Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More than you ever wanted to know about Panerai

After buying several (total of 4) Panerai timepieces from various places around the world that I visited (Florence, Cabo San Lucas, Barcelona), I started wondering about both the maintenance and the warranty.  So how good is it?  Doing some research on the site, I found some amusing points.

Part of the attraction of Panerai is that they have designed the watch where you can replace the straps fairly easily with the included screwdriver or other tools.  But on their site here, they actually recommend that you take your watch to an Authorized Dealer to get the straps or bracelets replaced/ swapped out.  So what's the point of that?  Maybe they just want you to be very careful.  Maybe they're covering their own ass.  But I can tell you that I am pretty sure very few individuals actually take their watch to a Authorized Dealer or Service Center to get their straps swapped out.

One thing they did mention, and I am a strong believer in (but many I know who are chasing after the cheapest deal don't) is that watches online may be fake or used.  I remember Breitling had the same noticed on their sites and Authorized Dealers.  A lot of these high end watch makers do not promote and many times condone their watches from being sold online. Products offered on the web may be counterfeit, used or of doubtful origin and are not covered by the international guarantee/limited warranty.  This means at best your watch is a gray market timepiece and quite possibly used, and most likely a fake.  Some of the fakes are pretty easy to tell, some are pretty good.  I guess if you're buying the watch just so you can show off to others you have a Panerai, the incentive is there to buy the cheapest watch you can find.  Otherwise, you should just get the time piece through the correct channels just so you can both retain the warranty as well as have a piece of mind.  Another warning is even on forums, the timepieces may not be authentic.  This has happened on the PurseForum ( as well as even some auto enthusiast sites such as TeamSpeed, 6SpeedOnline, or Luxury4Play.  In fact, this can happen anywhere.  A good example of this would be what happens frequently on the Purse Forum.  Many of these individuals who purchase Hermes or other high end items are many times resellers posing as enthusiasts.  In addition, they may not be purposely trying to defraud you, but since many of them bought their items second hand as well, it would be hard to tell otherwise, unless you just take their word.  Lastly, when you go on the site to check for authenticity, there is really no incentive for them to spend that much time verifying the authenticity of a product, even if they're wrong, it's not their money lost.  Sometimes, it may even be a member's eBay listing you are inquiring about -- it's pretty obvious the member would vouch for his/her own items, even if they are fake.  Again, if you have to cheap out to get the watch, better to save your money.

Maintenance Recommendations from the site:
Panerai watches are made to very high standards of quality. It is worth remembering that the mechanical parts run 24 hours a day when used, so the watch must undergo regular maintenance to ensure long life and good operation.

Water resistance
Periodically check the water resistance of your watch at an Authorized Service Centre and have it reconditioned every two years or, in any case, each time the watch is opened.

The reconditioning of the water resistance requires the replacement of the sealing gasket in order to guarantee maximum water resistance and safety.

In cases where the watch frequently comes into contact with water for diving or other sports activities, we recommend an annual inspection.

The movement
Have the movement of your watch inspected every two years by an Authorized Panerai Service Centre, in order to keep it in good working order.
If the watch is significantly fast or slow, it may be necessary to regulate the movement.

External cleaning
To keep your Panerai watch in good condition externally, we recommend that you wash it with lukewarm, soapy water using a soft brush. After this process, as after each immersion in the sea or a swimming pool, thoroughly rinse the watch with fresh water. We recommend you clean your Panerai watch with a soft, dry cloth.

Leather straps
The straps must be washed with lukewarm water and left to dry. They should not be dried on a warm surface since the rapid evaporation of water might damage their shape and quality. After each immersion in the sea or swimming pool, thoroughly rinse the strap with fresh water.

To replace the strap, we recommend that you visit an Authorized Dealer or Panerai Service Centre. In this way you will avoid the inconvenience that may be caused by improper replacement.

Only Authorized Dealers or Panerai Service Centres guarantee the use of authentic Panerai straps, specially designed to fit the dimensions of the case and produced according to our quality criteria.

Metal bracelets
The bracelets should be washed with lukewarm, soapy water using a soft brush. After this process, as after each immersion in the sea or swimming pool, thoroughly rinse the bracelet with fresh water and dry it with a soft, dry cloth.
To add or remove links on the bracelet, we recommend that you visit an Authorized Dealer or a Panerai Service Centre. In this way you will avoid the inconvenience that may be caused by improper assistance.

Specific indications
a) Never operate the winding crown under water;
b) Never use the watch at a depth greater than that indicated.

What warranties apparently don't include:
The Panerai international guarantee/limited warranty does not include:

  • loss of water resistance more than 24 months after date of purchase;
  • damage resulting from accidental impacts, improper or abusive use (shocks, crushing, oxidation, etc.), alterations due to exposure to strong magnetic fields or high temperatures, unauthorized repairs or manipulations, as well as the consequences of the normal wear and tear and ageing of the watch and strap;
  • replacement of the strap or bracelet;
  • theft or loss.

Now the last thing I'm curious about is, does Panerai have a lifetime warranty on manufacturer's defects?  The warranty details on the site isn't very clear.

Every Panerai watch is guaranteed for 24 months from date of purchase against any problem in the working of the watch and without time limit against any manufacturing defect. Only parts showing defective workmanship, duly verified by a Panerai Service Centre, will be repaired or replaced free of charge.

In order to benefit from the Panerai international guarantee/limited warranty, it is necessary to present, either at an Authorized Dealer or Panerai Service Centre the duly completed guarantee/warranty certificate, dated and stamped by an Authorized Panerai Dealer.

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