Panerai In-House Movements – A PAM Of Worms – Vintage Panerai and other iconic timepieces under the loupe at Perezcope

In my most up-to-date Instagram put up, I uncovered a well-guarded secret. The new P.9200 caliber utilized in Panerai’s lately launched chronograph household is a fundamental ETA 2892-A2 with Dubois Dépraz chronograph module. This unsettling episode opened a veritable can of worms.

Panerai’s new chronographs had been offered at Watches and Wonders in April 2021. Today the road consists of a complete of 5 fashions, 4 in stainless-steel and one in 18k gold. On metal fashions (PAM01109, PAM01110, PAM01218 and PAM01303 Luna Rossa), the motion is hid behind a stable caseback. The gold model (PAM01111) has a “show” caseback however the motion is barely seen behind a tinted sapphire crystal adorned with a clumsy wave sample. If I had been to guess, I might say the only real motive why Panerai geared up the gold model with a “see-through” caseback was to save lots of valuable gold materials.

Panerai PAM01111 Blu Notte

Given the title P.9200, all mainstream watch media shops assumed the brand new motion was in-house as Panerai historically used the prefix OP to establish externally sourced calibers. A very good instance from current historical past can be the OP XXXIV which powered various Luminor Due and Submersible fashions. The OP XXXIV was made by Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier, Richemont’s very personal motion producer. Richemont is a luxurious group that owns Panerai and several other different watch manufacturers comparable to Cartier, Jaeger LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, IWC, and many others.

It is alleged, Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier, along with a bunch of Richemont consultants, developed the aforementioned caliber for Richemont’s entry-level model Baume & Mercier the place it was marketed as Baumatic BM12-1975A. The attention-grabbing factor about its variant OP XXXIV is that Panerai dropped the title only in the near past. Today, and that is essential, the exact same motion goes by the title of P.900 and is showcased in Panerai’s in-house motion part.

Coming again to Watches and Wonders, Panerai by no means disclosed the P.9200 chronograph motion was an ETA caliber and neither did the corporate point out it was externally sourced. As a end result, nearly the entire main watch blogs mistakenly reported the P.9200 was a brand new in-house or manufacture motion. At this level, any critical firm would have reached out to the blogs to set the file straight however for some motive, Panerai didn’t.

Fast ahead to some days in the past, I stumbled upon an attention-grabbing touch upon Panerai’s official Instagram account. Someone had requested if the brand new P.9200 was an in-house motion. Panerai confirmed. I had heard of points associated to the most recent iteration of the P.9010 which not has hacking seconds, a characteristic that stops the second hand when the crown is pulled. What began with low cost snap-on casebacks and spring bars, seems to have advanced right into a neverending downward spiral of downgrades so I assumed it might be attention-grabbing to present the P.9200 a more in-depth look.

Through Google I got here throughout an image of the again of the 18k gold PAM01111 printed on Hodinkee the place the motion was comparatively nicely seen by means of an awkwardly adorned show caseback. Are these traces waves or worms? To my complete shock, the caliber was clearly a badly completed ETA or Selitta (Swiss ETA clone). How may this have escaped the Hodinkees? Klick the image under to take a more in-depth take a look at the end.

Caseback of the PAM01111 (Photo: Hodinkee)

Subsequently, I opened Panerai’s web site and located an image of the again however the see-through crystal was extraordinarily darkened (under on the left), in contrast to the Hodinkee image.

Caseback of the PAM01111 (Photo: Panerai)

After adjusting the brightness in Photoshop, I may clearly see ETA 2892-A2 stamps. An in-house motion, huh?

The ETA 2892-A2 by itself will not be a chronograph motion. To develop into one it requires a Dubois Dépraz chronograph module. Connecting the 2 is a regular modification. Top grade (Élaboré) ETA 2892 actions with DD module might be purchased on ebay for US$ 585. The P.9200 has no Élaboré ornament comparable to Côtes de Genève or Perlage, the floor is merely sandblasted. I think about if purchased in bulk straight from the producers, the set value for these is significantly lower than US$ 585, most likely someplace round US$ 300. Having such a motion in a US$ 10k or 27k watch could possibly be in comparison with opening the engine hood of your Porsche 911 solely to seek out out it has a Peugeot 3-cylinder engine.

The subsequent image exhibits a comparsion between a Tudor Heritage Chronograph 70330 which prices round US$ 3k and the PAM01111 with a price ticket of US$ 27k. Both watches characteristic the exact same ETA 2892-A2 with Dubois Dépraz chronograph module. But whereas the Tudor has a excessive grade Élaboré model of the ETA 2892-A2, the motion within the PAM01111 reveals a fundamental end that reminds of the PAM318 scandal (a mind-blowing story, google it).

Comparison between Tudor Heritage Chronograph and PAM01111

Keep in thoughts Tudor is principally Rolex however with a cheap motion. Panerai, alternatively, is a watch model that exists solely since 1997. The well-known classic watches utilized by the Italian Navy between 1935 and 1968 had been truly Rolex Oyster watches. That’s proper, Rolex didn’t simply provide actions as typically claimed, Rolex equipped full watches (see image under). The historical past put forth by Richemont Panerai is usually fiction. Oh snap, I simply realized I have to sound like a damaged file.

Rolex “Panerai” Ref. 6154 from 1954

Before we proceed, I want to come again to the closely darkened show caseback discovered on the Panerai web site. The image under is from ABlogtoWatch and as you see the crystal is barely tinted however not as sturdy as on Panerai’s personal image present above.

Panerai PAM01111 (Photo: aBlogtoWatch)

Following my Instagram exposé on the true nature of the P.9200, aBlogtoWatch instantly up to date their articles on the brand new chronographs. The different main watch media shops didn’t amend their articles with the newly out there data. One may simply get the impression they concern themselves extra with defending the pursuits of the trade than with diligently informing their readers. Under regular circumstances, a narrative like this may have been fairly a scandal however in a media panorama which seems to be managed by large luxurious conglomerates, the outrage was comparatively small.

After calling Hodinkee out – not as soon as however twice inside 72 hours of the revelation, they lastly added the essential ETA motion particulars. Revolution eliminated the phrase “in-house” from Wei Koh’s write-up however thus far kept away from specifying the precise motion. Horobox, a watch weblog from Turkey that boasts itself as “Turkish Watch Authority”, had described the P.9200 as “designed and produced in-house”. Horobox and Panerai are very shut associates since 2015. After reaching out to Horobox founder Serdar Oal, he rapidly eliminated that misguided assertion however refused to say the ETA motion. “Panerai calls it P.9200. I consider it’s okay”, Serdar mentioned. No, for my part it’s not okay. People have a proper to know what they’re getting for his or her hard-earned cash however the unhappy reality is, these shops have zero sense of accountability in the direction of their readers. Their sole focus is to please the trade.

Panerai In-House Movements

While actual in-house actions are described as “executed fully by Panerai”, the P.9200 description lacked something on this regard. However, there was additionally no mentioning that the motion is an externally sourced ETA. This vital truth was omitted from the very starting and no try was made to appropriate the widespread false impression. Not disclosing such an essential truth could possibly be thought of “mendacity by ommision”. Wikipedia states:

Lying by omission, also called a seamless misrepresentation or quote mining, happens when an essential truth is omitted to be able to foster a false impression. Lying by omission contains the failure to appropriate pre-existing misconceptions.

As talked about earlier, externally sourced calibers used to hold the prefix OP adopted by the caliber quantity in Roman numbers (e.g. OP XI = ETA 6497-2). In-house actions, alternatively, may all the time be recognized by the prefix P. adopted by the caliber quantity (e.g. P.2002). The OP XXXIV made by Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier was Panerai’s final non-in-house motion and accordingly the final to characteristic the OP prefix. Interestingly, Panerai renamed the OP XXXIV only in the near past. Today it generally known as P.900 and listed as in-house motion. Since it’s the very same motion as earlier than, one can’t assist however surprise the way it ran into the standards to be thought of “in-house”.

Comparison Panerai OPXXXIV (left) vs. P.900

A deep dive into this explicit ValFleurier caliber introduced one thing very attention-grabbing to mild. Originally developed as Baumatic BM12-1975A for Richemont’s entry-level model Baume & Mercier, the hightech motion that includes silicon know-how had a stuning energy reserve of 5 full days (120 hours). Besides silicon escapement and steadiness wheel, the motion additionally featured a silicon hair spring. The latter was quickly topic of a patent infringement criticism by a consortium consisting of Rolex, Patek Philippe and the Swatch Group which had developed the silicon hairspring know-how at the side of the Swiss analysis institute CSEM. As a end result, Baume & Mercier’s silicon hairspring may not be used which led to an iteration of the motion generally known as Baumatic BM13-1975A.

The Baumatic beats not solely in various Panerai fashions but additionally in IWC Pilot watches. IWC is one other well-known Richemont “Maison”. Interestingly, each the Panerai and IWC model of the Baumatic have an autonomy of solely 3 days. Both, Panerai and IWC declare the motion is “in-house”. IWC states on their web site:

“With the 32000-calibre household, IWC expands its vary of computerized in-house actions.”

Comparison Baumatic BM13-1975A vs. IWC Cal. 32110 vs. OPXXXIV (now P.900)

The Baumatic BM12-1975A was not developed from scratch. It is predicated on Cartier’s 1847 MC caliber which was launched in 2014. The 1847 MC has a smaller most important plate (25.6 mm vs. 28.2 mm), a smaller barrel (much less energy reserve) and a special set of bridges. This motion was developed by ValFleurier as nicely. On their web site, Cartier states:

“This mechanical self-winding motion was fully created and developed by Cartier watchmakers and engineers.”

Cartier 1847 MC caliber

A dial facet comparability between the 1847 MC and the BM12-1975A exhibits they’re principally the identical caliber.

Comparison Cartier 1847 MC (2015) vs. Baume & Mercier Baumatic (2018)

As you may see, the time period “in-house” is being utilized in a really free, nearly inflationary approach inside the Richemont group. “In-house” implies a motion was designed, produced and assembled by a watch model to almost 100% in their very own manufacturing facility however as we are able to see with this explicit caliber, “in-house” is only a buzzword. What we’ve listed below are “in-group” calibers, principally an ETA equal however from Richemont. But the place ETA is a traditionally essential model courting again to 1856, which due to their reasonably priced actions saved a lot of the Swiss watch trade on life help for a number of many years following the devastating Nineteen Seventies Quartz Crisis, ValFleurier – similar to Richemont Panerai – is a man-made assemble, created from scratch for the only real goal of manufacturing profit-optimized actions for a luxurious conglomerate.

Other ValFleurier calibers are shared as nicely. For occasion Cartier’s 1904-SP MC, which beats as MB 29.22 in Montblanc watches, as 1100P in timepieces from Piaget and as 1326 in sure Vacheron Constantin references. Using the time period “in-house” for all of those actions is deceptive to say the least.

If we go deeper down the rabbit gap, one may simply get the impression Panerai didn’t develop any of their in-house actions. Panerai’s first so-called personal motion was the P.2002 from 2005. The 8-days unit was designed and produced by what quickly would develop into the Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier. Yes, the motion was unique to Panerai however not made in-house as Panerai had zero experience on this subject. All actions after the P.2002 got here from the exact same place – ValFleurier. The “in-house” fanfare was smoke and mirrors from the very starting.

Angelo Bonati, the previous CEO of Richemont Panerai, liked boasting about how Panerai was the one model to have created so many in-house calibers inside a brief time frame:

“Few different watchmakers have succeeded in creating and making eight of its personal calibers absolutely operational and out there in simply seven years.”

It is straightforward to develop your “personal” calibers when the work is outsourced to a extremely specialised firm; and you’ve got the monetary backing of a number one funding group. As a well-known Paneristi as soon as put it, “All this manufacture factor is an industrial lie!” According to data obtained, inside Panerai paperwork instructed workers to by no means ever reply to journalists intimately about “in-house” actions and the likelihood that they had been not likely in-house.

Most Panerai in-house actions characteristic attention-grabbing codes like VML, VNK, VOL or VXJ on their most important plates, letters which curiously will also be discovered on actions from different Richemont manufacturers like Baume & Mercier, IWC, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget and Cartier. These codes are ValFleurier date stamps.

ValFleurier date stamps

They will also be discovered on pc renderings printed by Panerai. VML, as seen within the image under, stands for the next: V for ValFleurier – M for 2007 – L for December.

Panerai P.9000 pc rendering with VML ValFleurier date stamp (Photo: Panerai)

Of course, all of those actions had been developed and produced by Manufacture Horlogère ValFleurier. The image under exhibits a current Panerai mannequin from 2019 that includes the ValFleurier date stamp VXJ (Oct. 2019). Entirely executed by Panerai, huh?

Panerai PAM00968 “Bronzo” V collection from 2019 with Cal. 9010 that includes a ValFleurier date stamp VXJ (Oct. 2019)

When ValFleurier expanded their manufacturing increasingly more to different Richemont manufacturers, Panerai obtained their very own manufacturing line at ValFleurier. Seven of the 25 stations had been absolutely automated and operated across the clock, the remaining in two shifts. From this second onwards, actions made on this explicit manufacturing line featured date stamps beginning with a P, as an illustration POL (Dec. 2009). In the meantime, components like most important plates and bridges could also be produced on the new manufacture in Neuchâtel however calling the actions “executed fully by Panerai” is a stretch. Watch actions encompass lots of of components. Springs, barrels, wheels, levers, and many others. Plates are the simple half, particularly when the CNC machine programming is completed by ValFleurier specialists. The motive all of those corporations are so secretive is apparent – the fact is a lot totally different than what their advertising desires us to consider.

Several attentive guests of the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel reported independently from one another that the constructing in Neuchâtel is just too small and too meagrely populated for a yearly manufacturing of round 70,000 watches as claimed by Panerai. There are various machines however the whole lot seems to be reasonably for present than for the rest. For occasion, no person has seen any instances being produced there. Of course not, instances are made by specialised Richemont factories like Donzé-Baume. In a YouTube video printed by the WatchAdvisor, nonetheless, mentioned outlet labored hand-in-hand with Panerai to create the phantasm of an in-house case manufacturing.

The first a part of this video, the place they present how the instances are made, was not recorded on the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel however at Donzé-Baume in Les Breuleux.

Left: Premises the place the Bronzo instances are made – Right: Panerai Manufacture Neuchâtel, floor ground

Note the decrease ceiling, the slim home windows within the again and naturally that “small” window with a single panel convector radiator beneath (left). Compare that to the true Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel (proper) the place all home windows on every ground are very tall, reaching from ceiling to ground, with out exception.

Not satisfied? Check out the next scene had been the instances are stress examined to 37.5 bar. See the highlighted space on that checklist within the background? That is the outdated Donzé-Baume emblem.

Screenshot from “Making-of a ticking icon”

The image under exhibits the water resistance testing machine on the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel. Panerai has a special model of the Roxer Aquapress utilized by Donzé-Baume.

Screenshot from the video “Panerai: Making Of A Design Icon, Part 3” by Hodinkee (March 2019)

Watch the video: Panerai – Making Of A Design Icon, Part 3 (YouTube)

Donzé-Baume has a protracted historical past as a case and bracelet maker which matches again to 1868. For a few years, they produced instances for Omega. In 2007, Donzé-Baume was taken over by Richemont. Today, the corporate produces instances for all Richemont manufacturers. By the best way, the largest give-away was truly that not one of the guys had been sporting a Panerai coat with darkish blue neck.

What about dials, fingers, crowns, crystals, and many others? Each of those components is made by specialised corporations of the Richemont group. All of those factories are a part of Richemont Industrial Management Solutions (RIMS). The image under exhibits the logos of a few of these corporations.

Richemont Industrial Management Solutions (RIMS) design pointers

As you may see, relating to Panerai, there’s a number of “out-of-house” however little or no “in-house”.


Panerai likes to painting itself as a “Manifattura Di Alta Orologeria”, a manufacture of Haute Horlogerie. The phrases look nice in a foyer however do they mirror actuality?

Lobby of the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel

Not actually, as we’ve realized. Neuchâtel is merely a high-gloss meeting line with all essential bits and items coming from extremely specialised corporations belonging to the Richemont group. In-house, fully executed by Panerai… these are simply empty phrases. Also, what is that this perpetual downgrading all about? Snap-on casebacks, spring bars, lacking hacking seconds, undisclosed ETA actions. Isn’t Haute Horlogerie imagined to be luxurious? Luxury as in extra, abundance? Where is the surplus in leaving out a small lever that stops the steadiness wheel from oscillating? Where is the abundance in creating modular actions that share the exact same parts all through all calibers, all manufacturers? This jogs my memory of the Aston Martin DB7 with its Mazda 323 F tail lights and the various Ford Scorpio switches. A tragic improvement.

Thank you to your curiosity.

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