Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Panerai Beer Bottle

I came across a great photo of a nicely lit beer bottle on and decided to give it a try. I showed a first attempt to a fellow Paneristi and pro photographer - who kindly gave me some lighting tips for this type of shot. I gave it another go today.

Panerai PAM127 on a Heineken beer bottle
Panerai PAM127

There's a Nikon SB800 on its side about 15cm behind the bottle to make the beer inside the bottle appear bright and sparkling. The bottle is positioned on a piece of glass in the middle of some crated ice. I closed down the aperture to f16 to make the background appear as dark as possible. The bottle is lit from the left side with a flash shooting through a softbox, about 50cm away from the subject. I used a piece of black card board to prevent its light from falling on the background. Finally I positioned a white cardboard reflector on the right side - and slightly to the front of the bottle for fill. I sprayed the bottle to get the tiny water bubbles.

Panerai PAM243 on a Heineken beer bottle
Panerai PAM243

Here's a picture without a watch in it. I tried adding a bit of smoke behind the bottle, in an attempt to make it look "colder". You can also see the reflection of the bottle in the black glass underground in this picture.

Heineken beer bottle strobist lighting
Click the photos for a larger view

Finally, a photo with two bottles. The lighting setup is the same as described above. The watch on the left is a Panerai PAM000 (aka Zero) with its original OEM calf strap.

Heineken beer bottle and Corona beer bottle strobist lighting
PAM000 and PAM127 (right)

In case you want to know more about the straps, the strap in the first picture is a Yugoslavian ammo strap by David Lane Design. The strap on the 243 is a French ammo strap by Septimus Straps.

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen - do not use without permission

Related posts

An overview of other photo technique posts

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The K99 strap for Panerai by Kostas Veni

Some of the older original OEM Panerai straps - like the PAV99 - are as much sought after as certain out of production Panerai watches. Going prices for original PAV straps from the pre Vendome era, are now in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 USD or perhaps more depending on the model. That's just for the strap mind you. Anything collectible can cost you an arm and a leg in the Panerai world. I've never owned a PAV strap and I probably never will, but strap maker Kostas Veni makes a strap that is perhaps the next best thing to a PAV99. And for a fraction of the costs. He calls his version of the strap the K99...

K99 strap by Kostas Veni
K99 strap by Kostas Veni

Kostas Veni - a Panerai collector himself - developed the K99 strap in an attempt to find a hide that is very similar in characteristics in comparison to the legendary PAV99. He spent a long time trying to find the perfect leather and he claims that he did. The leather is indeed of an exceptional quality and as a first impression, the strap does seem to be very well built.

K99 strap by Kostas Veni on Panerai PAM360
The K99 shown on the Panerai PAM360

Kostas - originally from Greece and now living in the UK - is not a full time strap maker and he does not have a website. He makes his straps on request and to specifications only with a buckle of your choice. The K99 in these pictures has a straight sewn-in pre V style buckle. The PVD color of the buckle is a little darker than the case of the 360 but it's a pretty good match nonetheless.

K99 strap on PAM360
Click the photos for a larger version

For many Panerai enthusiast it's difficult to stop looking for the next strap, but I think that this is one of the best looking matches for the Panerai PAM360. I'm sure that the leather will darken over time, but considering the quality of the leather that will make the strap look even better.

K99 strap on PAM360
Panerai PAM360 Luminor DLC

Before Kostas started making straps, his idea of a good strap was different compared to what it is now. He is now much more focused on the build quality. All his straps are completely handmade - including the stitching. And it shows. This K99 strap comes pretty close to perfection in my opinion. And it makes a stunning combination for the PAM360. The photo below shows the inside of the strap. The K99 has one fixed and one floating keeper.

K99 strap by Kostas Veni
The inside of the K99 strap

If you want to contact Kostas, his e-mail is Ekon_6 -at- (replace -at- with @).

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen - do not use without permission

Related posts

More posts about straps and strap makers
Panerai PAM360 Luminor DLC

Monday, November 15, 2010

PAM360 Luminor DLC - 10 years Paneristi anniversary watch

Panerai created the PAM360 - aka BBQ - to celebrate the ten years existence of the popular Panerai collectors forum The 360 was in part designed by - and created for - the people that made Paneristi what it is today. The watch is a unique edition of only 300 pieces. That obviously means that sadly quite a few had to be disappointed. Panerai received thousands of requests from people that wanted to own the watch. Having said that, the PAM360 is a stunning piece. I'd say it's smoking hot ;)

Panerai PAM360 Luminor DLC - 10 years
Panerai PAM360 - Luminor DLC

The 44mm case is DLC coated and its color is very dark gray - not really black. The color of the indices and numbers on the dial is beige. Some have called it "fake patina", some like it, some don't. I for one think it looks amazing. Especially in combination with the DLC case. The Luminova paint does still light up green in the dark. The watch has the OP logo on the dial and its movement is the hand-wound mechanical Panerai OP I.

Panerai PAM360 Luminor DLC - 10 years
10 years anniversary

The watch comes with a vintage looking strap that tapers from 24mm to 22mm which is shown in the first photo. The photo above shows the watch with a 24/24 tan Drifter strap by Kaktus Straps.

Photography - red gel and smoke trails

I started this blog to share my passion for both Panerai and photography, so here's some more information about the photos.

Panerai PAM360 Luminor DLC - 10 years
Click the photos for a larger version

The red spot in the background of the above photo was created by aiming a snooted strobe at the background. I taped a red gel at the end of the snoot. The diffused light that falls on the front of the watch is coming from a second strobe that is aimed at a white cardboard reflector in front of the watch. To keep the background black, there has to be a reasonable distance between the watch and the background as to prevent light from falling on it which would make it gray.

Panerai PAM360 Luminor DLC - 10 years
Smoke trails

The smoke trails that are showing in the first and last photo are created by putting two incense sticks underneath the watch. I aimed a snooted strobe at the smoke from the right next to the watch. The light on the watch itself is bounced back onto the watch by aiming a second strobe at a white cardboard reflector in front of the watch. The reflector was positioned at an angle of about 45 degrees.

To freeze the smoke trails you have to use a low output setting on your strobe. The duration of the flash freezes the action (more so than the duration of the shutter speed). So a low output power of e.g. 1/32 means that the duration of the flash is shorter than when you fire the flash at e.g. 1/4. You'll have to use a small aperture to make sure that the smoke is in focus. I used f14 @ 1/200s for these shots. A smaller aperture would have required more light/more power - which would have made the duration of the flash longer. And that wouldn't have worked too well.

How the smoke moves is pretty unpredictable, so you'll have to set it up (with a tripod) and then you'll just have to take plenty of shots. I think I took about 30 shots and kept only five that were ok. And that doesn't include the first few shots that I took to figure out how to light the watch without the light hitting the background. Practice makes perfect and although these aren't too bad, they're not nearly as good as some shots I came across on Flickr.

BTW the strobes were triggered by use of an Elinchrom Skyport on one flash. The second strobe was in optical slave mode.

Related posts

An overview of watch posts on
Shaping light with a DIY snoot
Dropping a wristwatch in a water tank
Freezing water droplets with off camera flash
PAM26 Luminor Marina left handed PVD
PAM28 Luminor Power Reserve DLC

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vintager straps for Panerai by Micah Dirksen

Micah Dirksen (owner of Vintager Straps in Napa, California) is one of the better known and most appreciated strap makers in the Panerai community. Not just because of his fantastic straps, but also because Micah is an avid watch collector himself, and a prominent and passionate Paneristi. He attends many GTG's and I don't think that there's a single Paneristi out there that doesn't know who Micah is. As a watch collector, Micah spent several years buying straps himself. As several of the straps that he bought fell far short of his expectations, he figured he could do a better job himself. And he was right about that.

Vintager straps by Micah
Vintager straps by Micah

Micah is a full time strap maker, with emphasis on the word maker. As opposed to quite a few others out there, Micah single handedly makes every strap himself. And to the exact specifications of the buyer if so requested. I've bought straps of Micah in the past - before he and I had ever met - and I was impressed by how he handled my requests. Especially about how he kept me informed of the process and the status and also how he was clear up front about how long it would take before I would receive my strap. There wasn't a moment that I was in the dark about what was going on and that was quite refreshing compared to experiences that I've had with other strap makers. The whole experience was very pleasant and I was of course very happy with the strap that I received.

Vintager straps French Canvas, Clipper and Brindle
Left to right: French Canvas, Clipper and Brindle

I recently asked Micah to send me a few straps for a post on and I received the three in the above photo. FYI Micah doesn't sponsor this blog nor do I get a free strap or whatever. I'm just a fan of Micah's work and I sincerely respect him as a Paneristi.

Vintager straps French Canvas
Vintager straps French Canvas with 1886 Tan stitching

The first strap is Micah's French Canvas strap with 1886 Tan stitching. It's showing on a Panerai 2A in the above photo. It has a single floating keeper. This is a very cool looking strap. If you're looking for something extraordinary then this is it.

Vintager straps French Canvas
The inside of the strap is made out of leather

The inside of the strap is made out of soft tan leather and it is stamped "M.Dirksen Maker Napa Valley USA". I've tried it on the wrist only briefly but this is a comfortable strap regardless of its rugged looks. The canvas strap is same style strap as the one that comes with the SE PAM300 Mare Nostrum (photo below).

Panerai PAM300 Mare Nostrum
Panerai PAM300 Mare Nostrum

The second strap is the Clipper. The leather is very soft and feels great to the touch. The photo below shows how well the stitching is done, the work of a skilled strap maker no doubt. This version of the Clipper strap came with a straight Pre-V style buckle, but I'm sure it can be ordered with any style buckle you want.

Vintager straps by Micah, Clipper
The Clipper with a straight stainless steel buckle

This strap comes with two keepers, one fixed and one floating. The keepers are slightly wider than the OEM keepers. The color is very nice looking brown, quite different than the color of other brown straps in my box.

Vintager straps by Micah, Clipper
The Clipper showing on a Panerai PAM000

The last strap is Micah's Brindle. This is probably one of Micah's most famous straps together with his Mauser straps that you should also check out on the Vintager Straps website. Or maybe I just think it is because I've seen so many Panerai wrist shots on the fora with this strap...

Vintager straps by Micah, Brindle
Micah's Brindle strap on a PAM243

The Brindle strap has great texture as you can see in the photos. Its color is brown/reddish. Like the Clipper, the leather of this strap is extremely soft and therefor one of the most comfortable straps you can imagine. The craftsmanship is nothing less than excellent, as is true for all of Micah's straps I've seen in person.

Vintager straps by Micah, Brindle
The Brindle

Here's one more pic of the French Canvas on my 2A, just because I like it so much:

Vintager straps by Micah, French Canvas
French Canvas on a Panerai 2A

Micah's website is worth checking out. It has many great pictures and examples of other straps. You'll also find further information about pricing and ordering there. BTW Micah also offers straps for other watch brands, not just for Panerai watches.

Related posts

An overview of posts about straps on

Friday, October 29, 2010

Vintage Panerai

Panerai is of course well known for its military roots. But you don't get so see many of the original watches often. The vintage pieces are rare and the current price range of such pieces sadly places these watches outside of the possibilities of most collectors. As is of course the case with all sought after items, regardless of what they are.

I was however lucky enough to have had the opportunity to admire and photograph quite a few of those rare birds last year for the Paneristi calendar. Here are some of the photos that haven't been published before, some are in the 2010 calendar but most are not.

Panerai vintage Trittico
Vintage Panerai "Trittico"

The above photo shows a set that is known as the "Trittico", a depth gauge, a compass and the Luminor 6152/1. I've chosen to post this particular photo because it was not selected for the calendar. Another - similar - version was used instead.

Panerai vintage 6154 Small Egiziano
Ref 6154 - Small Egiziano

The piece above is also known as the small "Egiziano" (Egyptian). It was made for the Egyptian navy in the fifties. Note that it has "Radiomir" on the dial. The contemporary Radiomirs don't have lugs like this vintage piece, they come with so called wire loops instead. Like the ones that the 3646 in the below picture uses. The wire loops that were used on the vintage models are however welded onto the case, as opposed to those on the modern Radiomirs that can be removed so that you change straps. The Ref 3646 exists in many variations as shown in the following photos.

Panerai vintage 3646
Ref 3646

To find out more about these vintage pieces I suggest that you have a look at the by Ralf and Volker, two absolute authorities with regards to vintage Panerai watches and instruments.

Panerai vintage 6152
Ref 6152

As you can see in the above photo, the vintage watches were more or less a combination of the modern Radiomir and Luminor watches. Many of those models (3646) have lugs, but no crown guard.

Panerai vintage 3646
Ref 3646 - brown dial and engraved bezel

Panerai vintage 6152 blue dial
Ref 6152 - blue dial

The 3646 variation with the California dial (below) is my personal favorite. The SE PAM249 was a re-edition of this model. You can find photos of the 2006 special edition here: PAM249 Radiomir 1936 California dial.

Panerai vintage 3646
Ref 3646 - California dial

The photo below shows the vintage Luminor 6152/1. The dream of many Panerai enthusiasts is for Panerai to produce a re-edition of this model which is referred to as the "Base Fiddy" ie a 47mm 1950's style case and no sub seconds dial. Who knows, I'd be interested (understatement of the year).

Panerai vintage 6152/1
Ref 6152/1 Panerai Luminor

I've posted more photos on Wake up you vintage lovers....
There's also a link on


Related posts

An overview of all watch posts on

Thursday, October 14, 2010

PAM114 Base with a white dial

I took these photos of the Panerai PAM114 a while ago. The PAM114 is an unusual Panerai because of its white dial.

Panerai PAM114 White dial Luminor base
Panerai PAM114 Luminor base with a white dial

Like it is often the case, this is a watch that I would never have considered for myself until I saw it in person. The 114 and the 113 (with sub seconds dial) are often referred to as women's Panerai watches. And although I agree that the PAM114 will look great on any woman, calling it a woman's watch is kind of odd. It may actually be one of the coolest base Panerai watches, for both women and men.

Panerai PAM114 White dial Luminor base
The numbers are black with Luminova dots

Panerai first produced this model in 2002 (E series) and it still is in production. According to the millesimation database on however, no units were produced in 2007 (J).

Panerai watches are known for their legibility, because of their size but also because of the Luminova and Tritium that is used to make it possible to read the time in the dark. The numbers on the dial PAM114 however are black. The dial of the 114 has Luminova dots at the position of the hours, to ascertain that one can still read the time in the dark. The painted dial has all the numbers, as opposed to most Panerai base watches that usually only have the 3,6,9 and 12 on the dial.

Panerai PAM114 White dial Luminor base
Shown here on its rubber dive strap

The last photo shows the PAM114 next to a Panerai base watch that is more common, the PAM112 with its large numerals and sandwich dial.

Panerai PAM114 White dial Luminor base
The PAM114 next to the PAM112 (on the right)

Related posts

An overview of watch posts
PAM55 Titanium Luminor base
PAM176 Titanium Luminor base
PAM112 Polished steel Luminor base

Friday, September 17, 2010

Straps by Julien Landa - part I

Julien Landa is an accomplished artist who is famous for his amazing oil paintings of mostly still lifes and landscapes. You can see some examples of Julien's oil paintings on his website. Besides being an artist, a fellow Dutchman and a true gentleman, Julien is a well known and skilled strap maker. Certainly within the Panerai community, Julien is very well known for his artistic strap creations which Julien calls "Art for the wrist". This blog would of course not be complete without at least a few entries dedicated to Julien's work. And so I received ten different straps to post about.

Various straps by Julien Landa / landastraps
Nine of the ten different straps by artist Julien Landa

All the straps are completely made by hand from start to finish and Julien uses a variety of the finest leathers. The straps are without a doubt all very well made.

The first strap, shown below on a Panerai PAM127 aka Fiddy, is a chocolate brown 26mm strap. The leather has been treated to get a distressed look. It is cut from a very soft cow hide. The color of the stitches matches that of the strap although it's a slightly lighter brown. The sewn in buckle is a straight pre Vendome style buckle. This is a beautiful and very comfortable strap.

Chocolate brown strap by Julien Landa / landastraps
Chocolate brown strap by Julien Landa / landastraps

Chocolate brown strap by Julien Landa / landastraps
Panerai PAM127 with Julien's chocolate brown distressed strap

Chocolate brown strap by Julien Landa / landastraps
Pre Vendome style buckle

Judging by how often I've seen people post about this particular strap (below) on the various fora, the "Stonewashed Blue jeans Special Edition" strap must be one of Julien's most famous straps. This is a very unique strap finished by hand to achieve this Blue jeans look. The tip of the strap is brown as is the fixed keeper.

Stonewashed Blue jeans Special Edition on Panerai PAM233
Stonewashed Blue jeans Special Edition on PAM233

Various straps by Julien Landa / landastraps
The Blue jeans strap comes with a sewn in buckle

The reddish brown strap showing on the Panerai PAM000 (logo) below is made from Julien's finest leathers. According to Julien this leather will develop an amazing patina over time. The strap that I received already shows this. It is definitely one of my favorites amongst the ones that I received and it's quite unlike any other strap I have seen before.

Panerai PAM000 logo with a strap from Landa Straps
Panerai PAM000 showing Julien's Reddish brown strap

Various straps by Julien Landa / landastraps
Landa Straps Reddish Brown strap

The fourth strap is a light brown cow hide strap with a fine grain and off-white or cream stiches. The leather kind of reminded me of a school bag I used to have as a kid. It's very supple and its finishing is slightly glossy as you can see in the below photos. The strap is showing on a Panerai PAM233.

Light brown strap by Landa straps on a PAM233
Light brown strap on a Panerai PAM233

Light brown strap by Landa straps on a PAM233
The strap comes with a nice brushed steel buckle

The last strap in this post is this very distressed looking brown cow hide strap. Julien tells me that the original leather looks the way it does, he does not treat it to make it look this distressed. Photos don't do it justice at all. This is a very cool strap that you have to see in person.

Distressed brown strap by Landa straps on a PAM000
Distressed brown strap on a Panerai PAM000 (Logo)

Distressed brown strap by Landa straps on a PAM000
Click the photos for a larger version

A post about the other straps will follow shortly. In the meantime you can have a look on the website where several ready made straps are offered for sale. You can also find some excellent Panerai photos there.

You can see the rest of the photos (41) on Landa Straps.

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen - Do not use without permission.

Related posts

New Kaktus Straps contemporary line
Gunny Straps
An overview of all the posts about straps on

Monday, September 13, 2010

PAM176 G Luminor Base Titanium

The Panerai PAM176 is a base titanium Luminor with a 44mm case. Panerai started production of this model in 2004. There are 400 units in the 2004 G series, 800 for H, 800 for I, 700 for J and another 800 in the K series (2008). And the watch is currently still in production but I don't know the numbers that were produced in 2009 and 2010.

Panerai PAM176 Luminor Base Titanium
Panerai PAM176 G Luminor Base titanium 44mm

What makes the G model unique is that after G, the PAM176 was fitted with a sandwich Luminova dial. As you can see in the photos, this watch has a painted dial. Furthermore, the G version of the PAM176 still has the Panerai engraved bridges that you can see through the crystal case back of the watch. 2004 was also the year when Panerai started to use the slightly larger crown guard on the Luminor models. Even though there are well over 3,000 PAM176 watches in total, there are only 400 units of this special G model.

Panerai PAM176 Luminor Base Titanium
The PAM176 G has a painted Luminova dial

The PAM176 has the hand wound mechanical Panerai OP X calibre with swan's neck regulator for precise adjustments. The power reserve is 56 hours. The 44mm case and the bezel are brushed titanium. The watch has a 3.5mm thick sapphire crystal and it has a depth rating of 30 bar (300 metres). The photo below shows the see-through case back and the Panerai engraved bridges.

Panerai PAM176 Luminor Base Titanium
The watch has a crystal case back and the Panerai engraved bridges

The strap that is showing in these photos is not the original OEM strap that comes with the watch. It's a French military strap by David Lane Design. You can find more information about this particular strap here.

Panerai PAM176 Luminor Base Titanium
Click the photos for a larger version

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen - do not use without permission

Related posts

PAM55 Luminor Base with a tobacco dial
PAM112 Luminor Base
Two base watches - 11 years difference
An overview of Panerai watches on this blog