Can you tell apart a Panerai replica from the original? Well, that’s a tough one. Omnipresent in the replica market, these replicas manage to do a really good job at reproducing the original designs and if they’re fitted with a Swiss ETA movement, the difference can be almost unperceivable, especially by an untrained eye.
About 10 years ago, spotting a Panerai replica was fairly easy, in most cases at least. Recently, the quality increased and it makes it really hard to know if you’re dealing with a fake or not. Nevertheless, there are some basic things to look out for, but even so, unlike most other brands, the difference between a good Panerai replica and an original is almost imperceptible. Just take a look at the photo below.
Here are two PAM11 watches, one fake, the other genuine. But which one is which? Hard to tell, isn’t it? And as hard as it is, imagine how hard is to spot it as a fake on someone’s wrist. Unless you’re a psycho, you won’t grab him by the wrist and carefully look for tell-tale signs. By the way, you have the Panerai replica on the right, genuine on the left.
The first tip I can give you on telling if it’s fake is to use common sense. If you buy it from a reputable watch store, you’ll be alright. But if you want to buy an used one, especially on the Internet, without touching it, seeing it in person, you should be very careful.
Panerais are expensive watches, we all know that, so if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
As you may or may not know, there has been some controversy in the past regarding the movements Panerai use. They used ETA with little to none embellishment, selling their watches at a very high profit margin. And so I ask you, how can you tell a good Swiss Panerai replica apart from an original one? And to make it tougher, let’s change the strap, which, by the way is another sign of a fake (usually they’re cheap looking and you can tell something’s off by simply touching them). Let’s use a custom strap like the one below.
Is it a fake or is it real? Hard to tell, isn’t it? Well… it’s a fake, but a really good one.
The thing is, with a cheap Panerai replica, you can often tell it’s a fake right on the spot. There’s no depth to the numerals on the dial, the crown guard jiggles, poor engraving on the movement, spots and so on. Like I said, with these, the strap is a good giveaway it has that really cheap feel to it. Even the rubber ones can be really flawed, like in this one.
With a good Panerai replica, even dealers can experience some problems if you put them on the spot. I’ve heard that the originals sell like hotcakes and they barely get a chance to examine the models up close.
So, the best thing to do if unsure, take the watch and go to a jeweler and have the movement inspected. They usually have a lot of experience and they will be able to tell if they’re dealing with a genuine one or not.
While for those of you interested in buying only originals, this issue is somewhat problematic. But, for those interested in replicas, all this should be good news. A good copy will be very hard to spot because, as I said, only a psycho would grab your wrist and put your watch next to an original or inspect the movement.
For example, I’ve had this Panerai Luminor replica for quite some time and no one asked me if it’s a fake or not.
That being said, please feel free to comment and share with us things too look out for in a fake.