So, you’ve decided to buy a sports watch by Patek Philippe replica. It must have a stainless-steel case (check), stainless-steel integrated bracelet (check), screw-down crown (check), top-tier price tag… Well, not necessarily.
While the Nautilus and even the Aquanaut remain unobtainable to those who can’t get on to the waiting lists or don’t wish to pay a hefty premium in the pre-owned market, there is another option for those with an open mind and a smaller wallet. Launched in 1996, the Patek Philippe Neptune fake watch with black dial came with a marketing tagline that read, “Ideal for sportswear, the supremely elegant Neptune is, at the same time, the perfect dress watch.” Dressy it certainly was, with bracelet links reminiscent of fish scales and Roman numerals on a dial that came in silver, black or salmon. The time-only 5080 was joined in 1998 by the more complex 5085 – offering moon phase and power reserve complications. Sadly, the 5080 disappeared in 2002 and the 5085 followed it three years later.
The Neptune’s brief existence might seem hard to understand in retrospect, as it had all the hallmarks of a sure-fire hit. It is important to remember, however, that the mania for steel sports watches is a relatively recent phenomenon. Back in 2002, you could easily find a steel Nautilus at retail and the Aquanaut sold out on launch largely because Swiss movement copy Patek Philippe suggested it would be limited to 1,000 pieces (leading the company to follow it with a non-limited version). Perhaps the Neptune was a little too svelte, lacking the heft of a true sports watch, or maybe the bracelet was a little too fussy – but most likely it was just ahead of its time, disappearing well before the steel sports surge.
Its relative rarity makes this something of a sleeper, with time-only examples selling for £8,700 at auction (compared to £52,000 for a time-only Nautilus) and a mere £11,500 for the more complex Neptune (compared to £63,600 for the same features in a Nautilus case).
Maybe watch collectors will wake up to the virtues of the Patek Philippe Neptune fake with steel case and swimming against the tide today may pay off tomorrow.