Tuesday, July 27, 2010

PAM277 Luminor Chrono Monopulsante GMT

The Panerai PAM277 is a special edition watch that was introduced at the SIHH in 2007. Panerai produced only 250 units of this chronograph with its stunning blue dial. I've written it a dozen times before I'm sure, but again - photos really don't do the watch justice. In person, it will knock you of your feet. Whether you like gold watches or not. It has a 1950's style case in 44mm and it is made out of solid 18ct pink gold. The case, the crown guard and the mono pusher button are all brushed but the bezel is polished.

Panerai PAM277 Luminor Chrono Monopulsante GMT
Panerai PAM277 Luminor Chrono Monopulsante GMT

In terms of functions or complications, the 277 is essentially the same watch as the ceramic PAM317, the titanium PAM311 and the stainless steel PAM275. All of these Panerai watches are powered by the in-house (manifattura) P.2004/1 movement, a hand-wound mechanical movement with a power reserve of 8 days and a unique complication that allows for a horizontal power reserve indicator on the dial. The depth rating is 100 meters as is usually the case for Panerai watches with a crystal case back.

Panerai PAM277 Luminor Chrono Monopulsante GMT
The 277 has an amazing blue dial

Furthermore this movement has a GMT function for a 2nd time zone and it has a chronograph function. Most chronographs have two buttons, one button to start and stop the chronograph and another button to reset it to zero. The monopulsante chronograph is operated by just a single button that you press to both start and stop the counter. The same button is pressed again to bring the seconds hand back to zero. Hence the name "monopulsante". The mono pusher is positioned at approximately the 7 o'clock position.

Panerai PAM277 Luminor Chrono Monopulsante GMT
The mono pusher is positioned at the 7 o'clock position

Besides the already mentioned complications, the watch also has a am/pm "dot" indicator and a seconds reset function. Oh and the 2mm thick crystal is domed, it's the same crystal that is used on for instance the 233 and the 270.

Panerai PAM277 Luminor Chrono Monopulsante GMT
The 277 comes with 18ct pink gold thumbnail buckle

The PAM277 comes with a brown alligator strap with off-white stitches and it has a 18ct pink gold thumbnail buckle (above). When the PAM277 was announced in 2006 it had a list price of a whopping 31,000 US Dollars. At this point in time you can probably get your hands on a used one if you don't mind spending between 27,500 and 29,500 USD. Or at least that's the price range I came across while searching on the Internet - out of curiosity, not because I have that kind of money of course. But if you do, you get a whole lot of watch for your money with this PAM277.

Panerai PAM277 Luminor Chrono Monopulsante GMT
Crystal case back

As you can see in the photos, this is a watch that has been worn. The gold shows some discoloration that can be polished out, but since this isn't my watch I left it this way.

Panerai PAM277 Luminor Chrono Monopulsante GMT
Click the photos for a larger version

All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen - do not copy without permissions

Related posts

PAM275 Stainless steel Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante
PAM311 Titanium Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante
PAM317 Ceramic Luminor 1950 Chrono Monopulsante

Saturday, July 24, 2010

David Lane Design Brushed Bridle strap

In addition to his amazing vintage leather straps, David Lane offers a variety of straps made from British bridle leather. The straps are available in different colors and finishes ranging from tan to chestnut and many colors in between. I received a chestnut brushed bridle strap together with the Yugoslavian ammo strap that I decided to buy.

David Lane Design British bridle strap
Brushed bridle strap by David Lane Design

Bridle leather is first grade cow hide that is traditionally used by saddle makers, because the leather is strong, weather resistant and durable. David has developed his own and exclusive technique to give bridle leather a unique vintage look and feel. The technique results in a finish that looks and feels like a fine wood grain, unlike anything I've ever seen before. You can see a selection of ready made bridle leather straps on David's website. You can also order custom made bridle straps to meet any specific requirements you may have.

David Lane Design British bridle strap on PAM127 aka Fiddy
Mounted on a Panerai PAM127 (Fiddy)

All of David's straps are completely hand made from start to finish. That includes cutting the hides, stitching, hand sanding and burnishing of the edges and so on. The buckles come from a manufacturer in New York and are hand finished and sewn into the strap by David.

David Lane Design British bridle strap
The GPF style buckle is sewn into the strap by hand

In my opinion David's straps really do stand out from the crowd, you just get that sense of quality when you look and feel the strap. This strap fits perfectly at the lugs and the leather is stiff but comfortable. The brushed finish is just incredible and its color seems to change depending on the light. It really is a unique looking high quality strap, made with pride by a skilled strap maker.

David Lane Design British bridle strap on PAM127 aka Fiddy
The bridle strap looks amazing on a Fiddy

All of David's straps come with a mahogany wooden box that you can use to store your straps (see photo below). It's just that extra touch that makes receiving one of those straps a little bit more special. Eye for detail is a necessity if you want to stand out like David does.

David Lane Design British bridle strap
David's straps come with a mahogany strap box

David's website is www.davidlane-design.com. You can also find David Lane Design on Facebook.

David Lane Design British bridle strap
Click the photos for a larger version

You can view a gallery with more photos on paneristipix.com.

Related posts

Yugoslavian ammo strap by David Lane Design
An overview of entries about straps

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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Panerai PAM219 Luminor Base Destro

The Panerai PAM219 is a so called Destro watch. Destro watches are designed for left-handed people and intended to be worn on the right-hand wrist. I'm not sure but I think that Panerai was first to use the term Destro as Panerai are an Italian company and Destro is Italian for Right. The only real difference between regular watches and destro watches, is that the winding crown is on the left side of the case (at the 9 o' clock position) which allows a left-handed person to wind it while holding the watch in the right hand.

Panerai PAM219 Luminor Base Destro
Panerai PAM219 Luminor Base Destro

Winding a Panerai Luminor watch on the wrist is possible, but it's not very convenient because of the crown protector. There are quite a few people that are not left-handed, but that still buy and wear destro watches. Perhaps because of the unique design, and look and feel. Or perhaps it is their rarity that makes these models more collectible for some. Destros can of course be worn on either wrist. If you wear it on your left wrist the crown is obviously facing up.

Panerai PAM219 Luminor Base Destro
Display back

The PAM219 is a hand-wound mechanical base watch - just hours and minutes. The case is 44mm, it has a sandwich dial and it has a display back. Its depth rating is 30 bar or 300 metres - despite its case back crystal. The movement is Panerai's OP X calibre - which is a modified ETA 6497 movement with a swan's neck regulator. Panerai introduced this movement in its watches in 2002. It is a reliable movement that can be maintained by many watch makers. It is currently used in the Panerai Luminor models PAM219, PAM112, PAM114, PAM176, and PAM116. The following Radiomirs also have the OP X calibre; PAM210, PAM231, PAM232, PAM249 and PAM262.

Panerai PAM219 Luminor Base Destro
Close up of the crown at the 9 o'clock position and the sandwich dial

Panerai has produced relatively small numbers of the PAM219. Production started with 500 units in 2005 (H-Series). In the following years Panerai produced 200 units for the I-series, 400 units for the J-series and another 400 units for the K-series (2008-2009). The production numbers for 2010 are not finite to my knowledge, but the watch is still in production.

Besides the position of the crown, the 219 is the same watch as the Panerai PAM112 Luminor Base (below).

Panerai PAM219 and PAM112
The PAM219 next to the PAM112

There are other brands that sell destro watches but to my knowledge not as many models as Officine Panerai. One of the more sought after Panerai destro watches is the Panerai PAM217 Destro Marina Militare. The PAM217 is a special edition (2005) with a 47mm 1950's style case. Only 1,000 pieces were made. The watch is sometimes referred to as the Destro Fiddy (PAM127).

Panerai PAM217 47mm Destro
The PAM217 Destro Marina Militare 47mm

And then there's of course the infamous PVD PAM26 that was original produced in 1998 and 1999 only (200 and 500 units respectively). Panerai produced a Special Edition re-release of the 26 in 2008 (1000 units). Other Vendome era Panerai destro watches are the PAM22 (700 units total in the A and B series), the PAM56 (800 units total in the C and D series), the PAM115 (800 units total (E, F and G-series), the PAM117 (300 units in the E-series) and the PAM123 (800 units in E, F and G). Panerai launched the first left-handed version of one of their models during the 1950's. That vintage wrist watch is now a part of the Panerai museum collection.

Related posts

Panerai PAM112 Luminor Base 44mm

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

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Top 20 photos according to the Paneristi

Last week I asked on Paneristi.com if people wanted to help me choose five photos from 64 Panerai photos that I selected. There were 171 responses - but I stopped counting the votes after the first 163 replies.

You can view the post on paneristi.com with all 64 pictures and the responses here.

The twenty photos below received the most votes. You can click the pictures for a larger version.












Panerai PAM243
#1 Panerai PAM243 - 80 votes
Panerai 201/A
#2 Panerai 5218-201/A - 48 votes
Panerai PAM127
#3 Panerai PAM127 - 41 votes
Panerai
#4 Panerai cases & crystals - 40 votes
Panerai PAM28
#5 Panerai PAM28 - 39 votes
Panerai PAM339
#6 Panerai PAM339 - 34 votes
Panerai PAM2 A
#7 Panerai PAM2 A - 33 votes
Panerai PAM249
#8 Panerai PAM249 - 31 votes
Panerai PAM232
#9 Panerai PAM232 - 30 votes
Panerai PAM316
#10 Panerai PAM316 - 28 votes
Panerai PAM127
#11 Panerai PAM127 - 22 votes
Panerai PAM243
#12 Panerai PAM243 - 20 votes
Panerai PAM249
#13 Panerai PAM249 - 18 votes
Panerai PAM330
#14 Panerai PAM330 - 16 votes
Panerai PAM268
#15 Panerai PAM268 - 15 votes
Panerai PAM210
#16 Panerai PAM210 - 14 votes
Panerai PAM232
#17 Panerai PAM232 - 14 votes
Panerai PAM339
#18 Panerai PAM339 - 13 votes
Panerai PAM243
#19 Panerai PAM243 - 12 votes
Panerai PAM127 PAM233
#20 PAM127+PAM233 - 12 votes


Related post

Selecting five favorite Panerai photos

© 2010 M.Wilmsen - do not copy without permissions

Friday, July 16, 2010

Color management, calibration and saving photos for the web

If there's one photography subject that's complicated and confusing at first, it must be color management. It definitely kept me busy for a while. There are so many aspects that you need to understand and deal with, it can be quite overwhelming. But if you want to step it up a notch, you just can't get away from learning more about the fundamentals with regards to color spaces and color management. Even when you have mastered using your camera's white balance settings effectively, chances are that the recorded colors are not accurate. And on top of that, you can't rely on the colors being accurately displayed on your screen. Double trouble.

I'm not claiming to be a color management expert - I certainly have a lot more to learn when it comes to this subject myself. But I do believe that others can benefit from my experience with the tools that I've bought and how I use those to help me improve my color management work flow:

1) Photoshop CS4,
2) a Spyder3Xpress for monitor calibration and
3) the X-Rite ColorChecker passport system to ensure a correct white balance.

For the record, this website doesn't sell anything and I'm not being sponsored by the makers of the products I'm describing. This is simply a description of what I use and how I do it, nothing more, nothing less.

Monitor calibration


To be able to tell if the colors in your photos are seen as intended, it is essential that you work with a calibrated monitor. Managing to correctly display colors on your screen is one thing, things get even worse when you want to print your photos. Without color management procedures, the print will probably look nothing like what you see on your screen. That nice bright red may all of sudden be purple and what you thought was black turns out to be dark blue... Frustrating and expensive, especially if you've spent a lot of money on fine art paper and ink. But even if you only post photos on websites, others may see completely different colors compared to what you see on your monitor.

The first step is calibrating your monitor. Most operating systems have some software to help you do that and of course you may like to fiddle with your contrast, brightness and what buttons have you. But at best, you'll end up with settings that look pleasing to your eyes. That still doesn't mean that it will look the same on other screens, let alone in print. That just doesn't work, there are too many factors involved in getting it right.


Spyder3Express (picture by DataColor)

Spyder3Xpress


The answer to my own ongoing problems while trying to get it right was however as simple as can be. I got myself a Spyder3Express. It is a simple device that you position on your monitor and you run the included software to automatically generate a correct profile. The software also makes sure that the profile is loaded into your graphics adapter every time you boot up your system.

Spyder3Express is relatively cheap (I paid approximately 80 Euro), it's reliable and it will do the job for you without you having to spend time on the how and why of monitor calibration. Perfect, one problem solved. Certainly, but you do have to remember that the Spyder3Express will create a monitor profile given the then current conditions. For instance, the ambient light plays an important role in how colors are "seen" by the device. But if your working conditions are generally the same then a single profile will suffice. If not, e.g. when you last calibrated your screen at night and you need to edit your work during the day, then you may want to recalibrate before you start editing your photos. It only takes a few minutes, but it will make a huge difference.

Using the X-Rite ColorChecker


Before moving on to the next subject, it is essential that you shoot RAW and that you know how to work with the Camera Raw plugin for Photoshop. If you want to be in control of your colors, there's no alternative for shooting RAW. You may want to read Shooting RAW versus JPEG first.

My next purchase in order to get the colors right, was the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. A fellow Paneristi advised me to get it and so I did. When I first received it I thought that I had paid about 100$ for a simple piece of plastic with a bunch of colored squares... I could have just printed a color card myself. I was wrong of course. Once I fully understood what it is and how to use it, it became a valuable part of my workflow and it's absolutely worth what you pay for it.


This picture shows 3 ColorCheckers and the CD that comes with it

ColorChecker Passport is actually a system that comes with software to create DNG (digital negative) profiles for Camera Raw (the Photoshop plug-in to convert RAW files). This may sound complicated at first, but using the ColorChecker is very simple and it really is an end-all solution to white balance problems.

Shooting with the ColorChecker tool


Once you have your lights set up and you are ready to start shooting, put the ColorChecker clearly visible in the scene and take a shot. Once you have done that, you can continute to shoot like you normally do. When you make changes to the lighting setup - e.g. when you move your lights or when you change the output power of your strobes - it is best to first shoot the ColorChecker again before you continue taking the rest of your shots.

Creating a profile with the ColorChecker software


When you start editing your RAW files, you first load the shot with the ColorChecker in it, into the software that comes with it. Simply start the software and drag the RAW file on its main window (see picture below).

X-rite ColorChecker Passport creating a profile
Creating a DNG profile with the ColorChecker software

The software will automatically find the color squares and you can check if it has done so correctly by looking at the green boxes that it draws (above). If everything is ok, you just click the Create Profile button. Save the profile with a name that indicates the shoot for which you have created it, because you'll have to select the profile by its name later on. On my system it takes about 5 seconds to create and save the profile.

X-rite ColorChecker Passport selecting the profile in Adobe Camera Raw
Applying your profile to a single file in Camera Raw (Photoshop)

Applying your camera profile to your RAW files


Now open the first file you want to edit in Camera Raw, and click the Camera Calibration icon on the right hand side (as shown in the above picture). The new profile that you created will automatically appear in the camera profile dropdown box - shown in the red oval in the screen shot. Select it and your done. Brilliant.

It would be time consuming if you would have to do this for every single file, but luckily you won't have to do that. You can apply the same profile to many files at once. Here's how to do it on a Windows machine. First make sure that Photoshop is running. Go to Windows explorer (Windows-key+E) and click the files you want while holding down the Ctrl-key on your keyboard. Now drag the RAW files onto Photoshop. The Camera Raw plugin will open and all your files are displayed on the left hand side. Select all the files by clicking the first one and then then the last one while holding down the Shift-key. Click the Camera calibration icon on the right and select the DNG profile that you created earlier. Finally click the Synchronize button on the top left and you're done.

X-rite ColorChecker Passport selecting the profile in Adobe Camera Raw
Applying your profile to multiple RAW files at once

Color spaces and saving files for the web



Explaining all there is to know about Color Spaces here would go beyond the scope of what I'm trying to explain. It is important to at least know that there are different Color Spaces and that the Color Space that you use must match your output. E.g. for a website or for a print. If you want in-depth information, then read this article explaining the Color Space fundamentals on Wikipedia.

To keep it simple, websites will display images using sRGB. Your file however is most likely Adobe RGB (check your camera's settings to be sure). The range of colors in Adobe RGB is so speak much wider than that of sRGB. As a result a web browser will convert your colors into something that's close to what the original file is like. The results are generally disappointing.

Luckily, Photoshop has a function built-in to optimize and convert your file to sRGB. I store my original files without converting them, because I don't want to limit myself in terms of what I can use the files for later. And so I create separate files that are for web use only. In Photoshop resize your image first, in the menu, choose Image, Image size or press Alt+Ctrl+i on Windows (see picture below).

Resizing the file


Photoshop resize dialog
The Photoshop resize dialog

In the resize dialog (above), make sure that the boxes Scale styles, Constrain Proportions and Resample Image are checked and that you have selected Bicubic as the resampling method. I generally resize files for web use to 1024 pixels on the longest side. There are many tools out there to resize images but trust me, nothing beats Photoshop when it comes to resampling files. Note that although the resolution for websites is 72 dpi, you won't have to change these settings when you resize your file. The Save for web function - which is described next - will automatically take care of this for you.

Saving a file for web use
Saving a file for the web

Saving for the web


Now that the file has the right size, choose File, Save for Web & Devices in the menu or press Alt+Shift+Ctrl+S (on Windows). The above dialog appears. I have put red circles where the most important settings are in the screen shot. On the top right be sure to select JPEG. Choose Very high as the quality option. Make sure to check the boxes Optimized and Convert to sRGB. At the bottom on the right select Bicubic - although this setting won't do anything if you leave the size settings alone which you should because you have already resized your file as described in the previous paragraph. I've just made it red to show that you can resize with this dialog too. Finally click the Save button to convert and save your file. Don't accidentally save your original file because you have resized it!

Feedback


If you find this post helpful, if you have remarks, questions of anything to add - then please post a comment. Your feedback is appreciated.

© 2010 M.Wilmsen - do not copy without permission

Related posts

Shooting RAW versus JPEG
An overview of technique posts on wristwatchphoto.com

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yugoslavian ammo strap by David Lane Design

When I received an e-mail from David Lane - asking if I wanted to take pictures and review a few straps of his - the first thing I did was checking out his website. To be honest, I had never heard about David Lane Design before. And I do check out the accessories corner on Paneristi.com regularly. Let me tell you, visiting the website was a very pleasant surprise. Especially the page with "Military leather watch straps".

David Lane Design Yugoslavian ammo strap
Yugoslavian ammo strap by David Lane Design (Rochester NY)

There are many great looking straps made from vintage military leather on that page, but there was a Yugoslavian ammo strap that immediately caught my eye. The leather looked perfectly distressed and stained. A great match for a Fiddy. And so I replied David that I would love to take a few photos of his straps, but if he could please include that Yugoslavian ammo strap in his package. I wanted to see if it was as nice in person as it looked in the photo. David has a photography background and he certainly has some excellent photos on his website, but when I received the strap in the mail I was stunned by how amazing it actually is in person.

David Lane Design Yugoslavian ammo strap on Panerai PAM127
Yugoslavian ammo strap by David Lane Design

David Lane Design Yugoslavian ammo strap
Click the photos for a larger version

The texture of this strap is just fantastic and you can even smell the gun powder just a little bit. Seriously, you can. All of David's ammo straps are truly one of a kind because he uses real vintage military leather. Such leather is generally richly stained and distressed. That makes the straps unique and in many cases impossible to duplicate. That is of course not unique to David's ammo straps as there are quite a few strap makers that use vintage leathers. But not all types of vintage ammo leathers are equally nice. And not all ammo straps are built as well as this one. In my experience the Swiss ammo leather is a bit too stiff. The French and Swedish ammo leathers generally seem to be the softest and most comfortable to wear. But the downside of the softer leathers seems to be that the leather will stretch after some wear. That may cause you to end up with a strap that is too loose after a while, although it fitted just fine at first. You can always punch an extra hole of course - but no one I know wants to have to punch a hole between two existing holes. That just ruins the strap. I don't think I've ever seen a strap made from this type of Yugoslavian ammunition pouch leather before, but in terms of suppleness the leather appears to be somewhere in the middle between French and Swiss ammo - which is just perfect.

David Lane Design Yugoslavian ammo strap on Panerai PAM127
The vintage leather is beautifully distressed and stained which makes it a unique strap

David (Rochester NY) tells me that he specializes in custom watch straps. All of his straps are completely hand made and many of his straps are truly one of a kind. The stitching is a waxed nylon thread from a manufacturer in New Jersey. Each hole for the stitching is hand punched with a diamond awl (the shape) which results in an even overlap from one stitch to the next. David uses no machines whatsoever for this process, just two needles and one piece of thread.

David Lane Design Yugoslavian ammo strap
The top part of the leather is folded inside the bottom part

The Yugoslavian ammo strap (as are his other ammo straps) is assembled from two different leathers, vintage military leather for the top half and a vegetable tanned leather for the inside half. The inside leather is soft and free of dyes and solvents that might cause the skin to irritate. The top half of the leather doesn't touch the skin anywhere because the top leather loops around the lugs and beneath the bottom side (see above photo). This also makes the strap parts that are closest to the lugs stiffer than the rest of the strap. It fits perfectly on the wrist that way.

GPF-Mod Dep buckle by David Lane Design
GPF-Mod Dep buckle

The buckles that David uses come from a manufacturer in New York and are sewn into the strap by hand. The buckles can be hand finished upon request and there are currently three standard buckle designs that David has created himself. This particular strap came with a sewn-in buckle with GPF-Mod Dep engraved on the inside.

GPF-Mod Dep buckle by David Lane Design
GPF-Mod Dep buckle

Because it is a straight buckle, you can still see the engraving when you wear the watch. I love that. Each strap is shipped in a custom mahogany box which is also a very nice touch. I'm very happy that David contacted me, this might easily be a new favorite combo for my Fiddy. The specs of this strap are 90/160/26mm. It has a nice "tail" that is just perfect for my wrist.

Panerai PAM127 aka Fiddy
A perfect combo for a PAM127

David's website is www.davidlane-design.com. You can also find David on Facebook. I'll be reviewing another strap from David soon.

There are more photos of this strap and combo on paneristipix.com.

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

Related posts

An overview of entries about straps
Brushed bridle strap by David Lane Design
Lau & Van Leijden Sienna strap
Swedish "Gustav" ammo strap by Kevin Rogers
Six different straps for a PAM127 / Fiddy
Simona di Stefano vintage green crocodile strap