March 2010

I have just tried out a new cleaning product designed specifically for watches called Veraet. I filmed a video of the first time I used this product, and how I felt they product seemed on first impressions. Overall a decent product. I’ll use it a few more times before I do a written review of Veraet Watch Cleaner.

Here’s the Laco Flieger Watch Video review that I posted to Youtube, as a follow up to my previous written review of the Laco watch here, around a year ago. Its taken me a long time to get some of these video reviews up, but I will – I promise! Enjoy the video.

I’ve never owned an homage Panerai before, only real Panerai’s and I have handled a fake that a friend of mine purchased. This is the first Homage I’ve owned, and I bought it used on Timezone. The watch has had a few owners already, and when it came to me, the brushed finish looked a bit re-done, at least compared with any of the factory finished watches I’ve purchased in the past. Overall, however, the watch is very nice with excellent lume and an awesome crystal.

As you can see, the dial is a black sandwich-style, with Swiss Super Luminova. This baby glows BRIGHT and long, just like my real Pannies. While this watch is meant to be similar to the original PAM127 “Fiddy”, its not meant to be an exact replica. The device protecting the crown does not have the “REG TM” marking on it, and also the protector lever points upwards on this Homage, as opposed to downwards on the original. The handes are all gold, just as they are on the original. The case, while well made and finished in 316L stainless steel, does not have quite the same level of precision that my real Panerai cases have. The surfaces around the lugs are not perfect, which is typical of lower-quality finished watches.

As you can see, the dial is marked “Marina Militare” as many of the Homages are. Under a loupe, the writing a crisp and precise. The replica that I examined did not have the same level of quality in the printing. The dial on this watch is marked Swiss, but I’m not sure if its because the dial is Swiss made or what. JOA is an Engineer based in the US and he makes the watches himself, so I don’t know how that works.

The edges on the device protecting the crown are not as sharp as the real ones, with a bit more rounded edges, either as a result of too much re-touching or lower quality final finish. The super-domed sapphire crystal looks amazing, giving the distorted edge look around the dial, making the numbers have that vintage look to them. When winding the watch, there is very little friction and and the winding crown bounces back quickly, this leads me to believe there is no o-ring or gaskets in the crown itself.

Movement in the JOA is an ETA/Unitas 6497, essentially the same movement that is used in the PAM127. This movement, however, is a base calibre without the frills such as bevelled gears, swan’s neck fine adjustment and polished screws. The Panerai movement also has their custom decorated bridges and plates. Here you get a basic swiss-made 17 jewel movement.

Overall, its a wonderful watch. Likely not very waterproof, since there are no gaskets in the crown, but not a big deal for me. I think its a great Homage watch, and doesn’t carry the stigma associated with fakes. While I don’t think that an Homage is a fake, it is still a copy, and this watch still feels like a copy of a genuine item. I only buy real watches, and while this is not a replica, it still doesn’t feel like the real deal. This watch costs 1/20th of what a PAM127 would cost, so its much more affordable, and the quality of the watch is more than what would be expected at the pricepoint. However, its still has that feeling of being a copied watch. That will be a personal point for purchasers, and won’t apply to every buyer.

Otherwise, I think its a great watch for the money, and gives you a lot of the fun of owning a PAM without buying a fake. Many of the Homage dealers out there also sell fakes, but Johel (JOA) does not sell fakes, which makes the watch a little better on the Karma scale.

This article is about my search for a suitable aftermarket Omega deployant, and my negative shopping experience with wholesaleoutlet990, the ebay seller that I purchased it from, and my conclusions that I have drawn from the experience.

The Shopping Experience

With the multitude of aftermarket deployant buckles out there, sometimes you want one that will work with your existing straps, whether is a real strap or not a real strap because you might not want to change the buckle every time. Thing is, deployant buckles are expensive, costing like $200+ from any of the major Swiss brands!

So, in my journey to find a suitable Omega deployant for my other Omega straps, I sought to find one on ebay since it seems to have the most variety. At first, the search began with looking for the terms “omega buckle”, which turned out huge amounts of buckles that “fit omega” watches, many of which are just regular buckles. I narrowed my search down to “omega deployant buckle”, and this helped tremendously. In searching for a direct replacement, I could not find any that looked almost identical to the Omega Deployant that I currently own, so I started reading descriptions and deciphering photographs to try and determine which ones might be functionally identical but aesthetically different. I finally found one where the picture might suggest that it works the same way but didnt’ show enough that it could be determined either way. This was our friend wholesaleoutlet990.

After reading the auction description for what seemed to be an esteemed seller of aftermarket watch parts such as rolex bezels and aftermarket buckle replacements, I came upon a few very prominent lines in their advertising:

“Q: Will This Item Fit My Watch Without Any Modifications?
A: Yes, All Items We Sell Are Made To Fit Your Watch Perfectly, We Guarantee It.”

As far as I understand it, so long as I ordered the right size, they guarantee that it will fit my watch perfectly without modifications. I proceeded to order my 18mm buckle for my 20-18mm Omega strap, confident that such a company would be helpful and courteous, and afterall, its a $12.40 buckle, what could go wrong?

Receiving the Buckle and Disappointment

I opened up the package, happy to install the new buckle on the brand new Omega Crocodile strap that I wanted to mount on it only to find out that the buckle does not work on the Omega Deployant Strap that i purchased. This was disappointing. I promptly emailed wholesaleoutlet990 and ask them what they would do.. they said they would refund me when I shipped it back. Since tracked shipping back to them would cost as much as I paid for the item since Canadian Shipping sucks, and I did not want to ship it back without tracking in case they claimed not to receive it, I asked that they reimburse my shipping expense back since it was their fault.

They refused. They claimed it was my mistake and that you could tell from the photos that it would not work the way they claimed it would, as a fitting my watch perfectly without modification. Obviously their gurantee means nothing. Now, a $12.40 buckle is very small change, but I don’t want anyone else to get duped by their policy, and its always nice to know what kind of people you are buying from.

They continued to deny that it was in any way their fault, even with their misleading titles. And the best part, his final email to me indicating that he wasn’t going to take a return and cover shipping was “for $12.95 worth you will be hero”. Whatever that means??

Now if it was my mistake, and not a misrepresented item, I would have ate the cost.. but these guys are misrepresenting items and deceiving people.

What I’ve learned from this is that eBay doesn’t protect anything for you, and lots of dealers on there regardless of feedback amount and rating are not good to deal with, no matter how much they say they care about customer service. Buyer beware, and I hope this helps other potential omega deployant clasp buyers from getting duped.

Another new model introduced at Basel World 2010 from Breitling is the Breitling for Bentley Limited Edition Supersports model. This is basically a Breitling for Bentley Motors/6.75 Case with a new dial and the Caliber 26B movement, same as in the Breitling for Bentley Mark VI. The specifications also mention a Titanium caseback, which I have yet to see a photo of.

Beautiful watch, but nothing especially new here… a nice bit of extra effort though for a limted edition model using the Motors Case.

Next Page »