(Genuine) Panerai PAM231 Radiomir 45mm in 18ct pink gold
Panerai's popularity obviously makes any model a target for the fake watch producers, but I can't really figure out why there are so many fakes of this particular model. Besides that perhaps base models are somewhat easier to copy because of the lack of complications. Luckily you can easily tell that most of those replica 231's are bad fakes as the color of the gold plating is way off. The original watch is solid 18ct gold, it's not gold plated. It's almost like they never saw a PAM231 in person and they just used the photos on the Panerai.com website to determine what the color should be like - more or less.
Close up of the case back of the PAM231 showing the swan's neck regulator
For your information, the color of the 231 in the main photo on the Panerai website is a little bit off too in my opinion - it is more yellowish in person. Of course the photo taking conditions and lighting setup largely determine how colors are represented in photos. Furthermore, quite a few of the fake ones either lack the swan's neck regulator (picture above) or have a really bad looking - probably non functional - version of it. Other dead giveaways are the generally very bad looking decoration of the bridges and the quality of the finishing in general. Can't say this enough, please do not support the replica industry by buying their crap, it's just wrong.
The sandwich dial has large cut-out numbers
Anyway, the real deal PAM231 is a very striking watch in person. Much more than I would have guessed before seeing it up close. The PAM231 is a perfect dress watch for any Panerai enthusiast. Besides the material used for the case - 18 ct pink gold versus stainless steel - the PAM231 has the same specs as the base Radiomir 45mm PAM210 that I posted about recently.
Click the photos for a larger version
The below picture shows the two watches next to each other. As you can see, the watches are identical besides of course that the 210 on the left has a polished steel case and besides the black hands of the 210 vs the gold ones on the 231.
Panerai PAM210 on the left next to the PAM231 on the right
A view of the case backs of the PAM210 (on the left) and the PAM231
Both watches have just hours and minutes (base), a sandwich dial with large numbers (12, 9, 6 and 3), a 45mm cushion shaped Radiomir case and a large onion shaped crown. The movement is Panerai's OP X calibre with 56 hours power reserve and a swan's neck regulator that can be seen through the sapphire crystal case back. The watch comes with a dark brown alligator strap with white stitches. It has a small thumbnail style buckle with the word Panerai engraved (below).
The buckle is 18ct pink gold with Panerai engraved
Panerai produced the first 1,000 units in 2006 (I series) and then another 500 units in 2008 (K). I haven't been able to find out if any more units were produced after 2008 - but I have had confirmation that the watch is now discontinued, i.e. no new units will be produced. My guess is that this has to do with the new pink gold PAM336 with the P.999 in-house movement. Also 18ct pink gold but its case measures 42mm and it is not a base, it has a sub seconds dial. The PAM336 is however not only smaller (42mm vs 45mm) it is also thinner, which is possible because of the size and height of the new P.999 movement.
The 2010 PAM336 Radiomir 42mm
Finally, here's a side view of the case and the crown with the OP (Officine Panerai) logo. As you can see (photo above and below), the crown of the PAM231 is larger than that of the new 42mm Radiomirs.
The crown with the OP logo
You can find more photos of the Panerai PAM231 on paneristipix.com.
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All photos © 2010 M.Wilmsen
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