Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The rivalry between football’s two biggest stars is one that’s all about contrasts. Ronaldo is flashy and passionate, while Messi is reserved and low-key… Well, he was, until he started buying the sorts of watches he’s buying.
The 35-year-old Argentinian – who made headlines this time last year when he left his club of 21 years, FC Barcelona, for Paris Saint-Germain – shared a photo of himself at dinner in Paris with his wife earlier this week wearing the kind of high-profile timepiece we’d expect Ronaldo, football’s most notoriously outlandish watch collector, would wear.
The piece in question? A Patek Philippe Nautilus Flyback Chronograph Date (ref. 5980R/001) worth a solid US$130,000. His partner, Antonela Roccuzzo, was also wearing a Nautilus of her own in the photo. His and hers Pateks… Must be nice.
This rendition of the iconic luxury sports watch is crafted from 18ct rose gold and features a chronograph module with a 60-minute and 12-hour mono-counter plus two chrono pushers. The watch comes from the factory with an alligator leather strap but as you can see, Messi’s swapped that out for a sportier green rubber aftermarket number.
Messi has definitely worn watches more expensive and arguably flashier than this Patek – the Jacob & Co. Epic X Chrono the famous jeweller made for him with its diamond-studded bezel immediately comes to mind – but there’s just something about a gold Patek that really screams ‘baller’.
That Jacob & Co. piece isn’t the only watch that’s been made for him. Audemars Piguet released a version of the Royal Oak Chronograph dedicated to the player, and Purnell even gifted him a ‘piece unique’ Escape II in recognition of Messi winning the Ballon d’Or last year.
Messi also has a number of Rolex watches in his collection, including a Daytona ‘Panda’ and a number of ‘Stella dial’ Oyster Perpetuals… But this Patek’s our fave. There you have it: they may not compete on the field anymore, but at least the two football GOATS are still one-upping each other when it comes to watches…