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  1. #1
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    Default TEST: Officine Panerai Luminor Marina



    After its resurrection in 1993 when Officine Panerai started selling watches to the italian public, the brand experienced an unbelievable success. Especially after joining the Richemont group and becoming an international selling watch manufacture, Panerai is really running wild on the global market.

    It’s most distinctive locomotive, is probably the Luminor Marina with its famous half moon bridge over the crown. Belonging to Panerai’s classic collection, it is an homage to diving watches that were produced for the Italian and Egyptian Navy Frogmen in the early 1940’s. Actually, the origin Panerai wristwatch didn’t come with this crownguard feature. It was designed for the Italian Navy in 1936 by a small Italian company called “Guido Panerai & Figlio”, that later turned out as Officine (which means “workshop”) Panerai.

    The first watches handed out to the Italian admiralty were oversized Radiomir cushion cased watches with Rolex movements fitted in. But I don’t think it is necessary to retell the brands military past here, as it would give me enough content to fill another test and it has been told more than once, already.


    Just this: the brands role as a pioneer is an important one for the ongoing trend of large wristwatches. So when the first Pams hit the market outside of Italy, people were discussing these “tuna-cans”. But soon the advantages of large wristwatches were highly appreciated. A large dial together with a simple design make the instrument readout surprisingly easy – an ability on which military units rely on since mechanical watches are in use. And this is the origin of Officine Panerai.

    It is hard to describe what makes this watch so special. Most important factor might be the reduction to pure simplicity. The large matte black dial has lots of open spaces. There are two different versions of this dial, one consists of two parts, a bottom plate which is covered by a thick lay of superluminova and a top plate that has the indexes and numerals cut out. Together they create a 3 dimensional appearance and are a pleasure to look at. This is called “sandwich-dial”. The other style is even more simplistic, it has the superluminova carefully put on top of the surface (“sausage-dial”).

    (Picture courtesy of Slai)


    The hands are well proportioned and the minute hand can be distinguished from the hour and at a glance.
    The second hand is running at nine o’ clock, a feature that has its origin from a time when pocketwatch-movements were put into wristwatch cases. On the Luminor Base series, the display is reduced to minute and hour hand, which makes the watch even more puristic.

    (Picture courtesy of V)


    Over it all domes a single side glareproof sapphire crystal that almost perfectly aligns with the polished bezel. The whole case is polished, by the way, which makes the rather chunky cushion shape much more elegant. Only the distinctive crownguard is brushed on this particular model, giving a nice contrast.

    The genuine uses an OP XI movement, a handwound movement that is basically a decorated and modified ETA 6497. The rather functional-looking original bridge has been reshaped to give it an elegant curve. The word "Panerai" is engraved many times across the surface of the movement. This is an unusual and welcome alternative to the Geneva Waves and cloud-pattern decorations that have became an almost standard combination on movements inside other luxury brands’ watches.

    The edges of the bridges are beveled and polished. For several years, Panerai has replaced Unitas’ standard index assembly with a swan’s neck fine regulating system of its own.

    It is not easy especially for watchmaniacs like us to justify 3.5k Euro for a watch that uses basically a pimped ETA Unitas 6497, though. Still, it is a pleasure to view the beautiful decorated movement through the transparent pane of sapphire crystal in the back, which screws "Oyster style" into the Luminor’s case. This detail too is an innovation in which the watch departs from its historical predecessor.

    It is not a diving watch, though, as it is lacking of a diver-bezel and a dive-able strap. But it is pressure-resistant up to 30ATM. This is a very good rate for a non divers’ watch, in fact one of the best out there. And it is more than that. In fact, it is really a cult watch.







    How good is the replica?
    I got this watch from an American member in an unbeatable trade. The modder does not work on replicas anymore and wants to stay anonymous. I will respect this and not mention him.

    Like on almost every watch, it consists of 3 parts: bezel, caseback and body. Last mentioned is polished and looks visually indistinguishable from the gen – at least to me.
    I apologize to any Paneristi that might be offended by this statement, but you can believe me, I made my research on this watch and it was really hard to find a real “flaw”. I mean one like on a “sub case” with a wrong rehaut for example. The dimensions on the paper are correct anyway. As the bezel is not marked it is really not so distinctive, and easy to copy.

    The caseback has all correct engravings (if you’re puzzled about the meaning of the letters and numbers, here’s the answer, reading from top bottom: the ID-number of the case, the serial number, the number in the annual production and the maximal pressure resistance) and of course in its middle is the sapphire that gives view to the discontinued asian 6497 E-series movement. It is carefully engraved, unlike earlier versions on which the decoration was glued to and it has a dagger swanneck regulator. Some might say it is probably the best Panerai movement-clone ever made and certainly the most beautiful I ever owned, but still, an expert would be able to call it out instantly by the depth/finish of the engraving and the swanneck regulator.



    I asked my friend to remove the caseback so I can take a shot of it without the sapphire in its full beauty. Let me tell you that he was impressed by the attention to the detail and the finish of an Asian Unitas. He would have never believed me they were that good already. It is clean and oiled btw.


    Note that it really changes in appearance from different angles.



    We placed it on his cool Witschi Chronoscope, the same machine Watchtime tests with, too. He is pretty proud of this thing so I thought it is nice to mention it.

    The running results are really nice as well, please keep in mind that this watch never had been really regulated on a professional level.



    Usually, you can identify a replica easily by the crownguard with its lever: the lever feels wobbly and does not press in the crown as tight as a genuine would do. Honestly, we had real trouble spotting a difference to a genuine Pam on the “legendary” GTG in Brussels. The lever sits really tight in the half moon shaped guard, but unfortunately not as centered like on a gen.





    The pin that holds it in its place has been refinished and flattened to align with the guard.


    The lever itself has been modified, too. It was shaped to fit the thicker crown and for a more gen like appearance.



    The crown is pressed so tight into the seal inside the case, that it is really hard to turn it while locked. It is 2mm thick and 9.5mm in diameter (As I don’t have a slide gauge right now, it is rather hard to measure it EXACT. I will try to get the real dimensions of it for you, soon).


    It winds comfortable between thumb and indexfinger, I usually charge the movement every morning even though the power-reserve would allow a longer time-period.

    Together with the sealed caseback it gives this watch an ensured pressure-resistance at least up to 5ATM/5Bar, as the leak-checker proves.



    Probably the most work on this custom built timepiece was spent on the dial. I am glad for this, as the dial is the most distinctive part on any wristwatch in my opinion.
    The font was made ivory in a magic potion.

    I have no idea, what was used to give the dial font a more ivory look, but it works! It looks so much nicer than the bright white standard rep font.


    The indexes were carefully filled up with a Tritec superlume mix to meet a genuine sausage-dial luminosity. The advantage of this is of course the superb clearness over an out-of-the box replica sausage dial.

    The disadvantage is that a sausage dial should have a L SWISS L under the six-numeral, this has of course a L SWISS MADE L, like on any sandwich dial. This is plain wrong, a glaring flaw even Paneristi usually do not know of.



    I would never try to pass a replica as a gen anyway, as it is bad style in my opinion. And even worse, it ruins our hobby!


    It is easily the best lume on all of my watches. It glows so bright you can read a book with it in the dark and I don’t exaggerate here. When coming out of the sun it already starts glowing in daylight. (Sorry, I suck at lumeshots!)

    This one’s a lot nicer but not taken by me, I’m afraid. The watch, however, is the same…


    Same goes for the hands which were lumed on par with the indexes. Especially the small second hand makes it easy to check if the watch is running in the dark, a nice feature on a hand wound watch. With no minute-scale, it is kinda hard to read out the exact minute or even second though. I think this is a tribute to the rather relaxed Italian lifestyle, where a minute or two don’t matter. I really like this attitude, by the way.

    The hour and minute hand were shaped at the pinholes to sit better on the cannon pinion, which – of course – has been modified as well.

    It is basically a high cannon pin that has been sanded down to align perfectly with the upper hand.




    Over it all domes a single side glareproofed crystal with a light blue tint. Like on the gens it has more reflections, than a fully AR treated Breitling crystal, but in my opinion this is another tribute to the historic origin of the Luminor Marina series. This is why I won’t have it treated with K2222’s famous AR.



    The watch came on a hand made dark brown thick leather strap, which was treated with olive oil. This treatment gave it a really smooth feel and a vintage look.
    One nice thing on the luminor series is the idiot friendly strap system, you just have to unscrew the bar at the lughorns and you can change the strap. Even a sissy gen owner can do this… And naturally, gen owners are not as much into DIY as we are on the darker side.


    However, the strap fits this watch perfectly and it is the right combo to wear at the Indianer Jones 4 preview. It looks sturdy, elegant and stylish at the same time. The polished case gives a flashy touch, but the brushed bulky crownguard with the vintage leather make it look tough enough to beat up some Nazis or Ebay-Scammers.











    Looking at it right now, feeling the attention to the detail and of course all the work and time that were obviously spent in it, makes me somewhat proud to own it. Of course it has flaws, it is not genuine. But I enjoy wearing it in the sun, grin at the L SWISS MADE L, knowing it is a custom built one out of a few. And it will always glow for me when I take another walk on the dark side… This is our game and I love it.


    Have a very nice day!

  2. #2
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    Nice read SD..............

    love the 111.......don't have one yet..........good to know we can get it water resistant if needed............

    love the dial and Nice review
    "It's never too late to be who you might have been"

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  3. #3
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    Default

    Another wonderfull read!!

    Thanks

    btw, I think this dial was once a sandwich dial but has been filled with lume to make it a sausage dial. That's why it has the wrong swiss made. I might be wrong, but it could explain the wrong text.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimer View Post
    Another wonderfull read!!

    Thanks

    btw, I think this dial was once a sandwich dial but has been filled with lume to make it a sausage dial. That's why it has the wrong swiss made. I might be wrong, but it could explain the wrong text.
    Quote Originally Posted by seadweller4k View Post

    The indexes were carefully filled up with a Tritec superlume mix to meet a genuine sausage-dial luminosity. The advantage of this is of course the superb clearness over an out-of-the box replica sausage dial.

    The disadvantage is that a sausage dial should have a L SWISS L under the six-numeral, this has of course a L SWISS MADE L, like on any sandwich dial. This is plain wrong, a glaring flaw even Paneristi usually do not know of.
    Exactly!

  5. #5
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    oops, I missed that part

  6. #6
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    This has to be one of the best reviews of a watch I have ever read - great attention to detail and facts, but written in a way that also conveys your passion for the brand and love of the watch.....nice work seadweller, thanks!

  7. #7
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    Default

    Very nice! You did a great job on this review bro!

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    Very informative. THanks for taking the time.
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    CROWN for PAM ARKTOS 186

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    This post gets my vote for post of the week!

  10. #10
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    very nice tread
    good technicdetails
    ____________________________________

    WTB: Angelus Cal 240 Movement, Rolex 618, Cortebert 616+

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    Nice work. Have you received GB for this yet...you should get something! This is one of the best comprehensive threads for the Panerai mods I have seen. Thank you for the time and effort you put into this! Great read!

    BWP

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    Thank you all for your kind words!
    Btw, this beauty might be for sale, soon if this announcement is allowed.

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    I am wondering if the "magic potion" used on the dial as seen above is some kind of tomato paste concoction.

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    jeeeez, this really makes me wanna save all the doejoe up and drop onna GEN who would ever think of dousting a bracelet in "olive oil!" sweeeeeeetnes

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    wow great info and pics!!

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    I know this is an old article but I'm a fairly new member....great read....no AWESOME READ!

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    great review....any idea who makes that strap? beautiful combo.

  18. #18
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    After reading this i'm getting one...now wheres the chequebook.
    RJ

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    very well done! love it!

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    Need this.

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    Default

    Great pics.

  22. #22
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    Nice work with the mods

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    Nice review.

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