Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Swedish "Gustav" ammo strap by Kevin Rogers

Strap maker Kevin Rogers
Kevin Rogers
Many third party strap makers have their own line of ammo straps for Panerai watches. Kevin Rogers (with BigB from is probably one of the most famous strap makers and the only one that "legally" has the right to use the term - as they are the ones that trade-marked the name ammo strap. I don't think that anyone using the term for their own straps will get into problems, but it's an interesting fact nonetheless.

The name ammo strap is used for straps that are made from the leather of old ammo pouches. Having straps made from very old leather - with a history - is what makes these straps unique. Some straps are made from leather that may be well over 60 years old.
Ammo straps usually have a very unique look and feel. And smell. I'm not joking, you can sometimes even smell the gun powder.

"Gustav" ammo

I recently received a new strap from Kevin for my Fiddy (PAM127). The leather that was used for this particular strap is called Swedish Gustav ammo referring to the Swedish K/Carl Gustav M45 submachine gun - a "weapon of choice for SEALS in Vietnam" back in the late 1960's (more information on

Kevin Rogers Gustav ammo strap on PAM127 aka Panerai Fiddy
Swedish ammo by Kevin shown on Panerai 127 aka Fiddy

I particularly liked the darker color and the structure/grain of this leather. The specs of this strap are akin to the specs of the vintage Panerai straps. Long, widely spaced holes and a straight vintage style buckle (photo below). I was lucky that the strap fits my wrist the way it is, because I would hate having to punch another hole.

Kevin Rogers Gustav ammo strap on PAM127 aka Panerai Fiddy
Vintage style straight buckle

You can order Kevin's straps from the website.

Kevin Rogers Gustav ammo strap on PAM127 aka Panerai Fiddy
2002 SE Panerai PAM127/Fiddy

Related posts

More strap posts
Another Kevin ammo strap in a post about composition

Photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pre-Vendome Panerai PVD steel 202/A

In 1993 Officine Panerai produced a series of watches for the normal consumer market (Panerai had been producing instruments for the navy since 1860). These watches were produced and sold before Vendome acquired the company in March 1997. For this reason, these particular models are often referred to as "Pre-Vendome" or "pre-V" watches. Any of these Pre-V watches are now hard to find and considered to be collectible. Asking prices have gone through the roof, which is especially true for certain watches - the PVD steel Panerai 202/A is one of them.

Panerai PVD steel Pre-Vendome 202/A
Pre-Vendome Panerai 202/A

The top part of the dial - underneath the 12 - has two lines of text "Luminor Panerai" and the bottom part of the dial shows "Marina Militare". The 202/A is often referred to as being a "four-liner" because of the text on the dial. Very few Panerai watches have "militare" in their model name. Besides the 202/A, the most famous watches that have this are the special edition Panerai 36, the destro 217 and the elusive model 267 (only six units produced).

Panerai PVD steel Pre-Vendome 202/A
Click photos for larger version

Some of the 201/A and 202/A watches were produced with a varnish that caused the color of the tritium to change to dark orange. You can see this in the photos. This was actually a fault in the production process of these watches, that Panerai corrected before producing all the units. Therefor only some of the watches have this orange color. Because the color of the indexes/numbers is different than the color of the tritium hands, these watches are referred to as "non-matching".

Panerai PVD steel Pre-Vendome 202/A
The background shows a sculpture by artist Eng Tay

The Pre-Vendome watches have manual wind movements that are housed in 44mm cases. All these models originally came in oak wood boxes. Several Pre-Vendome watches are part of the "Slytech line", referring to the actor Sylvester Stallone. Stallone is a dedicated Panerai fan, rumored to own hundres of Panerai watches - old and new models. The Panerai Pre-Vendome reference numbers are 5218-201/A, 5218-202/A, 5218-203/A, 5218-205/A, 5218-207/A, 5218-209, 5218-210, 5218-301/A, 5218-302, 5218-304 and the 5218-218.

Related posts

Pre-Vendome Panerai stainless steel 201/A aka Logo

Photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen
Sculptures © E.Tay

Do not distribute, publish or post these photos

Friday, November 13, 2009

An iconic Panerai, the 232

The 2006 PAM232 is surely one of the most iconic watches of all the pieces that Panerai produced in recent years. The watch is modeled after the first special edition Panerai, the PAM21 - which in turn was based on the vintage Panerai Radiomir watches.

Panerai PAM232 Radiomir 1938
The PAM232 has a beautiful tobacco brown sandwich dial

The dial may look black in most photos, but it really is a beautiful tobacco brown which is especially apparent under certain light (above photo). The big sandwich dial has large numbers through which the Luminova lights up very bright if charged.

Panerai PAM232 Radiomir 1938
The Luminova lights up in a bright green color

The 232 is a 2006 special edition watch and 1938 units were produced - 1938 being the year in which the vintage Radiomirs of this model were produced. Recently Panerai released a few OOR units. To some that was great news as it meant there was an opportunity to buy the watch at list price, but others feel that it's not so great to produce more pieces of a special edition watch. Because it makes a special edition watch... well... not so special anymore. I personally share the opinion of the latter, although I understand why it makes sense for Panerai to create out-of-range (OOR) pieces.

Panerai PAM232 Radiomir 1938
2006 Special Edition of 1938 pieces

The PAM21 was made of platinum but the 232 is made of stainless steel. The case measures 47mm and it takes 26mm wide straps. The photos in this post do not show the original strap. The movement is a hand-wound mechanical, exclusive Panerai OP X (ETA based).

Panerai PAM232 Radiomir 1938
Click photos for a larger version

Related posts

PAM21 The grail of grails
PAM249 Radiomir 1936 California dial

All photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen
Thanks to T.Blackmon

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Watch photo publication in Watch Report magazine

Not counting the 2010 Paneristi calendar for Mulliganeers, the new Dutch watch magazine "Watch Report" features my first wrist watch photo publication. The magazine is very stylish and contemporary. In my opinion, it really is a lot nicer than most other watch magazines.

panerai article in watch report magazine
Spread: Panerai PAM28 crown guard

One of the magazine's main articles is titled "De mythe van Panerai ontrafeld" - which more or less translates to "The myth of Panerai unveiled". It is co-written by fellow Paneristi Kristian Haagen (Denmark) and Lex Stolk.

panerai article in watch report magazine PAM28
Page: Panerai PAM28 dial close up

panerai article in watch report magazine PAM326
Smaller photos: Panerai PAM326/PAM327 Titanium Chrono

The magazine is available in shops in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. To my knowledge there's no website yet.

Related posts

Panerai PAM28
Panerai PAM327
Panerai photos in Slaets Magazine

Photos © 2009 M.Wilmsen

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Panerai 5218-201/A

Back in July I photographed a set of the most interesting and sought after Panerai watches in New York for a calendar project. The calendar will be presented in NYC on November the 7th. Calendars can be bought by making a donation to Mulliganeers, all profits will go to this organization. There still may be a few left so if you want to order one of these unique calendars, you can find instructions on - ordering instructions.

One of the pieces and photos that didn't make it into the calendar, is the Panerai 201/A shown in the photo below. The 5218-201/A is also referred to as The Logo, because it has the OP logo on the dial above the six. This is in my opinion one of the most beautiful Panerai Luminor watches. Certainly one of the most sought after ones.

Pre vendome Panerai 5218-201/A - The Logo
Panerai 5218-201/A - click for a larger photo

This "Pre Vendome" or "Pre V" watch was produced in 1993. The term "Pre V" is used for watches that were produced prior to the acquisition of the company by the Vendôme group in 1996/97. According to, a total of 889 201/A pieces were made. 12 watches were reworked as SlyTech Submersible 5218-201/A, 95 were reworked as SlyTech Submersible 5218-205/A and 105 were reworked as SlyTech Daylight 5218-207/A.

The sculpture that is partially showing in the background of the photo was made by New York based artist Mr Eng Tay. More information about this artist can be found on his website

Photo © 2009 M.Wilmsen, do not copy or use photos without permission.