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

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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

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Panerai PAM360 Luminor DLC