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