Saturday, September 19, 2009


1st Panerai  : A Long Journey

By ChrisL




I have been a watch collector for 6 years (a late starter) and along the way met many colourful and interesting people.  Many of these colourful people happened to own Panerais, but being a movement freak, the idea of paying big bucks for a watch equipped with a basic Unitas seemed to prevent me from taking the plunge.

During the last few years I was lucky enough to go to many watch gatherings and launches; sometimes I actually managed to find my way home again ...

After starting out with a Brietling Colt, then a Montblanc (both of which were soon sold), I acquired an Omega Broadarrow Speedmaster, a Patek Calatrava & a Blancpain triple date moonphase ...

Many used watches were bought and sold along the way, but the Omega/ Patek/ Blancpain combo stayed as the anchor of my collection. I even had a dabble with Rolex (GMT Master II).

Still, the Panerai / Paneristi scene kept hovering in the background, meeting people like Hammer, Bo, Jpvfx, Shaun R, Gaz (amongst others), all of whom were fond devotees of the Panerai, convinced me I had to get one, if only to justify being being part of the scene ... if only they had a more cosmo movement to justify the price.

In 2005, during a tour of the watch factories in Switzerland and after having consumed an entire bottle of wine during a sightseeing trip around Lake Geneva, I trotted into a shop and asked if they had a 177. Yes  there is one out the back the lady replied ....

After trying it on and discovering it was rediculously big for my less then Arnie sized forearm, I promptly pulled out my credit card.  After the invoice had been written out and the card was poised over the swipe machine, the manager came trotting up and advised the watch was already reserved ...

Fast forward to 2009.  Panerai announced the 312 with in house movement, my last reason for not buying a Luminor has been removed.  Come September, the dealer announces that it has arrived.  I'm on my way to Hawaii for a brief holiday and collect the 312 on the way to the airport.

Amongst other activities, the 1st order of business in Waikiki is to meet with some local Paneristi.  Greg Lau has kindly organised an impromptu GTG, and Hammer has emailed a reference ('pound for pound, Chris can outdrink anyone ' ... Thanks Alan ).

So here are a few photos of my 312 and its trip to Waikiki, thanks to all the people who came to meet me.

Jimmy Buffet's Beachcomber Bar

The GTG was a bit of a blur as I hadn't slept for 31 hours and had already prepared myself 3 hours earlier at Jimmy Buffett's Beachcomber Bar but hey, life's not a rehersal .

I also took the Sydney Paneristi banner and its now suitably autographed by the Waikiki crew.  Thanks also to Bernie for the great Simona strap, it's now on the watch ....


Honolulu Paneristi


Wrist shot!





















2 comments:

Simon Food Favourites said...

you guys sure love your watches don't you :-)

The Sydney Tarts said...

That's how some of us met each other :), through watches.