im sorry for not being around this past weekend, but between the hospital visits and work, its been very difficult to find any time. Anyhow, I am off until Thursday and thought that I would get my mind off things by doing something I really love - watch reviewing that is.
As it turns out a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless ) recently purchased a fake 183 off of the internet. This fake is one of the new versions which has caused much concern for real Panerai owners. Needless to say when I heard that he had the watch, I pounced on the opportunity to do an unbiased (as much as possible) comparison review. So here goes.
Upon initial inspection the fake looks dead on in a very scary way, and cost around $300US. The case and dial work at first made me wonder why I had spent Canadian retail on mine. However after closer inspection I began feeling better about the situation. The watch comes in a small plastic bag, wrapped in bubble wrap (not surprising), but for the price what do you expect? My overall impression can be summed up in one word - unfinished or raw. (The fake is on the left in the pics below)
The case I must admit looks pretty good, although there are still flaws. From the side profile pic that the lug wire length is longer than OEM and the case edges are thicker than the OEM case (OEM is more pointed). Someone also mentioned that it looks slightly larger than OEM as well although it seem the same to me. I cannot determine what kind of stainless steel is being used but I think only time will tell as to how it holds up against tarnishing and scratches. The case watch which was copied was G 0310/1500. Anyone from the boutique know who this was sold to?
The first obvious flaw is the movement itself. I know many people out there have complained about it using the same base movement as Panerai but I can tell you first hand that it is no where near the quality that you pay for. PERIOD! Once the watch is flipped to the back it is easily identified as a fake, as it is clearly not like OEM. It is missing the proper bridging, swan neck regulator and finishing (the fake finish is really bad IMHO). You can see that some of the gears are missing a finish at all. I have not measured the timing yet, but i suspect that its not regulated properly. By ear it sounds slow compared to my other Unitas Pams.
The winding action is also rough as well. It has a "gritty" feel to it as though there is dirt that is grinding against the stem (best way i can describe it). Also, the screw down crown is horrible and I honestly feel that use over time will break the crown and/or mess up the cheap rough threading. I should mention as well that it seems as though the winding action is STILL engaged when trying to screw the crown in. What I mean is that you can still hear clicking when screwing down the crown. I can only assume that if you fully wind the movement and then try to screw the crown down, it would damage the mainspring by overwinding it. I am not a watchmaker by any means so take this with a grain of salt. I highly doubt that there is any legitimate waterproofing on the watch, other than say being able to wash your hands with it.
A big draw back to the watch is the luminova which is used on the dail. Aside for it being very week in glow, it also has a orange/yellow tinge to it, unlike my real one which is more on the green side. Although it was hard to capture in pictures, the best way i can describe it is to compare it to the dial of a 2-3 year old "t-dial" Panerai.
The cutout portion of the arabic numerals are rough and as mentioned above unfinished looking. You can seel in the below pic that the 12 is jaggedly cut. In addition the "Black Seal" text which is used is slighty larger than the OEM dial.
As for the glow time, i will let the 3 pics below speak for themselves but basically after only 30 min the glow of the fake was almost gone. For the pics below i had directed a light to the dials for approximately 1 min.
The strap....is crap but not bad considering you just paid $300 for a watch that could easily pass for the real deal. Same goes for the buckle as it feels close to the real thing, but again feels unfinished. The edges feel less rounded than the OEM buckle and somewhat thinner as well.
Will this watch fool a Paneristi?? No way but it WILL fool most WIS (who just know about the brand but not the models) and for sure ALL non-watch folk out there. I guess the pressing question you have for me is: Would i ever buy one? Im going to be honest and say possibly but not for the reasons that you may think. After playing with the fake for almost a week my real 183 is secure in my watchbox and never to be replaced with the fuggazy. However I would consider buying one for the use of creating a project watch. As it is impossible to buy parts from Panerai directly (and most other watch companies for that matter), I could see myself buying the watch for the case alone and then building a Rolex Pocket watch base of sorts. Other than that, I would never want to try and pass it off as the real deal, and being a Paneristi never would even if the watch was perfect..
Well thats it for now but I hope this was of some use to you. Im hoping to do another review down the road so if you end up buying a fake please let me know by email. I would love to borrow it for a few days.
"Veritatem dies aperit."
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