Sun 28 Mar 2010
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.