Sunday, June 28, 2009

Twenty strap combos for a Panerai 233

The Panerai PAM233 is one of the most versatile Panerai watches. And on so many levels, not just in terms of functions. Almost any strap will look great on this watch and that's just not the case with all Panerai watches. Try a classy crocodile strap on a PAM1. It won't look right. But any style will look great on the 233. You can dress it up with a classy crocodile strap and you can dress it down with for instance an ammo style strap - for a much more casual look.

Panerai PAM233 with OEM strap
Panerai PAM233 with its original OEM strap

Panerai enthusiasts are lucky because there are so many strap makers to choose from, besides obviously the first class OEM straps that Panerai are offering themselves. Many of the after market strap makers are very passionate about Panerai themselves. And that shows in the work they deliver. Some straps are nicer than others sure, but generally speaking I can't say that I've been disappointed by any of the strap makers that sold me a strap.

One of the questions that regularly comes along on the watch boards is What straps will look good on my Panerai. Well I have an opinion if you ask that question about the 233... Below are twenty different strap combinations for this particular Panerai - out of probably at least another hundred that would look great too.

You can click the photos for a large version.

Panerai PAM233
Vintager straps z-matten
Panerai PAM233
Strap-works gray crocodile
Panerai PAM233
Manifatture Firenze vintage calf
Panerai PAM233
Simona honey brown crocodile
Panerai PAM233
OEM black crocodile
Panerai PAM233
Simona PAV strap
Panerai PAM233
ABP blue special tannings crocodile
Panerai PAM233
Kaktus Drifter original
Panerai PAM233
Justin Chen golden tan Teju lizard
Panerai PAM233
Simona black calf/copper stitches
Panerai PAM233
OEM light blue crocodile
Panerai PAM233
Ted Su French ammo
Panerai PAM233
Simona chocolate brown crocodile
Panerai PAM233
Simona dark blue crocodile
Panerai PAM233
The Watch Boys olive shark
Panerai PAM233
The Watch Boys black shark
Panerai PAM233
Ted Su Swiss ammo
Panerai PAM233
Dirk black calf with white stitches
Panerai PAM233
Manifatture Firenze black buffalo
Panerai PAM233
Justin Chen ammo style

Strap makers

There are of course many more parties offering first class straps than the ones mentioned in this post. Have a look on for an overview of most of the after market strap makers.

These are the contact details of the strap makers referred to in this post:
Micah/Vintagers straps
Simona straps
The Watch Boys
Ted Su
Kaktus Straps
Manifatture Firenze
ABP Paris

Justin Chen and Dirk don't have a website but they offer their straps on the AC on

Related posts

Nineteen strap combos for a Panerai 243

All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Simona di Stefano crocodile straps for Panerai

Almost every Panerai enthusiast will have several straps from at least a few different third party strap makers. Some even have a strap collection of 50+ different straps. One of the most well known after market strap makers for Panerai watches must be Simona di Stefano from Florence, Italy. Being a Paneristi herself, Simona is in the business of after market straps for Panerai watches for several years already. If you're in the market for a crocodile strap, then Simona Straps is the way to go. She offers a huge selection of many different styles of straps, but in my opinion her crocodile straps are unrivaled. Generally speaking crocodile straps would "dress up" a watch, but what I like so much about Simona's croc straps is that Simona seems to have found an excellent balance between a "casual" and a "stylish" look. Panerai OEM crocodile straps are obviously high quality straps that are just perfectly made. But Simona's crocs add something different, unique and special.

Simona di Stefano after market crocodile strap
Simona crocodile strap and strap pouch (click for large version)

The fact that a strap is "after market" doesn't necessarily mean that such a strap is cheap. But quality costs money and if you own a high end watch, you shouldn't have a problem spending a reasonable amount of money on a few qood quality straps. But if you do - you may expect good service, timely delivery and a quality package. Simona scores high on all counts. The straps are delivered in a nice branded pouch to store your strap when you're not wearing it.

Simona di Stefano after market crocodile strap
Simona glossy finish crocodile strap

I have collected quite a few different after market straps over time - but I'm particularly a fan of crocodile straps - especially the ones that Simona sells. I like it that every strap is unique. The texture of the leather is never exactly the same and the pattern and scales are of course never the same either. The last one I bought is this vintage green croc strap for my Fiddy (PAM127). Its color seems to change with the light and I think it looks amazing on this watch. I'm always amazed by how a simple strap change can make your watch look so different.

Simona di Stefano after market crocodile strap
Panerai 127 (Fiddy) with Simona vintage green crocodile strap

I ordered this particular strap with a sewn-in, bent and unfinished buckle. You can also order the straps without a buckle so that you can use the original one that came with your watch. Simona also offers knife edge buckles and you can get them with a polished or a PVD (black) finish too. I opted for the unfinished buckle because I think that looks best in combination with the brushed case of the PAM127.

Simona buckle
Close up of the buckle

Below are two more photos to show this new combination. I took both photos with two off-camera SB900 strobes of which one was shot through a diffuser. The other strobe was bare to get enough light on the strap itself.

Simona di Stefano after market crocodile strap
SB900 camera right, low and behind subject. 2nd strobe fired from above

Fiddy or PAM127 with Simona crocodile strap
SB900 low camera left, SB900 low camera right

Visit Simona's website if you want to order a strap or you can contact Simona by e-mail: info @

All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

PAM00000 Luminor Base Logo

Simplicity is king. And that's exactly what I love about the Panerai base models.

PAM00000 Panerai Luminor Base Logo
Panerai Luminor Base Logo

The PAM00000 - also known as Zero and Logo - is a real stunner and it's the watch in the current Panerai historic line that I like the most. "Logo" was also the nick name that collectors used when referring to the Pre-Vendome 5218-201/a base model. That watch too has the OP logo on the dial and the current PAM0 resembles the 201/a quite a bit. The value of the original Logo is of course 10 to 20 times higher and hard to find as it has become a true collectors item in the last few years. But mind you, getting your hands on the new Logo isn't that easy either. There isn't a single AD in The Netherlands that has one available right now and my guess is that the new production is already spoken for too.

PAM00000 Panerai Luminor Base Logo
OP logo on the dial

The OP logo is made up of the letters O and P which of course stand for Officine and Panerai. There are also two arrows in the logo - one pointing up and one pointing down. These refer to the fact that Panerai was a specialist in manufacturing underwater products and landing aid systems. The down arrow referred to the under water (diving) products, the up arrow reffered to the other tools.

PAM00000 Panerai Luminor Base Logo
Brushed steel crown guard

The Luminor Base Logo has a hand wound mechanical movement (Panerai OPI) with a 56 hour power reserve. The polished steel case is 44mm and the crown guard is brushed steel. The watch has a solid steel screw back with the logo engraved. The current production (K series) is limited to 1300 units.

PAM00000 Panerai Luminor Base Logo

All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen

Sunday, June 21, 2009

PAM328 and PAM329 - P.9000 models with bracelet

The last two Panerai watches of the new P.9000 series that I photographed are the PAM328 and the PAM329. Basically, the PAM328 is the same watch as the PAM312 - but with a bracelet. The same is true for the PAM329 which is the same as the PAM320, apart from the bracelet. The difference between the 328 and the 329 is that the 329 has a GMT function and so it has the P.9001 Manifattura movement as opposed to the P.9000 movement that powers the Panerai 328.

Panerai PAM328 and Panerai PAM329
The new PAM328 on the left next to the PAM329 on the right

The new bracelet design is very nice. I've read several posts from people on the watch boards about how they did or did not prefer the new bracelet compared to the old Panerai bracelet. The older design bracelet was a design unique to Panerai. The newer style bracelet is perhaps not as unique, but I do think that it is very sleek looking and more comfortable to wear. One of the attractive features of Panerai watches is that you can easily change straps yourself. This is obviously not the case with these bracelet models and - as far as I know - it's not possible to remove the bracelet if you would want to wear a strap on the watches either.

Panerai PAM328 and Panerai PAM329
PAM329 (L) and PAM328 - the sandwich dials show clearly in this photo

You can see in the photo below that the PAM329 Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Automatic (on the right) is the same watch as the PAM320 on the left. The only difference is that the 320 has a brown crocodile strap. The 320 has the new Panerai strap changing system which makes it very easy to change the strap without a screw driver. There's a small push button on the underside of the lugs to release the strap pin.

Panerai PAM320 and Panerai PAM329
PAM320 (L) and PAM329

The same is obviously true for the difference between the PAM312 and the PAM328. The only difference here is that the 312 comes with a black crocodile strap with off-white stitches.

Panerai PAM312 and Panerai PAM328
PAM312 (L) and PAM328

Related posts

PAM312 Luminor 1950 Marina 3 Days Automatic
PAM320 Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days GMT
PAM321 Luminor 1950 GMT Power Reserve
PAM236 Luminor Chrono Daylight
PAM327 Luminor Chrono Daylight Titanium

All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen

Friday, June 19, 2009

PAM252 - Panerai Luminor GMT North Pole

One of the Panerai watches that was an absolute favorite of mine is the PAM252 Luminor North Pole GMT. This watch is a 2006 special edition watch - dedicated to the North Pole expedition - of which only 500 units were produced.

PAM252 Panerai Luminor North Pole GMT
Panerai Luminor GMT North Pole - SE 2006

The 252 has the looks of Panerai submersible watches, but - although it is water resistant up to 300 meters - technically it's not a submersible. Its rotating bezel is not used to calculate submersion time but it functions as a compass aid instead. The letters N,E,S and W are on the bezel to indicate North, East, South and West. The watch can be used to find the north direction by making the hour hand point straight at the sun. Half the angle between the hour hand and the 12 o'clock index. This direction is south! You can then rotate the bezel to that position to keep track of where you're going. It's a nice function but probably more of a gadget than a useful one.

PAM252 Panerai Luminor North Pole GMT engraved case back
The engraved case back of the 252

The PAM252 has a solid steel case back with a picture of the polar ice cap engraved and the signatures of Mike Horn and Borge Ousland. The engraving refers to Mike Horn's North Pole Winter Expedition, the objective of which was to travel across the thousand or more kilometers of ice which separate the northernmost part of Russia from the North Pole. This was the North Pole expedition that followed Mike Horn's first solo solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle (the Arktos expedition).

Officine Panerai was an exclusive partner of the North Pole Winter Expedition and they have developed this technically advanced watch especially for the expedition. It has a soft iron inner case to protect the OP VIII automatic movement from the influence of the earth’s magnetic field which is very strong in the vicinity of the North Pole. The watch also has a 24 hour GMT function and a date at the 9 o'clock position.

PAM252 Panerai Luminor North Pole GMT dial close up
Dial close-up

The 252 has a really nice blue dial which was one of the features that made me buy the watch. I don't own it anymore but one of the drawbacks was that it was quite hard to find a good looking strap combination for the watch. The watch comes with a rubber strap and a Velcro strap. Those are nice looking and good quality, but I personally don't like to wear rubber straps at all.

PAM252 with Ted Su French ammo
Ted Su French ammo strap

One of the combos that I liked best was the one shown in the above photo. The strap is one of Ted Su's French ammo straps. Another really great strap for this particular watch is a Simona blue crocodile strap as shown in the photo below.

PAM252 with dark blue Simona crocodile strap
Dark blue Simona crocodile strap

You can find more photos of the PAM252 in the photo database.

All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

PAM321 Luminor 1950 GMT Power Reserve

The fourth watch in the new Panerai Manifattura P.9000 line that I photographed is the PAM321. The full name according to the website is Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Power Reserve Automatic 44mm. Pfew... but, it does sum it up. A 44mm 1950's case, an automatic movement with a three days power reserve and a GMT function. Actually what misses in its official name is the word Marina. Because it does have a sub seconds dial at the nice o'clock position.

Anyway, the 321 is powered by the new in-house P.9002 movement. This calibre is similar to the P.9000 and P.9001 but it supports a power reserve indicator on the dial. Much like the one you can find on for instance the PAM90 (which incidentally was the first Panerai watch I owned). Apart from all the obvious functions, the PR indicator on the dial is about the only thing that the two watches have in common. The 321 is absolutely in a different league altogether (you can click the photos for a larger view).

PAM321 Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Power Reserve Automatic 44mm
PAM321 with its power reserve indicator on the dial

The PAM321 - like the PAM320 - has a 12 hour GMT function but lacks an AM/PM indicator on the dial. The second time zone hand is black. I'm guessing that the Panerai designers figured that a silver time zone hand would be too busy in combination with the power reserve indicator on the dial. In my personal opinion a black second time zone hand is better looking than a silver one. Regardless of what else is incorporated on the dial.

PAM321 Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Power Reserve Automatic 44mm
A side view showing the sandwich dial and cushion shape of the 1950's case

Like the PAM312 and PAM320, the PAM312 has a Luminova sandwich dial (above photo) that makes it very easy to read the time even in low light conditions. The luminova lights up very bright and stays charged for a long time. The crystal is 2.6mm thick and doesn't have a date magnification window or cyclops. Despite its crystal display back, the watch does have a 300m depth rating which is quite amazing. The earlier Manifattura watches - e.g. the 233 and 270 - also have a crystal display back but a depth rating of 100 meters. Some people feel that a watch with a display back is automatically "degraded" to being a "fashion watch" rather than being a "tool watch" or a real divers watch. I've never agreed to that point of view when it comes to Panerai watches. The functions being offered and the specifications are what really matters when it comes to that. The fact that the new P.9000 series again have a depth rating of 300 meters proves my point.

PAM321 Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Power Reserve Automatic 44mm
Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Power Reserve Automatic 44mm

The 321 comes with an exceptionally well made black crocodile strap and a brushed steel buckle that has the word Panerai engraved. The photo below shows the PAM312 and PAM321 next to each other. As you can see the word Panerai is not on the dial of the 321 because of the position of the power reserve indicator. Besides this - and apart from the fact that the 321 has a GMT function - the design of the two watches is nearly identical.

PAM321 next to the PAM312
Side by side view of the PAM321 and the PAM312

Considering the state of my personal collection, I like the 321 best out of the 312, 320 and 321. Otherwise I would have a really hard time deciding between the 320 and the 321.

PAM321 crown guard
The crown guard seen from the back of the watch

Related posts

PAM312 Luminor 1950 Marina 3 Days Automatic
PAM320 Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days GMT
The PAM312 and PAM104 compared

All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen

Monday, June 15, 2009 - the unofficial paneristi photo database

As a frequent visitor of several watch boards and being a fan of wrist watch photography, I thought it was such a shame that all of those photos seem to disappear into the black hole of the web after a while. Often I remembered seeing for instance photos of how a certain strap looks on a certain Panerai watch - but then I wasn't able to find it when I wanted to see it again. That's why - in April 2008 - I decided to build a searchable database to store and organize all those photos. I never had - and don't have - commercial intentions whatsoever and I only started the database for the aforementioned reason.
Screenshot of the website

Everyone can register on the site to upload their own photography and one doesn't have to register at all to search or browse the database. The database is also intended as a central resource for members that want to post their photos on the watch boards (e.g. and So it offers free image hosting as well. A large number of (mostly) Paneristi have registered over time and the database now contains well over 6,000 photos by quite a few contributors from all over the world. Of course I've been so fortunate to have been allowed to take photos of many Panerai watches are not even on the market yet, and the database contains all of those photos too.

The website offers a full text search function that allows you to search for Panerai models or watches with a certain function, but also to view for instance all the photos about straps from a particular maker or in a particular style etc. For instance all the straps made by Ted Su, all shark straps or all panerai watches with a GMT function and so on.

I have built galleries for each Panerai model, for several after market strap makers and galleries showing various strap combinations for particular Panerai watches. The galleries contain photos taken by different people from all over. The photo below (taken by N.Martinez from Spain) is an example of one of the photos in a gallery showing twenty different strap combos for the PAM232. Click the photo to view the complete gallery with 20 different strap combos for this particular Radiomir.

Simona honey croc on a PAM232. Photo © N.Martinez

You can click the photo below to view a gallery with 28 different strap combinations for the Panerai PAM233.

Ted Su French ammo strap on a PAM233. Photo © M.Wilmsen

I have furthermore built galleries for all of the Panerai models (or at least the ones for which there are photos in the database) in different groups. For example Historic models, Manifattura models, Special editions and so on.
Screenshot of the special editions galleries start page

Many Paneristi were very enthusiastic about this idea but for those that don't want to upload and keyword photos themselves I've asked for their permissions to copy their photos from the boards and to store the photos in the database. Registered users can upload photos one at a time themselves and those that are regular uploaders can request an FTP account that allows them to upload many photos at once. Members can add information about the photo themselves but the system also automatically adds relevant information about the watch if the file name starts with the formal PAM code consisting of the letters PAM followed by the five digit model number. For instance PAM00233_myphoto.jpg for the Panerai 233. The system will automatically add all the model information to the keywords of the photo based on that model number.

A screen shot of the search results page

The database contains some very nice photos and is becoming a great resource for information re Panerai and after market straps. You are invited to have a look and to perhaps contribute your own photos. If you are a regular poster on the boards I will regularly grant upload permissions on your account within a day or so. You are of course just as welcome to use and search the database if you don't want to register and/or contribute. Of course all the photos are copyright protected by their owners and it is not allowed to use their photos without their written permission.