Tuesday, February 23, 2010

History of Officine Panerai

Officine Panerai is another watch I am falling in love with. Here is their history… (Thanks wikipedia)

Officine Panerai is an Italian brand of watches owned by Richemont International SA. Its watches are currently manufactured in Neuchâtel, Switzerland with some movements designed and manufactured in-house. Otherwise they use decorated ETA movements.

Panerai Logo

Panerai was founded in 1860 in Florence by Giovanni Panerai (1825–1897). It later became the official supplier of the Royal Italian Navy and expanded to building precision instruments. The company is famous for its Radiomir and Luminor watches, notable for their use by Italian commando frogmen, who relied upon their Panerai wristwatches to execute the sinking of Allied naval vessels in WWII.
The Florence-based watchmaker produced wrist worn diving instruments and about 300 watches, all for the Italian Marina Militare, between 1938 and 1993.[2] By that time, the company ceased to provide watches to the Marina Militare, as they were no longer cost-effective nor did they meet the naval specifications. It then moved to launch its products to the civilian market, but remained relatively obscure until the actor Sylvester Stallone spotted and bought a Panerai Luminor in a jewelry store in Rome in 1995 to wear during shooting of the film Daylight.[2] Stallone ordered a small batch of such watches with his signature on the case back, called Slytech. He offered them as gifts to friends, including Arnold Schwarzenegger. The watch gained rapid popularity, and Officine Panerai was eventually taken over by Richemont in 1997. It should however be noted that the original Panerai were fitted with Rolex movements as worn by the Italian command frogmen.
Recent fashion changes and Panerai’s success marketing large watches has also led other companies to introduce larger watches.
Panerai has four major lines of watches, Historic, Contemporary, Manifattura and Special Editions. Most watches are produced in a limited run (normally of 500, 1000, 2000 or 4000 units) and carry an issue number on the case back. Panerai issues Special Editions every year. In 2006 it issued the 1936 California Dial Radiomir special edition, a reissue of the first Panerai model ever presented to the Italian Marina Militare. This model was limited to a run of 1936 units. As of September 2008, the price variation within the Contemporary collection varied from $6,200 to up to $25,500 for the solid gold Marina. (All prices in USD).
When the contract between Girard-Perregaux and Ferrari expired a new partnership was signed with Panerai to develop, manufacture and distribute watches under the Ferrari trademark. A New York representative for the watch company has called Panerai the official timekeeper to Ferrari.[3] These wristwatches, available in the US from early August 2006, have 11 models and cost between $5,300 and $26,500. Panerai Ferrari watches are divided into two collections: Granturismo and Scuderia.
Panerai issue many watches as either limited or special editions producing fewer watches than the market demands. Retailers may only receive a few limited edition pieces each per year and long waiting lists for popular models are not uncommon. Hence this brand has become a popular investment piece with resale values of used Panerai often matching list prices of a new watch.

Example of Officine Panerai
PAM183H Officine Panerai

Source: Hroyy Marketplace

Panerai Blackseal PAM 183

The Blackseal is a new watch by Panerai, in their Radiomir line. It draws upon the design heritage of some famous Panerais of the past, while remaining sleek and modern in its own right. The genuine Blackseal retails for around $4,000, and was for a period in short supply.

Recently there has been a large number of high-quality Panerai fakes on the market. These watches typically cover the Historic models, meaning those watches based on the base model PAM-001 and it’s chronometer counterpart the PAM-111. These watches are all based on the OP XI movement, which has been used for years in Panerai models. The OP XI, and the OP II which it replaced in 2002, are based on the ETA 6497.

The ETA 6497 is also called the Unitas 6497 after the original firm that manufactured it beginning in the 1950s. It’s a solid movement, very easy to service (mainly because of its size) and very reliable. Panerai took this base movement and made some modifications, including changing the bridge and adding even higher quality parts.
PAM 183H

Typically Panerai fakes have a number of common flaws that are easy to pick out. Many of the new Panerai counterfeits have benefited from experience, high-end CNC manufacturing and computer drafting to make some of the most convincing fakes readily available on the market. At the top of this pile is the Panerai Blackseal.
As far as basic flaws from the counterfeit makers, the crown guard on most Panerais has been difficult to copy. They fail to make it as well-machined as the original, resulting in poor fits and roughly moving parts.

The crown is typically too thin, resulting in something that’s easy to spot from a distance.

On the PAM-183 , or Blackseal, the counterfeiters found a model devoid of these features, and therefore easier to copy. The case design on the PAM-183is clean and simple. Unlike the rest of the historic line, the Radiomirs have a screw-down crown with no crown guard. Also, it utilizes a pillow-shaped case instead of the standard Historic-modeled case of models such as the PAM-111.

There seems to be only one core maker of counterfeit Blackseals, as there seems to be only one variation. This watch is VERY accurate from the front, in comparison to the genuine model. In the watch profile that came along with this video you’ll see comparison photographs of a genuine Blackseal next to a counterfeit example. From the front they are nearly identical, differing really only in the band color. The counterfeit Blackseal also seems to have a slightly longer crown stem, resulting in the crown being a fraction of an inch farther from the case.

The dial on the Blackseal is actually a sandwich design. It has a black dial with the hour markers and numbers cut out to reveal a second, luminescent layer beneath. This counterfeit exhibits the same dial design, but has slightly less bright illumination when viewed in the dark. This is common to replica watches in general; they tend to have a weaker glow to their luminous elements than their genuine counterparts.
If we look closely at the dial we can see that the counterfeiters have perfected the ability to make sharp-printed dials. This is an improvement over earlier fakes where they were fairly easy to distinguish because of bubbling in the printing, or poorly defined lettering when examined under a jeweler’s loupe. This particular dial is very clean, with no overprint or misspellings. The cutouts to the lower layer of the dial have sharp edges and no discernible differences from the genuine watch.


This is a large watch. It measures 45mm across, without the crown. This large size is partially because of the movement, which was originally designed for a pocket watch. Be aware that several Panerai models have been copied with the wrong sized case in order to use alternative movements. Counterfeiters have used 40mm cases instead of the 44mm and 45mm correct cases.


The case is a pillow-style case, similar to vintage Panerais of the past. It has a one-case with a screw-on case back and a display back with a sapphire crystal. This replica example has the proper case at the proper size. In reality it’s nearly impossible to tell this watch from a genuine Panerai from the front.
PAM 183


The crown on a PAM-183 is an onion-style crown, with the Panerai logo carved on its end. The crown stem on some replicas stands out a bit farther than the genuine. Not enough to really notice unless you’re looking for it, it’s a minor flaw and hard to quantify without having a genuine example in front of you.

Case back

The back of the watch is where the counterfeits can easily be separated from the genuine watch. Even though the counterfeits use a Unitas 6497, it does not have the upgrades that Panerai performed on the movement to make it the OP XI.

While Panerai engraved the back of the movement with their name, the fake Blackseal has a metal plate glued to the movement to simulate that engraving. If you look closely at the movement you’ll see the separation between the metal plate and the movement itself.

Contained in the engraving on the back of the watch are some additional markings in gold. In early copies of this movement the replica makers either left off these additional markings, or misspelled them horribly. Look for OFFICNE instead of OFFICINE on the back of the movement.

Also, Panerai modified the bridge of the movement. It’s called a “Swan neck” bridge and looks completely different from the base Unitas movement’s bridge. The counterfeit doesn’t attempt to simulate this bridge, making it easy to spot quickly.

Note that the PAM OP II movement, the predecessor to the OP XI does not have the modified bridge. This movement is used in some of the base model Historic lines, such as the PAM-001. This means that while this movement is readily identifiable in the PAM-183, this same replica movement in a PAM-001 is more difficult to spot. The PAM-001 has a solid case back, making identifying the movement more of a task as well.

WARNING: As of October 2005 there is a replica movement that DOES have the correct swan-neck bridge. It is rougher in finish than the genuine movement, but the lack of swan-neck bridge is no longer a reliable indicator of a watch being counterfeit.

The Band

The band on the counterfeit 183 is probably one of the highest quality leather bands I’ve seen on a replica watch to date. It’s of a high enough quality that it isn’t as easily identified as fake as on earlier Panerai clones. Still, since Paneristi change watch bands like other people change ties, the band, unless claimed to be OEM, is never a good indicator of authenticity.


The 183 is an awesome watch, and this replica is very close to the original, except from the back. If you’re in the online market for this watch I’d recommend making sure you have photographs of the actual watch for sale. Ask to have photographs of the case back to verify the movement. If you’re concerned about the pictures being of another watch, ask the seller to photograph the watch on a newspaper with the current date.

1. http://www.replicawatchreport.com/articles/panerai/panerai-blackseal-pam-183.html
2. PAM 183H in Hroyy Marketplace

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rolex Sea-Dweller Review

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Sea-Dweller is a line of diver’s watches manufactured by Rolex, with an underwater diving depth rating of 610 metres (2,000 ft) for the vintage models and up to 3,900 metres (12,800 ft) for the most recent Sea-Dweller model.

During the 1960s, commercial work in the oceans and seas created professional diving organisations that needed tool watches designed for conducting safe diving operations at greater depths – known as saturation diving. This led to the development of the first ‘ultra water resistant’ watches.

The Sea-Dweller’s integrated helium escape valve
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller Submariner 2000 (2000 ft = 610 m) that became available in 1967 was developed from the Submariner for the Comex S.A. industrial deep-sea diving company by increasing crystal thickness and was produced in several variations. Most Sea-Dweller watches incorporate a helium escape valve for saturation diving. Early Sea-Dwellers did however not always have the helium escape valve. Another feature setting it apart is the absence of a date magnification bubble, the cyclop, present on most Rolexes. Since 1977 the Rolex Sea-Dweller diving watch range have served as standard issue diving watches for Comex divers.

The Sea-Dweller Submariner 2000 watches have 2 red text lines on the watch dial which led to an unofficial “Double Red” designation under watch collectors for these watches.

The Sea-Dweller Submariner 2000 (2000 ft = 610 m) models were succeeded by the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller 4000 (4000 ft = 1220 m) model with an increased depth rating. The current Comex Sea-Dweller 4000 Rolex reference number is 16600 and this watch has been issued to Comex divers since 1992.
At the BaselWorld watch and jewellery show 2008, Rolex introduced an updated Sea-Dweller model, named the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA. Its reference number is 116660. With an official depth rating of 3,900 metres (12,800 ft), the Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA represented in its launch year the most water resistant mechanical watch in serial production. For obtaining this official depth rating the Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA water resistance is tested to a depth of 4,875 m (16,000 ft) to offer the 25% safety reserve required by the ISO 6425 divers’ watches standard. To test the water resistance of the Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA, Rolex uses testing equipment developed for them by Comex.

Normal surface air filled watch cases and crystals designed for extreme depths must be dimensionally large to cope with the encountered water pressure. To obtain its water resistance the Rolex Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA watch case has a diameter of 43.0 mm, thickness of 17.7 mm (domed crystal thickness 5.5 mm) and the case and bracelet weigh 220 g.
Diving records

The design and actual availability of diver’s watches certified for more than 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) is not solely explicable by practical diving needs.

The diving depth record for actual off shore diving was achieved in 1988 by a team of professional divers of the Comex S.A. industrial deep-sea diving company performing pipe line connection exercises at a depth of 534 meters (1752 ft) of sea water (MSW) in the Mediterranean Sea. The diver’s watches used were Rolex Sea-Dwellers.
In 1992 Comex diver Theo Mavrostomos achieved a record of 701 MSW (2300 ft) in an on shore hyperbaric chamber. He took 43 days to complete the dive. The watch used during this scientific record dive, where a hydrogen-helium-oxygen (hydreliox) gas mixture was used as breathing gas, was a Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000. Rolex used this achievement in advertising campaigns.

The complexity, medical problems and accompanying high costs of professional saturation diving to extreme depths and the development of deep water atmospheric diving suits and remotely operated underwater vehicles in offshore oilfield drilling and production effectively nixed the need for ever deeper non-atmospheric manned intervention in the ocean.

Source: wikipedia.org

See Rolex Sea Dweller on Hroyy Marketplace, A Second Hand Watch Marketplace (นาฬิกามือสอง)

Omega Speedmaster Reduced

Today I would like to introduce Omega Speedmaster Reduced. Many people may confuse what it is.

Writing about the Omega Speedmaster Reduced 3510.50.00 is like trying to write about a classic muscle car. Words fail you and you fall back on cliche – classic, understated, collectable, impressive. It’s because of this that I took so long to start writing about my own Reduced – or Automatic, if you will – and why it’s one of the most important timepieces in horology.

The Speedmaster Professional is the moon watch, the one work by Buzz Aldrin on the first moon walk. The Speedmaster Reduced Automatic is the post-moon watch. It is a beautiful reduction of everything we love about the Pro with none of the manual winding hassle. With a stark black face and beautiful white baton hands, the Reduced allows you to own a piece of history while making the leap into a new era.

Made of brushed and polished stainless steel, the 38mm case is a bit understated by the white lettering and chapter ring make sure no one misses a beat. Based on the Omega 3220 calibre, an ETA base with the Dubois-Debrois chronograph module, the reduced looks great on a band or steel bracelet. The crystal, made of acrylic to mirror the Professional, scratches easily but can be buffed out without problems.

The watch has two pushers, one at two and another at four, and a crown at three. The movement handwinds but it is completely automatic and lasts about 40 hours when not on the wrist. The dial is eminently readable and the sub-registers offer an instant read on elapsed time.

The bezel has a tachymeter scale and the chapter ring marks second and split second intervals. It is comparatively waterproof, but don’t go diving in it.

Example of Omega Speedmaster Reduced
Omega Speedmaster Reduced
Source: Hroyy Marketplace Second Hand Watch นาฬิกามือสอง

Friday, February 19, 2010

History of Laco

The company Lacher & Co. – the name Laco deriving from the first syllables – was founded by Frieda Lacher and Ludwig Hummel in Pforzheim in the middle of the 1920s. At the time, Pforzheim’s many watch manufacturers used to fit their casings almost exclusively with Swiss mechanisms, either delivered complete, or as individual parts – a considerable saving in customs duties – which could then be finished and re-assembled by the factories themselves.

Frieda Lacher and Ludwig Hummel’s young business made a successful start, yet after a few years the founders were to go their separate ways. Hummel continued to manage the greater part of the original company, the Laco watch-making factory, while Frieda Lacher branched off into the production of precision parts for wristwatches, such as wheels and pinions. Later, under the direction of her son Erich Lacher, Frieda’s branch was to start producing complete watches again. Erich Lacher entered the firm in 1936, which was then renamed the “Erich Lacher Uhrenfabrik”.

However, it was Laco-Durowe which developed to become a world-class brand and Pforzheim’s main watch producer through the sister company “Lacher & Co.”, run by Hummel. Hummel, born July 26th 1889 in Engelsbrand (nr. Pforzheim), wanted to do more than simply fit Swiss mechanisms into casings. Hummel, along with several other Pforzheim watchmakers, strove to become independent of the Swiss manufacturers, with the aim of producing his own line of watches. The fact that the wristwatch was comparatively slow to take off in Germany, and that many of Pforzheim’s assembly plants continued to need the rough movements from Switzerland, made Hummel’s plans somewhat harder to realize.

So it was that in 1933 he founded a mechanism-producing company (Durowe -Deutsche Uhren-Rohwerke) which, from the outset, was to supply not only his own Laco plant but other watchmakers as well. The production range was soon to include a wide assortment of high quality wristwatch mechanisms. On offer were two round mechanisms – 8 ¾ (cal. 318) and 10 ½ (cal. 410) lines respectively, and three non-round mechanisms – 5 ¼ (cal. 50), 7 ¾ x 11 (cal. 275) and 10 ½ lines – distinguished by an additional “F” for Formwerk. All of the models were pallet anchor mechanisms with clutch winds – by no means the general rule at that time. Cylinder anchor and pin pallet fork mechanisms were still favoured, with full pallet fork mechanisms tending to feature ratchet winds, whose quality and design were considered less sophisticated.

The company continued to grow steadily until the outbreak of the Second World War, with the number of mechanisms produced per month increasing from to 20,000 to 30,000. Even during the war, Laco continued to manufacture watches and mechanisms, in particular the aviators’ watches. In both models ticked a first-class Durowe 22 line pallet bridge movement, adjusted with chronometer accuracy.

A company of international standing

The war ended catastrophically for almost all the Pforzheim manufacturers, including Laco. During a devastating air-raid by the Allies, all the factories were destroyed and more than 80% of the town itself was reduced to rubble. However, the work of rebuilding was to begin soon after the end of the war, and Laco and its sister firm were back in business again by 1949. Helped by the Marshall Plan, Ludwig Hummel built an impressively large 5-storey edifice to house Laco-Durowe, which was later further extended, so that by the middle of the 1950s 1,400 people were working there. Production of rough movements rose to 80,000 a month, giving some idea of the company’s dramatic growth over this period.

The years up until 1959 may be regarded as Lacher’s “golden age”. Laco enjoyed a strong market position with the manual wind and – starting in 1952 – with the automatic models, while Durowe supplied various watchmakers with an ever-increasing number of reliable and high-quality movements.

Unique to Pforzheim

Seen through the eyes of collectors and enthusiasts of German precision engineering, this period offers a wealth of particularly interesting models.

Firstly, the “Laco-Sport” which introduced the “Duromat” – 11 ½ lines (552 cal.), the first automatic movement to be produced by Durowe as of 1952. This movement, with its 18,000 semioscillations and two-directional rotor, based on the 422 cal. manual wind, made Durowe one of the first German manufacturers of automatics.

Neither to be forgotten is the 1957 Laco-Chronometer. A unique movement was developed especially – the manual wind 630 (13 lines) – with which Laco aimed to repeat the success of the aviator watches. Exactly how many Laco-Chronometers were produced is not known, but the number is unlikely to have been great.

Later Durowe brought out the slimmest German automatic ever (1963-4). The “Planomat” – 11 ½ lines, 600 cal. – checked in at a mere 4.6 mm, while the model featuring a date function (610 cal.) measured 4.75 mm.

Laco goes global

By this time, Laco-Durowe had already been owned for some years by the U.S. Time Corporation, better known as “Timex”. As a result of a slump in sales, Ludwig Hummel sold the company to the American watchmaking giant on 01.02.59, Timex being particularly interested in Laco-Durowe’s advanced research into the possibilities of electrical and electronic timepieces. With the emphasis heavily on this aspect of the business, the “Laco-electric” was to appear in 1961 – Germany’s first reliably functioning electric watch. An attempt by a Mr Epperlein of Ersingen to introduce the first electric watch onto the market in 1958 had been largely unsuccessful, owing to design flaws. So here too, it was Lacher that was to set the technical pace.

The company did not remain long in American ownership. On 01.09.1965, the Swiss firm Ebauches S.A. took over Durowe – however, Lacher & Co. and the brand name Laco were not swallowed up. The Swiss, who from now on wanted Durowe to produce only mechanical movements for ladies’ and gents’ wristwatches, acquired easy access to the markets of the then E.E.C.- today’s European Union – through the German company. Durowe remained a dominant producer – in 1974, a total of 550,000 movements were manufactured.

However, the Japanese quartz revolution was to mean that even the once mighty Laco-Durowe concern soon sank into oblivion.

Laco reborn

Fortunately, during the 1980s someone at Erich Lacher Uhrenfabrik – which all these years had continued to exist and produce as Laco’s “little sister” – still remembered the two companies’ joint beginnings, and the prestige of the Laco name. Consequently, on September 8th 1988 the managing partner Horst Günther acquired the rights to the Laco name and logo, which enabled the company to start producing a modern range of high-quality Laco watches. Even today, some of these watches are still mechanical – but they now tick with a Swiss “heart”, just as in the early years of the Lacher business. The fortunes of the firm lie in the hands of Andreas Günther, the sixth management generation.

To celebrate the watchmaking company’s 75th anniversary, Lacher is re-issuing 75 of its legendary ’40s pilots’ watches – 80% of the parts used having been replicated from the original model. All the other components, in particular the pinions and the wheel plate for the indirectly driven central second hand, were manufactured in limited quantities. The 75 limited edition watches sold for 7.500,- DM a piece.

Recalling its long years of manufacturing experience, Lacher has also developed an anniversary range of five scaled-down wristwatches. The collection has been produced in accordance with the original designs, but boasts the latest workings for a modern twist.

-3-hand quartz watch with date function Movement RONDA 515

-Quartz chronograph watch Movement ISA 8161.201

-Automatic watch with date function Movement ETA 2824.2

-Manual wind with miniature second Movement Unitas 6498

-Automatic chronograph watch Movement Valjoux 7750

As the anniversary edition of the Laco pilot watches was such a great success the company Lacher decided to launch at the beginning of the year 2003 a new pilot watch series of even higher quality. These five new models are available exclusively with refined mechanical movements (Côte de Genève and blued screws) which can be seen through the exhibition back. All those models are equipped with stainless steel cases and a domed sapphire crystal. A de-luxe presentation box including a spare leather strap underlines the high quality of this new series of pilot watches. Furthermore it comprises two models with a case diameter of 36 mm which makes them also available for ladies.

Laco Black Pilot’s Watch
Laco Black Pilot

Source: Hroyy Watch Auction

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oris Artelier Big Crown Complication Moonphase

Oris Artelier Big Crown Complication Moonphase

Add a sophisticated look to your wardrobe with this Oris watch
Chronograph watch features a stylish stainless steel case
Silver dial and goldplated bezel completes this timepiece
Two-tone bracelet
Goldplated indexes and Arabic numerals
Luminous hands
Date, date and moonphase feature
Dual time zone feature
Power Reserve for up to 38 Hours
Deployment clasp
Swiss automatic mechanical movement
Acrylic crystal
Water Resistance to 50 meters/165 feet
Case measures 38 mm in diameter x 13 mm thick
Strap measures 16 mm wide x 8 inches long
All measurements are approximate and may vary slightly from the listed dimensions.

Men’s watch bands can be sized to fit 7.5-inch to 8.5-inch wrists. Extra links are available through the manufacturer. (We do not provide this service).

This watch is powered by automatic movement which means the winding of the spring occurs automatically when the wearer moves his arm. However, it is recommended that you manually wind the watch at least once every two weeks. It is also important to adjust the time once a month as automatic movement can gain or lose a few minutes per month.

Now listed on Hroyy Watch Auction

Oris Compliation Moonphase

STEINHART “AVIATION Watch Lounge Edition”


This special edition AVIATION “Watch Lounge Edition” was developed in close cooperation with www.Watchlounge.com, one of the largest watch forums worldwide. The striking design of this watch is clearly based on aircraft construction elements, with the appearance of standard aircraft instruments used for reference; the hour and minute hands of the “Watch Lounge Edition” reflect the form of historical altimeters. Needless to say that the special edition Aviation’s functionality remains intransigent: in order to further increase readability, the dial was manufactured in two different thicknesses. A domed sapphire glass with double anti-reflecting coatings and the basically indestructible manual wind-up by Unitas turn this watch into a highly efficient and well-designed chronometer. The AVIATION “Watch Lounge Edition” is issued in a one-time and strictly limited edition of only 333 exclusive pieces. Worldwide.

Swiss made!

Technical Details
Type: AVIATION Watch Lounge Edition
Item no.: S010508 limited

Movement : Unitas 6497, made in Switzerland, manual wind-up
Jewels: 17 jewels
Hour and minute hands with Super-LumiNova, white / blue shining

Case: stainless steel / pvd black, matt
Diameter: 44mm * 44mm
height: 14.8 mm
Dial: black, matt
Crystal: sapphire, domed, with anti-reflecting coating on the interior side
Bezel: stainless steel / pvd black, matt
Indices and Hands: Super-LumiNova, white / blue shining
Lug width: 24 mm, screwed-in
WaterRes: 30 m / 3 ATM according to DIN
Strap: Russian leather, 24 x 24 mm, black
Strap 2: Russian leather, 24 x 24 mm, Havana old vintage
Buckle: stainless steel pin buckle, PRE-V screwed, 24 mm / black

Watch tool to exchange the strap
Leather roll made of very soft vintage leather, brown.

Source: toptime.eu

STEINHART Aviation Watch Lounge in Hroyy Watch Auction