at the fair, appearing on four out of the 11 watches it released. It’s an appealing color in person, complementing the white gold case, applied baton hour markers, and rounded baton hands beautifully. The customary horizontal grooves are present, as is the mono-counter at 6 o’clock that cleverly combines concentric scales for the 60-minute and 12-hour counters. Again, if we zoom in on the details, we spot the snailing of the mono-counter, the brushing of the central chronograph hand, and the polishing of the date frame. Whether on the case, dial, or any other watch component, it’s the attention given to these seemingly small details that separate the wheat from the chaff.

Enough of the stuff I already know would be great; how about the new blue-gray calfskin strap embossed with a “denim motif?” Can the Patek Nautilus really pull off a pair of jeans? Well, as my colleague Jake Witkin put it, “It’s an absolute vibe.” I have to admit, it does look better in person than in press photos; it is also impeccably made and super-comfortable. But in terms of style, it still doesn’t do it for me. Yes, the color complements the dial flawlessly and I get that it adds a casual touch to the white-gold sports watch. However, it’s just too Canadian tuxedo for my taste, and I can imagine the look getting old quickly. Justin and Britney thought their outfits were fire at the time (as did millions around the world), but these days, evidence of that night serves as a hilarious meme.

Advertising Message

Maybe dad jeans are cool again, especially when Patek wears them, but what about when they aren’t? What I’m getting at is that this feels too trendy and try-hard for a Patek watch, and that just doesn’t sit right with me. I didn’t like it when Omega tried this with the Railmaster, either. Then again, this watch isn’t designed for me, and I have no doubt that the jeans-clad Nautilus will have hoards of fans and will undoubtedly sell out quickly.

The jeans lewk is further emphasized by the white hand-sewn stitches on the edges and the strap is fitted with a white-gold Nautilus clasp. An additional composite strap is delivered with the Nautilus Flyback Chronograph 5980/60G-001, also with a blue-gray fabric motif with white stitching.

The back of the watch, equipped with a sapphire crystal window, reveals the Caliber CH 28‑520 C/522 flyback chronograph automatic movement that serves to power the new flyback chronograph. The 30mm movement operates at 28,800 beats per hour, supplies 45 to 55 hours of power reserve, and comprises 327 parts including the 21k gold central rotor engraved with Patek’s Calatrava cross logo and a Spiromax® balance spring. As is customary, the movement includes the Patek Philippe Seal; however, it’s important to note that for 2024, the company has announced stricter criteria for its in-house seal. According to the announcement, “All watches equipped with a Spiromax® balance spring in Silinvar® or a traditional Breguet balance spring must comply with a tight tolerance range of -1 and +2 seconds per 24 hours .” Previously, calibers with diameters of 20mm or more with a Patek Philippe Seal had to be precise within the range of -3 and +2 seconds per 24 hours.

The new Nautilus Flyback Chronograph in white gold is water-resistant to 30 meters. Before you react incredulously to that rating, Patek has also redefined its water-resistance criteria in 2024. The official announcement states, “To ensure the homogeneity and clarity of the information provided to clients, Patek Philippe has decided to introduce a new unified standard of water-resistance set at 30 meters for all watches certified as water-resistant — having been tested in air and underwater by immersion at an overpressure of 3 bars (corresponding to a depth of 30 m).” Essentially, any Patek Philippe watch (made from 2024 onwards) labeled as water-resistant can safely go showering, bathing, swimming, and even diving to 30 meters deep. This is an interesting move on the part of the company and I wonder if other watch brands will follow suit by announcing more straightforward water resistance standards.

The new Patek Philippe Nautilus Flyback Chronograph Reference 5980/60G-001 watch will retail for 78,950 USD. For more information, please visit the brand’s website

Advertising Message

Subscribe to our Newsletter