The Disappearance of Replica Watches?

Recently, there was mention made on an esteemed Swiss replica site that China and other replica watch havens were starting to crack down on replica watch companies and that this could lead to the fading out of  replica watches in the near future. This was explained as possibly being connected to increasing globalization was putting pressure on the Asians to stop ignoring this illegal industry within its borders.

The implications of this would be that less replicas are able to made, and so the ones that do manage to exist could go for much more money since demand was greater, and because their quality is getting better as it is since now seasoned replica buyers will only purchase high-end replicas. Replica watches have started using better stainless steel, making better crystal with double anti-reflection coats and better dials, and more dependable replica movements of the Swiss ETA type. You can even find tourbillons and power reserves now on some of the better replica watches.

Basically, if there is a slight disappearance of replica watch companies, it has to do in part with a higher standard for the watches themselves. The ‘ultra-accurate’ companies are shining more brightly within a possibly new stringent international environment for replicas. These new watches can command from $300 to $2500 instead of a few hundred dollars with their quality builds and advanced components and won’t get down-bid by the mediocre companies. This leads to more profit, but it may also lead to less quality control eventually since the competition field would be smaller.

If in the coming years it’s more difficult to get a replica, this could be a good thing for the name brands. On the other hand, it could drive replica houses to keep getting more and more accurate and therefore more difficult to call out. In either case, the  Watch Report for 2007 will become especially important for consumers who have something at stake in the development of the industry, for better or for worse.

The Evolution of Replica Watches

Cycles of Life for Replica Watches

Like most industries if not at all, the replica watch industry has evolved over time to something pretty great. True, the worst watches will always remain the worst because their makers don’t care, but the higher-end replica watches and their makers are headed somewhere. In and around the industry, we take about ‘generations of watch,’ meaning different life cycles of a watch as it matures. If you were born at a time when say a Rolex replica was still in its infancy, you simply had no shot of getting a good one – that was generations away. On the other hand, if you were around for a ‘4th-gen’ than you had your pick of ‘four generations’ of that watch.

Often times when a replica watch maker wants to make a replica watch, they get a real one, take it apart, and experiment with how to reproduce it cheaply as well as noting down all of the exact measurements and weights. This could involve scanners, xrays, internet research, and more. They’ll try and get a profile of the watch so that they can input it into a CNC machine and cut components to replicate the real ones. A fake bezel to match a real bezel; a fake crown to match a real crown; and so forth. But, some bad replica watch makers just rely on photographs and estimation, if you can believe that, and their ‘1st-gens’ are embarrassing copies waiting to be picked apart by disappointed customers before evolving in time.

 Is Panerai to Blame for its Replica Watches?

Funnily enough, name brand companies are in part to blame for the ease of replication because they make so many variations of their signature watches. Like take Panerai, for example. They use just ONE basic case for all their watches in their Historical series. So replica makers can just use ONE basic desing in all of their Panerai replicas. Trick-of-the-trade, or just trick?!

This explains the ton of replica Luminor Marina watches that are out now that use the PAM-001 basic case style. This happens all the time – these days replica houses are doing it with other Panerai casings, like the replica Panerai PAM 106 Submersible.

From the get-go, replica makers are only interested in the feasibility of a product on the market, not about it’s aesthetic beauty or place in chronographic history, like Panerai is concerned with. And when a new replica watch comes out, they knew that people will snatch it up, even if it was a ‘1st-gen’ with flaws coming out ‘the wazoo.’ It’s like a guinea pig, that the public finds too cute to resist, so they take it home and nurture it, paying meanwhile for future generations of modified ones that others will have the privilege of owning at the expense of these ‘guinea pigs of the guinea pigs.’

By the third, fourth generation, the watch has ripened to as near perfection as possible. To some, it looks like the replica houses are earnestly trying to make more accurate watches, but no – they’re just naturally evolving, almost helplessly evolving. Cost and marketability are the inherent, implicit motivating factors of the evolution – survival of the fittest, so to speak.

But Why Do Flaws Continue to be Passed Down From Generation to Generation? One Asks

If the cost is negligible, then why fix it? is the answer. Humans for example still have many failings, but as long as we can get by, it’s ok. If it costs more to fix something than to keep it, then it’s not worth fixing – because overall as a whole, ‘it,’ ‘ain’t broke.’ We’re not dealing here with Swiss craftsmen, we’re dealing with the Asian. Who doesn’t know quality from a hole in the wall. It’s the bottom line that concerns them, nothing more refined than that.

Take for example the infamous Panerai PAM-111 Luminor Marina replica.  Its generations speak volumes about watch evolution:

‘1st-gen’  Flaws:

  1. Ultra-thin crown, measly-quality crown guards
  2. Polished, not brushed, crown guards
  3. Silver, not black, hands
  4. Incorrect twelve on dial
  5. Incorrect “Marina Militaire” on dial
  6. 40mm, not 44mm, case
  7. Solid, not display, case back
  8. Wrong case back engraving
  9. Too-short cannon pinion
  10. Poor luminosity
  11. No double anti-reflection coat
  12. Bad ugly brown watch strap

  ‘2nd-gen’  evolution: 

  1. Thicker crown
  2. No more “Marina Militaire” on dial
  3. Accurate twelve on dial
  4. Silver seconds hand but at least black minute and hour hands
  5. Accurate 44mm case
  6. Accurate display back (though crystal isn’t big enough)
  7. (similar to #6) Display shows  the unfinished Unitas movement

‘3rd-gen’ evolution:

  1. Accurate white seconds hand on sub-dial
  2. Fully accurate case back
  3. Evolved anti-reflection coat –  polarized inside of crystal to make it look double
  4. Accurate case back engraving
  5. Accurate “Panerai” engraved on Unitas movement

‘4th-gen’ evolution:

  1. Even more accurate crown
  2. Some pieces have brushed-steel crown guards
  3. “Swan-neck” addition to Unitas movement to emulate real Panerai movement (but ugly)

 ‘5th-gen’ evolution (for PAM-111H):

  1. Post-2005-Panerai-design-updated
  2. ‘Sandwich’ dial (though still inaccurate twelve here)
  3. “Swan-neck”-movement-updated, better finish but still lacking a regulator

‘6th-gen’ evolution (current gen):

  1. Finally accurate twelve!
  2. Real ETA Unitas movement replaced with Chinese copy (degeneration?!) –  ok quality but instead of engraving it’s a sticker!

It has then taken six generations for this watch to evolve, and it’s still not completely like the real thing! Aesthetically, it looks pretty good you have to admit, but if it was given a thorough examination, it wouldn’t pass, no way. Over the year and half that it’s taken for this watch to come this far, it’s still got a long ways to go. In fact, I doubt that it will ever be perfect. For one practical reason – if it was 100% accurate, it might actually open the floodgates for a lawsuit from Panerai. The small flaws keep it in some ways as a distinct-enough different watch they the replica companies could just play dumb, in a legal court of law that is. Unfortunately, you have to deal with some slight discrepancies between replicas and the real thing, that’s just how the evolution is fit to work for this industry.

 

The Falsehood of Replica Watch grades

The Premise of Misinformation

Within the community that surrounds replica watches there tends to be a lot of misguided information. Lots of the bigger sites want you spend thousands and thousands of well-earned bucks on replica watches that are really not any better than others. They do with an incredibly powerful myth that they have circulated which has no basis – they say their pieces are “the 99%.” This means according to them that they are 99% accurate – “the highest verifiable quality.” But it’s not true.

These watches can’t be verifiably of the highest quality because the grading scales that these sites use are made up by them, totally arbitrary. There a few different versions of this supposed objective grading rubric – but they tend to come down to this:

Standard Replica Watch Grading Scheme

Grade 5 – The worst of the worst, couldn’t even fool a blind 60-year old. They use plastic components, plating made from chrome alloys that just buffed up, and quartz movements that you find in lots of Rolex replicas.

Grade 4 – Slightly better Asian-made watches. These have Chinese movements with very little care for quality. It’s better than the worst of the worst, but very easy to spot as a phony. These watches have a variety of obvious flaws and are mostly made for tourists.

Grade 3 – These are the ‘Japanese’ pieces, which is a reference to their fake movements, your Miyotas and your Citizens. Their actual quality is not that bad, and the movements are respectable, but they’ve got some basic issues. A lot of replica watches from the big sites are supposedly Grade 3, especially a lot of yourPanerai replica watches.

Grade 2 – These are the ‘Swiss’ pieces. These watches have ETA movements made by the Swiss which actually are Swiss copies coming out of Japan! Their quality is solid, and they have a few recognizable flaws, like their straps and markings.

Grade 1, “Grade A”, “Grade A+++” – These are Swiss replica watches that are high-end and pricey. They have top-notch materials and are quality-checked. They do have some problematic details but tend to be as close as you can get to the real thing.

Sure, on some levels, this system actually works perfectly fine. It’s true that cheaper replicas have poor accuracy and poor materials that appeal to tourists and not watch enthusiasts. But aside from this obviously bad set of watches, things are not so black and white.

Asia makes almost all of the replica watches on the market – China and Thailand being the big boys. Their movements and CNC-manufactured components aren’t consistently correct or of high quality. This means that you can’t really say that across the board, a specific line of watches is better than another because there’s too much variability in the making of each batch of watches. One piece could have a Swiss ETA movement, and the very next one down the line could have a copy all because of the factory running out of ETAs and then simply “switching horses mid-stream.”

When it comes to the really high-quality replicas, it’s not easy to say what’s good and what’s better. Some think they more they spend, the more guarantee there is that their own little slice of replica watch heaven will be more perfect, but that’s not true, sorry. The extra money just lines the billfolds of the bigger replica brands who have enough clout to charge you more with their ‘grading systems.’ Whatever “Grade A++++” means, it comes off the same assembly line as “C++.”

A Replica Watch Grading System With a Little More Nuance

Here is a system that makes a little more sense by my own thinking:

Crap – Watches that a baby wouldn’t even use. This would be like the worst watch ever. A half-hearted attempted at accuracy and that’s about it. A shambles.

Better Crap – Watches that at least appear to be the real thing, but up-close they’re not getting the job done at all.

Passable – These watches are the majority of high-end pieces with a Grade 1. Most would be satisfied with one, because most don’t know what they’re talking about. For example, people just think a Rolex watch is expensive, so a Rolex replica should be expensive. No.

Decent – Replicas that couldn’t get much better, even it’s not the “99%” that everyone keeps talking about. These watches would require a trained AD (Authorized Dealer) to call it out. A lot of the Panerai copies would go here, and so would some of the Rolex copies. Not a lot of watches though.

Stay Informed

You’d do best just to turn a cold shoulder to the grading systems that dominate the replica watches landscape. It’s pretty insidious actually. Sites like ReplicaCenter, which are for people who want to ‘stay informed,’ try to get you by writing posts that explain their grading system. They want you to think that since a watch is graded, it will actually fall into that grade. No.

What happens is, the sites of dealers that actually support informational sites will establish their high prices based on that supposedly objective post, you know? Just because it’s ‘Grade 1” suddenly it costs a ton of money. No. By and large, unless it’s a limited edition replica watch, which by definition shouldn’t really exist because replicas are supposed to anonymous copies of real watches, fake watches shouldn’t cost $1000! They were only made for like $100! So they should cost like $200 for labor and parts! And even then, in Asia people don’t need to get paid that much compared to other nations and they don’t give a dump anyway about the watch or you who’s receiving it half way around the world. It’s all a big scam, these supposed numerical/alphabetical grading systems.

 

Who holds the title of Best Replica Watch?

Which is the Supreme Replica Watch?

Almost every day, this question comes up – “Hey, can you please tell us which replica watch reigns supreme on the market?”. I especially always hear – “Which is the best Rolex Submariner replica of them all?”. Something like that. Of course it’s not easy to answer! Not only because there are a number of contenders, but also because the criteria is always up for debate.

If you’re after reliability and accuracy, than the answer in large part will be: “any replica piece with a non-chronograph ETA movement.” In effect, this would be any higher-priced Rolex replicas and some Panerai replicas. With these, the replica ETA movement is incredibly strong, and if you manage to clean it and take care of it, it could definitely last decades. Now, who will do that for you is another story – many watch repairers will turn away replica watches out of a sense of pride or a hesitancy to be responsible for a product that may already have some problems they don’t want to be blamed for when you pick it up.

Reliability and Asian ETA Replica Movements

It’s common knowledge that consumers should avoid ETA copy movements from Asia. They’re just not as good as the Swiss-made ones. Miyota and Citizen movements from Japan that are utilized in many mid-level replica Rolexes can be good, but they don’t have the longevity of the Swiss ETAs. The ETA 7750 Asian copies are to avoided at all costs because they have no consistency whatsoever. See Ziggy’s piece on this movement.

If the best watch to you means flawless replication and convincibility – how much it is identical to the genuine article – you couldn’t do much better than the Rolex Explorer I replicas – they are super-accurate. Most of the giveaway flaws are not present in these watches. The date wheels are right, the bezel pearl looks great, and their quality overall is high. Their own flaw is their dials – the luminosity can be poor particularly. The glow of the numbers tends to give these watches away more than anything.

Replica Panerais

The PAM-111 and PAM-177 and other historical Panerai models keep getting better and better it seems. Recently a new Unitas movement came out that is strikingly close to the real thing. It is almost perfect really of the movements found in Panerai watches. Before, swan-neck regulators used to be glaringly missing and engravings were just off. Now, some of the high-end Panerai replicas are of excellent quality and could even fool faithful Panerai owners and experts alike. Still, the short cannon pinion can possibly sometimes be a problem.

 

If “best” to you means the chronograph component, then the ETA 7750 and the ETA 7753 are by far the best. Pricier Panerai, Rolex, and Breitling replicas feature these. But don’t forget that the Asian-made copies of these movements are to be avoided. I would have to say that the one of the most impressive replica watch chronographs right now can be found in the Panerai Daylight (PAM-196 and 188) replicas which emulate the Swiss 7753 movement. The real thing features a variation of this movement which makes the replica hard to call out. In terms of problems, look out for the date wheel and the crown.

 

Replica watch makers tend to go for quantity over quality so the consumer always to be diligent. You’ll never find a perfectly identical copy watch so you have to decide what means perfection to you and look for the closest piece that embodies that.

 

Review of the Replica Breitling Aeromarine SuperOcean Steelfish Watch

Breitling Superocean Replica Watch Review Dial

Below is a thorough article on a replica of one of Breitling’s more unique pieces – the Aeromarine SuperOcean Steelfish. It addresses a range of good points and bad points in the watch and provides insight into not just replica watches, but also some of Breitling’s originals, both of which have really come a long way. It discusses the older and newer generations of the watches and some details in terms of manufacturing, aesthetic approach, and personal choice too. We appreciate all the independent reviews sent in – this is one is great as an example.

There may be a lot of reviews out there about this watch, but I think mine might cover some of the finer points that get glossed over – but bear with me if I get too in-depth or off-track here as it’s only one of my first attempts at reviewing and I’m not yet a pro. But I did my self-assigned homework as you’ll see!

So – this watch – the Aeromarine SuperOcean Steelfish – really has a lot going for it and it’s one of Breitling’s more unique watches really I think. As a Breitling replica, it definitely poses some challenges but it’s interesting to see how replica houses have tackled those and what they came up with. The Aeromarine line is especially durable and strong. It’s meant to go through some pretty rough experiences and still unfailingly provide the time to its faithful wearer. Though most people think ‘aviation’ when they think ‘Breitling’ the exclusive connection there actually does a disservice to Breitling’s passion for deep-sea diving.

Enter the SuperOcean Steelfish with its subtly corrally colors and dive-friendly elements. This watch was made in the 50’s mostly for non-civilian divers and gradually found its way to the laymen. There’s been variations on the SuperOcean for different military divisions, which brought different elements of the watch to the fore.

Breitling Superocean Replica Watch Review Display

One interesting version had a helium escape valve, and a pressure resistance for 150 bars. The real Steelfish actually can stand 200 bars, which means 2000 meters depth, and has an HEV that can counter-balance pressure fluctuations once you hit the 3-bar mark.

Breitling Aeromarine Superocean Steelfish Watch Replica Review

(this pic is of an old model showing the HEV at ten o’clock)

Breitling Aeromarine Superocean Steelfish Replica Watch Review Backside

With the variable of water so central to the design of the watch, one can imagine why really big hands and strong luminosity are such important features of the Aeromarine SuperOcean Steelfish, and of course, its related replica watches:

Breitling Aeromarine Superocean Steelfish  Replica Watch Review Nightvision

A new version can be recognized by its second hand:

Breitling Aeromarine Superocean Steelfish  Replica Watch Review Dial Zoom

One thing I really appreciate about this watch is this interesting feature about its bezel. The side of the bezel itself is very smooth, but then it has these raised rise tabs which are so easy to use, even if you’re wearing gloves. On the topic of the bezel – the little Breitling ‘B’ on the side of the bezel that you can usually pretty easily see – at the eleven or the twelve o’clock position, is usually a pretty good way of being able tell whether or not the watch you’re dealing with is a fake. With the newer Chronomat Evolution and Steelfish Breitling replica pieces though, this detail is maintained so it makes it a little bit harder.

Breitling Aeromarine Superocean Steelfish  Replica Watch Review Bezel Detail

If you check out the SuperOcean Steelfish up close, you’ll see that in its make there are eight very very little screws holding it together. If you remove those screws you can then take off the bezel and then the ‘ratchet ring’ can be manipulated so that you can make the movement tighter or looser. But if you’re trying to do this to your replica, all I can say is be damned careful, because it’s not that easy, and you can lose one of those little screw guys super easily!

Breitling Aeromarine Superocean Steelfish  Replica Watch Review Crown

The Aeromarine SuperOcean Steelfish has a sapphire crystal lens which is about 5mm thick. It’s also glare-safe from both the inside and the outside, and is a bit ‘cambered’ so it can actually warp your reading of the dial at some acute angles. Some of the replica watches don’t have the double-glare-reduction, so they’re maybe a touch easier to read sometimes, but then, they look a little worse, and in fact even the one glare-proof side still can affect readability anyway, whether it’s the Breitling original or the Breitling replica.

It occurs to me we never laid out the technical specs of the watch – so here they are:

Genuine Technical Data:
Caliber: Breitling 17 (Eta 2824-2)
Movement: Selfwinding mechanical
Powerreserve: min. 42h
Vibration: 28.800bph
Jewel: 25 jewels
Calendar: Dail aperture
Case: Steel
Water resistance: 2000m (6,600ft)
Bezel: Unidirectional, ratcheted
Crown: screw-locked, 2 gaskets
Caseback: Screwed in
Crystal: 5mm thick, cambered sapphire, glareproofed both sides
Diameter: 44mm
Thickness: 16,10mm
Weight: 122,50gr
Lugsize: 22/20mm

Breitling Aeromarine Superocean Steelfish  Replica Watch Review Profile

As you can see, it’s definitely one of the most incredible I’ve ever had! And it even comes in three (3) colors (of dial): black, white, and blue. It can have the real ETA 2824-2 or the Asian-made replica. But in any case, they’ve both got the 28.800bph so no worries. If you don’t know, what this does is gives the hand-sweep across the dial a gentle, silky-smooth motion. This might be a little overboard but I have to mention it – mine that I got was sort of ‘pimped out’ by the seller – they superlumed it by hybridizing with a Tritec C# Superluminova! It’s the same lume that’s on the original I believe; I hope. It’s blue.

Breitling Aeromarine Superocean Steelfish  Replica Watch Review Blue Dial

Honestly, overall, it’s a great watch – it’s got a great heft, and the finish is really good too. The case has great lines and great contrast with the different surfaces, one polished and the other satin-brushed. With the crown, it has the trademark ‘B’ of Breitling on it and it takes three full turns to screw down, so that is tight. My only suggestion to the replica makers would be to change the thread – if it were a little bit wider, then you could screw the crown down without having to worry about ruining the threads all the time if you did it sloppily or in a rush for some reason. But on the other hand, the tighter the thread, the less water can get in, so that works too. It’s a solid crown no matter how you thread it.

Breitling Aeromarine Superocean Steelfish  Replica Watch Review Crown Logo

Except for the lughorns – they look a little more pointy then the ones on the real thing. But I’ve heard this is a common problem with replica watches, tending to be on the bulkier side.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Review Differences

As far as the water resistance factor goes, the dealers make the statement that it is 100bars, which translates to 1000 meters. That seems wildly deep – I’d never go even 500-600 meters with it on, but to each his own. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be surprised if this Breitling replica SuperOcean Steelfish could handle that kind of depth – it’s impressed in enough other ways really.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Side

Let’s see, I’ve already mentioned the sapphire glass thickness- which, when I thump it, it really does feel like bullet-proof glass or something. It’s solid. Much of the watch is very solid and works great – surprisingly, even the HEV, which is at nine o’clock on this watch and can be seen from the inside even. For those who might be curious about this bit of trivia, it was DOXA that first made a helium release valve in a watch for divers – the DOXA Sub300T Conquistador – which in 1969 came out for general purchase. After them it was Rolex’s turn in 1971 with their well-known Rolex Submariner Sea Dweller Dor. For five years previous to this, this watch was only offered to certified COMEX divers until popular demand changed things.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Side Zoom

Another thing I really like with this Breitling replica is its clicky bezel – it makes a satisfying ‘click’ sound whenever you turn it and, full disclosure, it in fact gives 120 clicks/full rotation – counted. And the milling work that was done on the numerals and indexing is very high quality.

Ok – I’ve put it off for long enough – the flaws! The Breitling Aeromarine SuperOcean Steelfish does have flaws – warning! As all replica watches do, as much as we hate to admit it.

Some things are obvious – the pearl for example, which is practically bursting, twice the size of the original. As if that weren’t bad enough, it’s also usually got some taints on it which show up more with the size of it. Finally, it doesn’t perfectly line up with the twelve o’clock marker.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Bezel Differences

Obvious flaw number two would have to be awarded to the riders numbers 15, 30, and 45, which are sewn in. In the real SuperOcean Steelfish, the numbers take up most of the space.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Bezel Differences Numbers

Both fake and real watch have rider tabs that stick up and shield the crystal a bit, so that’s good. But the thing that could be bad about raised rider tabs is that it makes wipe-cleaning the watch an obvious bit harder to do. This is a necessary procedure for anyone with a watch that has a coated crystal component – these things draw dust thumbprints like a moth to a flame. But I won’t complain too much because the coating really is great on this Breitling replica in comparison to other replica watches. It’s got a fabulous royal blue sheen and does a great job of toning down the thick awkward crystal. It’s really just a joy to behold and I look at it almost as much as I look at the time.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Rubber Band

In terms of the dial, it’s not entirely exquisite. It’s got the blue that it’s supposed to, and yes the spirally embossment looks pretty sharp I have to admit. The fetching Breitling logo is nicely, and more or less correctly, featured too.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Dial Differences

But it’s the numbers that are a clear problem with the dial tragically enough. The silver six, nine, and twelve especially – they just pop up too far and are much too rotund. On the real thing, they look flat and sleek. Also, this seems sloppy: the ‘21’ there next to the nine is just off its mar because the dial looks like it’s kind of coming all up on it.

What’s more? The date window. It’s a little too chunky – but I have to say, and this might be revealing a personal predilection, I really like it that way and prefer it to the thin frame of the original Breitling Aeromarine SuperOcean Steelfish. The datebox inside is also a tad unclean-cut compared to the gen, and the ‘15’ isn’t spaced right.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Date Differences

Some more obsessive-compulsive (!) dial flaws:

- The inner bezel ring’s index should be superlumed- but it’s not.

- The font of the date on the earlier SFSO is right for this version, but the Asian version has the wrong font – which is confusing because Breitling features the selfsame Asian SFSO in other lines like the Avenger Chrono, the Chronomat Evo, and the 6/9/12 subdial’d Navitimer.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Dial Differences

- The font of the dial looks alright really, but red ‘AUTOMATIC’ isn’t low enough or short enough and there spacing’s incorrect. And this is a real buggy pet-peeve for me – the SuperOcean’s ‘S’ is too straight and narrow – where’s the ‘s’exy curve, replica makers?!

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Dial Writing Differences

- On the real thing the ‘1884’ is in a littler font than that of the ‘Breitling’ but for some reason on the Breitling replica it’s the same exact size.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Logo Differences

All of this aside, the dial is just fine compared to other replica watches – probably there are few souls who could recognize all these flaws like I have.

Ok – let’s talk back of the casing – the engraving there is respectable for sure, as is the finish, on par if not over par with the likes of the Breitling Chronomat Evolution replica, if you’ve taken a look at that one.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Back Case Logo

On the caseback you’ll see a code –  A17390 – what this means is, it’s a SuperOcean Steelfish. The case and bezel material and coded by the ‘A’ – for stainless steel. Then the next two digits explain that the watch has a Breitling caliber of 17. The third digit signifies that the piece is certified by COSC. And finally the ‘’90’ represent the unique piece itself. When you see this code on a watch, you know the replica makers are at least trying to for replicating real authenticity.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Back Case

Bracelet – it’s pretty good, though Breitling’s is surely better in terms of quality. The finish passes muster with its satin brushing, but it seems a little sharp around the edges. You’ll notice that the both the real and the fake have a middle link that’s 1mm bigger than the rest – a nice touch. The clasp is pretty good too and the ‘BREITLING’ on the safety works well and everything. The underside is polished which is smart, but there the lettering falters a bit.

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Bracelet

(On my piece, I changed out for a real diverse-strap from Breitling – I’m still loving the blue on blue.)

Breitling  Superocean  Replica Watch Review Rubber Band Overview

And that my fellow enthusiasts is every thing that can be said about the newest replica of the Breitling, Aeromarine, SuperOcean, Steelfish! It’s a mesmerizing piece of machinery that can ogled for hours.

 

Review of the Replica Breitling Navitimer Fighter Watch

This one’s by By-Tor originally at The Replica Collector (TRC) . The point of order here is the snazzy Breitling Navitimer Fighter watch, an amazing Breitling replica that has a lot to offer to the Breitling aficionados out there. This is a great review and we’re glad to bring it to this forum.

Breitling has never been a huge draw for a big part of the replica watches crowd, who tend to flock to the bread and butter watches, like Rolex or Audemars Piguet. The complicated dials and the non-mainstream aesthetics scared off many. A few Breitling pieces, such as the Windrider Chronomat Blue and its Two-Tone-twin, have swayed me however, and I hope to sway others. The Navitimer eventually, if begrudgingly, drew me in as well. As a replica watch, it has excellent chronographs, the spacing of its sub-dials is flawless, and its just a classy little number hands down. You could compare the Navitimer to so many sports cars out there – striking, powerful, but sometimes slightly just off-putting if you don’t have your pants hitched up tight. The beauty is almost too strong – there’s nothing gentile, as in with the Daytona say, or the Speedmaster of course – the Broad Arrow one. But let Navitimer spread out a little bit and you see what’s appealing about it.

 Breitling Navitimer Replica Watch Review Overview

Breitling in fact made its world reputation on the Navitimer after a number of embarrassing flops in the watch world. 1954 changed all that – and since, the Navitimer, and its replica watches, have evolved and evolved. The appearance has stayed more or less unchanged, but its adaptability to different ‘environments’ (read: times) has kept it alive.

The Navitimer never goes unrecognized because its so familiar since those old days. Compare it to the Aeromarine or the Steelfish and there’s just no comparison – people don’t know those watches like they do the Navi. It’s got a touch of brightness in comparison to those two – it’s almost like a Chrono Avenger really. Perhaps ‘Avenger’ and ‘Fighter’ aren’t such different callings after all…

The reason some people have stayed away from this Breitling replica is because of the movement 7750, the dreaded Asian movement. But they’re really not so bad when you get to know them. The watch I bought was from a straight-shooting, reclusive person I met on the internet, and sure enough, his 11-month old piece fit perfectly and I’ve never looked back since.

If you want to know, the Fighter is actually itself a copy of a previous Navitimer by the name of Serie Speciale, which came out in the 1980’s. Oddly enough, the rumor is not true that the Fighter is based on the grunge-era Fighter Special Edition. Neither was it based on the early-oughts model that looks pretty much identical I have to say.

Here is original source material that I’ve gathered:

Breitling created the Breitling Fighters team, an initiative bringing together second generation WW II era fighter planes. The Fighters Team includes a Supermarine Spitfire, Messerschmitt Bf109, North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, Yakolev Yak 3, Chance Vought F4U Corsair and a Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk. The Breitling Fighters Chronograph is the official watch of this flight team. Whilst the watch is equipped with the latest developments in mechanical watch making, it fully reflects the spirit prevailing half a century ago, the time when Breitling developed the first slide rule chronographs. The Navitimer for the first time, a watch featured a “navigation computer” capable of executing every calculation a flight plan requires. These include: multiplication, division, calculating ground speed, calculating miles per hour, calculating miles per minute, calculating fuel consumption, calculating rate of climb or descent, calculating the distance of climb or descent and nautical and statute mile conversion. This is a true professional instrument watch that has been adapted to today’s even more strenuous requirements.

And if you’re still interested hopefully, the below is an original scan of a back casing showing the very first fighter planes to blaze upon the watch. It seems that ‘Messerschmitt’ has been wrongly spelled according to one history nut – though whether or not I spelled it correctly here or should have is unclear.

Breitling Navitimer Replica Watch Review Back Side Logo

For other readers whose interests are not yet satiated, here is more info that I have unearthed

- THIS. It discusses more Navitimers that came and went in eras past.

For yet others who have a penchant for the odd detail, such as the slide rule for example, this simple image may provide exactly what you’re looking for.

Breitling Navitimer Replica Watch Review Instructions

It was surprising to see how much actual factual information was out there about the Navitimer – it’s not hard to see how Breitling replica makers were driven to it really. I myself discovered that the original Serie Speciale is meant to always feature a brushed casing and bracelet, and not the ultra-polished versions we have become accustomed to with the watch. In the course of my research I also had the revelation that because the process of polishing that Breitling engages with, and by extension its replica watches, can never be identically duplicated technically speaking, it can be said that the Navitimer probably has 2 billion different variations out on the market! Best to back away from that ledge when one can though.

Another discovery I made was one version that had ‘EDITION SPECIAL’ printed at the six o’clock subdial, Swiss Army Spec Ed, and that the grunge-era ‘Special Fighter Edition’ offers similar subregister/date settings – but that piece has Arabic print on its dial and a 5-link bracelet, polished, and the subregisters have different indicators.

I’ve got to say, when you actually just stand back and compare the Navitimer Fighter with the Serie Speciale, it’s not really all that similar – there’s just so many little differences with the bezel and the dial too. Here – the original version which is brushed:

Breitling Navitimer Replica Watch Review Zoom

Ok so, a more concrete comparison is in order. The regular 2000’s Navitimer Fighter is pretty close to the replica but there’s no Serie Speciale etched on the subdial area, and the back of the case almost surely doesn’t have those fighter planes. It’s got to be because there were so many variations that were coming out with the Navitimer lines, that the replica houses just couldn’t pump them out right or in good time, especially since that one Fighter Edition with all those little tweaks came out simultaneously. The font of the date – the shinier subdials of the replica, how the hour markings have a different flow, the spacing on the bezel, it’s all there.

Breitling Navitimer Replica Watch Review Dial

Thing is though, the Navitimer is a good as far as replica watches go because the spacing of the subdial is actually  right, which is rare in replicas. It’s got to be because this Breitling replica has a copy of the real movement, so the subregs are in the right place. This is all Greek to me though – I’ll leave it to the watch philosophers and take my watch just as it is!

In terms of measurement, the watch diameter is like any other sports timepiece – 40mm. However, it’s the thickness that throws it off a bit and kind of needs the right wrist to pull it off unfortunately.

Breitling Navitimer Replica Watch Review

As I said before, the overly-polished look isn’t totally in keeping with the watch’s aesthetic – it should be a bit more dull. Also, personally, I’d prefer not to have the strap, but a brushed bracelet would be great. For the fliplock clasp, the polish is pretty good, but it scratches quickly, as would the bracelet.

Breitling Navitimer Replica Watch Review Belt

There’s no need to comment on the movement again and the inferiority of its Asian makers, but I for one am pleasantly heartened that my watch is going strong even with this possible flaw in design. The subregs in the movement don’t seem to be too big of a deal since they don’t necessitate a reworking of the original movement – which can’t be sad for Daytonas for example with their six o’clock headaches. Anyway you can always change out the movement if it’s a problem, that’s what they always tell you.

Now for a few problems though – because of course, the Asian element can’t be totally let off the hook. There is a problem with the stopwatch – it just won’t reset sometimes – the chronograph is fine, but when I try to time this or that task it gets stuck one too many times.

Here is that pesky Asian movement – great pic by Rschultes – thanks.

Breitling Navitimer Replica Watch Review Back Side

Final Words

Look, I tend to buy bigger sports watches, it’s true – it’s because of my size. But I love to able to branch out into some variations. That’s why I’m so into this Breitling replica. The Navitimer Fighter has so much going for it, and it has multiple interesting back stories to boot. Sure it has some flaows, but who, what, doesn’t? It’s simply a top-notch watch among middling replica watches. The more time replica houses but into developing this piece, the better it will get – I’ve read that one new version has a five o’clock date wheel, but the alignment on that is muck. I say, find yourself a good old ordinary Fighter and you’ll always be satisfied.

Breitling Navitimer Replica Watch Review Dial Zoom

 

Review on the Replica Breitling Navitimer Two-Toned Watch

Here’s By-Tor again with another take on the Breitling Navitimer. This one has learned well from the mistakes of its elders and seems to impress even By-Tor. The watch holds its own in the tenacious world of replica watches and shows that a lot of issues have been redressed. One point needs redressing here though – though By-Tor says different, the date window is still not fixed and can be a way to call out the Breitling replica. The real thing has a very unusual date wheel and can always be recognized. This article comes from The Replica Collector Forum.

Breitling Navitimer Two Tone Replica Watch Review

This watch is a different direction for me, but it’s one that I like as I grow up. I have tended towards the stainless steel versions of the Navitimers in the past, but now I really like the two-toned style. Also, since many people have reviewed the standard Navi’s, I’m giving this one a shot! For some reason, people seem gun-shy about taking on an analysis of the old gold-and-silver, but it’s high time.

I’ve personally owned other gold replica watches in the past, such as the Rolex two-tone Submariner – a personal favorite. Strangely, though gold can sometimes seem like a fashion risk, two-toned comes almost naturally to people. It’s a little more masculine if you ask me, even if it’s not sporty in any way shape or form. Although, where the Navitimer is concerned, sports are part of its game – it boasts a 30 meter water resistance, which is really something for such a glitzy, un-sportsman-like style of watch.

 This Breitling replica is definitely a winner. Its gold links look amazing – though I’m no real rock hound or anything, but still – I know what to look for. Compared to the Submariner mentioned earlier at least, this watch has real-deal-kinda-feel. This is probably because of the weight of it – the middle links of the bracelet and the body of the watch. Whether the gold will last for ages I cannot really say I guess, but some relatively-speaking old-timers who’ve reported about this watch in the past have had no complaints in that department. On the other hand, if the bracelet starts to fade, the Navitimer would look great with a leather band anyway, and in fact the two-toned Navitimer is available with that feature from the get-go. This might also make the watch a bit sportier, though in that situation, it would go less with dress clothes, which in my opinion is one of the main reasons to buy two-toned.

Breitling Navitimer Two Tone Replica Watch Review Overview

The previous 12/9/6 two-toned watch is different than the Tricompax one – which ought to have the silver hands on the subdial. That is correct on the replica. This version also comes in dials of blue and black too, with the option of the large Arabic print.

Breitling Navitimer Two Tone Replica Watch Review Zoom

Just a point of order – I used to have the old replica of Navitimer “Serie Speciale Fighter’s Edition” and wrote a review of it. There’s also an summary of the slide there element there.

So the Tricompax format is the new format for the new Navitimer Breitling replica, not the old 12/9/6. While it’s a shame to see that go, the new Navitimer just has way better subdials. Also, the hands’ luminosity is far superior and so is the ‘high-beat’ movement. The fundamentals of the watch are basically the same, which is fine with most people because the Navitimer has always been popular as-is. Just to say, there replica Navitimer Two-Toned can also be purchased with the 12/9/6 format, and that can be a strategic buy if one is planning to change out the movement to the Swiss Valjoux. But please don’t forget that in that case, the desired end-watch should have black hands for the subdial – silver on the replica – otherwise it will be an embarrassment.

Breitling Navitimer Two Tone Replica Watch Review Front

There are flaws however that require airing. One of those is the size of the bracelet. No matter how one adjusts the bracelet, it seems a bit tight in the end – your only choice would be to add links which can be a bloody headache. Some prefer a nice, tight strap, but not myself. If the wearer’s wrist is even slightly big or substantially haired, it might be too uncomfortable to bear- wear (!). Also in terms of the clasp, it can be very easy to scratch so you have to be careful with that.

Breitling Navitimer Two Tone Replica Watch Review Back Side

In the end, of the many replica watches  out there, this one will definitely do the trick and then some. It’s also a stunning Breitling replica in its own right and will be widely admired I’m sure, and envied. This Navitimer proves a burgeoning idiom: once you go two-toned, you never go home – ;-0.

Breitling Navitimer Two Tone Replica Watch Review Dial

 

Up Close Look at the Replica Breitling Steelfish

What It Is

Function, aesthetic, instrumentality – these are synonymous with the name Breitling historically speaking. The watch brand has forged its name according to the standards of professionals in many given fields – piloting, diving, and other careers where time is ‘of the essence.’ Though Breitling replica pieces might perhaps seemingly appeal to the amateur or aspiring pilot or diver, they do in fact compare with the real thing.

Breitling’s SuperOcean of course is meant to take on the depths of the sea, and the Steelfish is known for plumbing downwards of 2,000 meters. A unique gas release valve is even installed in the watch so that it can depressurize itself once the force gets to be too much during diving. Now that’s an amazing thing, manual or not – and it’s a feature replica watches have their hands full with.

Lots of attempts have been made on the Breitling SuperOcean Steelfish, not unusual for Breitling overall really. But most of the replica Breitlings have really been of questionable quality for the most part. Some failings included the anti-reflection coat on the crystal exterior and interior, the date wheel’s dependability, the accuracy of the dial and hand detailing, and even the functionality of the movements have been put into doubt by critics.

What can a replica maker do but try harder? Try smarter, too. This was first evident with your replica Navitimers and your replica Bentleys, more or less easy targets for improvement and success. Even they still show some problems, but they have definitely gotten better and silenced some of the above-mentioned critics.

But with the SuperOcean Steelfish, the Breitling replica efforts had to really be hard-won. This can also be said of the Steelfish’s relative watch the Chronomat Evolution, another classic from Breitling. But despite all odds, these too have made impressive leaps and bounds. The crystal coat to prevent reflectivity is evident on both sides of the lens, the watch band and bezel materials have improved greatly, and the dial looks sharp with the proper hands and numerical markings.

The bezel especially of the Steelfish can be seen as a symbol of the piece’s betterment. Its cut is very clean and up to the snuff of the real thing. The engraving too looks really smart in comparison to the replica watches which seem dull and deformed.

You notice right away on the new SuperOcean Steelfish its eye-catching anti-reflection crystal coat – it’s like the thickness of the crystal is overshadowed by the clarity of access to the dial and its time in almost any kind of light environment. Before, the reflection on your average Steelfish was almost maddening especially because the watches used mineral glass which further distorts the clarity, unlike the real sapphire crystal that can be found on a real Breitling.

Here’s another almost above-and-beyond improvement  – there’s now a guarantee from the manufacturer for your Breitling replica Steelfish! And not just for overall quality, for an essential technicality – depth. The watch is guaranteed for 1,000 meters, no questions asked. Whereas before you’d’ve been afraid to even take the thing near the beach, Review of the Replica Breitling Watches now you’re encouraged to go diving with it. That says a lot about the quality of the sealing and the casing in these replica watches.

This is a far cry from before, where lots of replica houses skirted the issue of water resistance altogether, saying things like the watch was ‘water-ready’ or ‘water-friendly’ but not willing to say ‘proof.’ Now, no. The Breitling SuperOcean Steelfish is prepped for the water in a whole new way.

Though sound studies have yet to be done to officially and reliably test the stated 1,000 meter limits of the this new breed of Steelfish, informal accounts of more pedestrian diving have surfaced suggesting that the watch definitely held its own in vacational tides or during boogie-boarding. The watches have kept water out, and true to the word of their maker, they’ve yet to meet their maker, in order to make good on that warranty.

Its Flaws

It would be simple-minded though to think that there aren’t problems still with the Steelfish or any other Breitling replica. They can found in both the form and the function unfortunately enough. With the Steelfish, the dial is usually lacking in that it has bumpy, raised areas around its hour markings. Also, you can tell that there is an alignment issue between the bezel and external dial markings sometimes. The crown seems to challenge its own screwing down. This is because the threads have been altered in an effort to honor water resistance, but it has created an unintended consequence for the crown, so.

On an unrelated note, the Steelfish replica can be bought with both the Swiss ETA and the less pricey and dependable Asian ETA replica. They’re both decorated movements but of course they don’t match the decoration bedecking the Breitling originals.

Conclusion

Here we have a watch that has risen above its milieu of replica watches and shown a keen interest in meeting professional standards in the past year. You can tell of course that they’re copies of a superior product, but at the same time, they have their own dignity. And, it’s impressive how far Asia has come in its ability to produce a Breitling replica with some quality components for once.

Always remember to pay a visit to an authorized deal when fishing for a Steelfish and check out all of the details before you pay. There are a lot of fakes out there, and some are in much worse shape than others. Virtual markets like Ebay, Timezone, Amazon, Giftshop, and others may seem like they’re all that, but you have to be careful. You might get way less than you bargained for. Reading posts like this one and following other reliable reviewers on watch forums can give a crucial leg up on holding down your wrist the way you want.

 

Review of the Replica Cartier Divan Watch

This article is based on a 2005 inspection of a Cartier Divan replica watch. Since then, a lot has changed in the replica watches industry, but this piece is definitely still one of the best out there. It’s an example of excellent craftsmanship, though there are a couple of lower-end pieces that have been made.

The real thing

Cartier’s Divan is a new piece from this top-notch watch house. It takes their ‘tank’ idea to a whole new level. The watch is very wide and strong with a pretty interesting band that highlights the watch’s lines.

The Divan comes in three different types: one with an automatic movement – which is labeled on the dial; one that is a quartz movement, and another quartz that is a women’s watch. They all feature the same band and case. You can of course tell the automatic from the quartz by the printing on the dial.

The Divan features blued-steel hands as many Cartiers do. Its case is either yellow gold, or stainless steel. Some versions feature cases studded with diamonds.

Cartier Replica Divan

The fakes

Replica houses love to copy Cartiers since they are popular and distinctive. Also, since Cartier likes to use quartz, this makes the copy relatively cheap to make. The cases of Cartiers are also easy to replicate. If you look, you can find a copy of almost every Cartier men’s watch.

As with other heavily replicated watches, the quality of Divan copies has a huge range, depending on the maker, and even watch to watch. Unfortunately, the real high-end fakes are almost identical to the real thing and can be a huge headache to call out for the diligent watch enthusiast.

Flaws

There are a number of common flaws in a Cartier replica that can give it away. These can be seen just from the outside without even opening the watch.

The crown jewel

The jewel on the Divan ought to have a deep bluish color and be faceted. Replica jewels are usually lighter blue and look glassy.

The case screws

Cases have two little screws on each side. On the real thing, the screws are tiny – half the size of the case back screws. With the replicas, the screws tend to be much bigger and not precisely fitting.

The dial

Dials should always have a smooth clean texture. The VII marker should also have Cartier spelled out next to it. With a number Cartier replicas this is either missing or not at all sharp. Sometimes you’ll also find this misplaced next to the X. You should see the word Automatic printed on the dial.

Replica Cartier Divan Back

The case back

One confirmed know replica serial is 988561CD. With gold models, check on the case back engraving for sharp edges. Gold-plated copies usually have on the engraving softer edges due to their plate process. Poor copies for some reason have been found to have Roadster on the back sometimes! Lastly, check for engraved false screws.

The hands

The hands are often the fastest way to recognize a counterfeit watch. With Cartiers, they have a process of blueing the steel that they use to make the hands of almost all their watches. Replica companies have never been able to copy this technique however. Therefore, their hands are coated with enamel this is a lighter electric blue. If the hands of your watch always look a little too blue, then you may have have a replica.

The case

Another point of order is recognizing a real from a fake is that the Divan in fact never comes in rose gold. Any rose gold Divans are definitely fakes. Too bad – it’s actually quite a nice look!

 

Replica Cartier Divan Movement

The movement

The movement in a Divan and any Cartier will usually be very detailed and the Cartier will be stamped there in gold. Also with replicas, even the best ones, the movement, if you can get in the watch to take a look at it, is always encased in a plastic holder of cheap quality.

The high-end pieces

ETA-based Divans are definitely on the high end of things and they’re very hard to spot from the real Divans. Their cases are of very high quality, usually accurately carved by a CNC machine, and with dials full of detail. Their cases will have little screws and the dial printing will be perfect. The back of the case will also be very good and the ETA movement will wind very smoothly and work great. Also, the weight of the watch will be convincing.

The hands are the only thing that give it away pretty much. The blue enamel is distinctly different from the blued  steel of the original. Though it seems pretty simple and obvious, always check the hands first when you suspect you have a fake before you.

 

 

Replica Cartier Divan-bad-dial

The low-end pieces

Divan replicas can also come in pretty bad shape. Their dials tend to be banded, their case screws will be too large, and their case backs will be all wrong. If you know what to look for, it’s pretty easy to tell them apart and there’s really no threat to a Cartier enthusiast like yourself. Also look for Divans with diamond studs which have ‘Cartier Roadster’ stamped on the back. You can also sometimes find some obviously uneven gaps and edges that are clearly unfinished all over the watch. Cheap Divans are full of mistakes – take a few moments to look and you’ll see more and more.

 

Final words

Cartier Divans are a very popular watch to copy. Therefore, there are a number of excellent copies out there that are very hard to recognize. Know what to look for, take your time when examining a piece, and always compare them side by side, it can save you hundreds!

 

Review of the Replica Panerai PAM 183 Black Seal Watch

There’s a new watch by Panerai that’s turning heads – the Black Seal, in the Radiomir series. It mimics a lot of Panerai’s classic pieces, but still manages to exude a calm modernity in itself. Black Seals can sell for about $4,000, for a time being a very hot commodity.

This of course begged for Panerai replicas of this piece. Usually replica panerais are focused on historic pieces, watches based on the PAM-001 model as well as its chronometer relative the PAM-111. All of these pieces are based on a movement called the OP XI, which Panerai has been using for nearly a decade. Both the OP XI, and the movement it replaced in 2002 – the OP II, are actually modeled after the ETA 6497.

Panerai Replica Watch Comparison

ETA 6497s are also known as Unitas 6497s. This is because the company that first made them back in the 50’s was called Unitas (no relation to Johnny Unitas). These are excellent and well-made movements, and simple to service because of their bigness. Eventually, Panerai would develop this movement into something new, altering the bridge and putting in better-quality components.

 

Usually a copy Panerai has a variety of flaws that make it easy to recognize as a fake. Of course the newer Panerai copies have come a long way due to makers’ experience, computer design, and CNC manufacturing, ushering a superior and nearly un-spottable set of counterfeits across the market. Surely at the top of this list is the Black Seal replica.

There are still a couple of mistakes with the piece however. Panerai crown guards have proven tricky for replica makers. They tend to not fit precisely and their moving pieces can be a bit rough. Also, their crowns can be a bit on the thin side, which makes them pretty easy to call out.

However, these features don’t exist on the Black Seal PAM-183, making the watch much easier to replicate. Here, the case is refined and clean. In contrast to the older pieces, the Radiomir line has no crown gaurds and the crown is a screw-down. It also features a pillow-shaped case and not the case you see with such models as the PAM-111.

 

Panerai Replica Watch

The replica Black Seals come from one essential manufacturer it seems, since there is no variation with these pieces. Its front is absolutely accurate to the genuine article. If you take a close look at the photographs comparing the two watches, you’ll see that they really look identical from the face. The only difference you note is the color of the strap. The replica

Black Seal also has a longer crown stem, just ever so slightly, creating a tiny gap between the case and crown.

The original Black Seal dial is of a design is known as a ‘sandwich.’ It’s black, with cut-out numbers and hour markings that show a luminescent layer underneath. The copy has the same dial, but it’s a bit less luminescent in darkness. This is in fact not at all unusual for most replica watches. Their glow tends to be weaker than the real thing.

DETAILS

The dial

Examining the dial up close, you can see that replica makers are now able to produce excellently sharp printing. Before, copy watches were pretty easy to recognize due to the bubbles in the printing or the badly-defined letters that were evident upon close inspection. The dial here is clean, sharp, and has no mistakes in spelling. The lower layer cut-outs are edged well and show no variance from the real thing.

The size

This watch is definitely on the larger side, measuring 45mm in diamater without counting the crown. This is in part due to the movement, originally meant for pocket watches. It’s important to note that with numerous Panerai replica watches, the case is the wrong size – 40mm and not 44mm or 45mm – because the makers were trying to use different movements.

The case

Here we see the pillow-style case which references old Panerais from an older era. This watch has a screw-on case back with a sapphire crystal display. The case is actually the correct size on this replica, making it almost impossible to tell apart from the real Black Seal.

The crown

PAM-183s have an onion-style crown and a carving of the Panerai logo on the end. As mentioned earlier, the crown stem can stick out more than the original. It’s not that noticeable at all, especially if you don’t have the original to compare to, but it is worth mentioning.

The case back

Panerai Replica Watch Caseback

Usually the backs of replica watches just give it all away, perhaps because it’s not the side that’s displayed to the world. Though the copies here do feature a Unitas 6497 movement, there aren’t the upgradings Panerai gave to its movement which lead to the OP XI.

In the real Panerai Black Seal, the Panerai name is engraved in the movement’s back. The copy however has an engraved metal plate glued to the back. Upon close inspection you can see the separation line from the plate and the movement.

The real Panerai also has some gold markings with the back engraving. For some reason, earlier replicas left these off completely had them terribly misspelled. You can see OFFICINE or OFFICNE on the movement’s back.

Additionally, the bridge of the movement was altered by Panerai. This alteration is known as a ‘swan neck’ bridge, very different in looks from Unitas bridge which is the basis of the movement. Unfortunately the replica doesn’t even try to copy this bridge and it’s evident when you look.

The movement of the PAM OP II, which came before the OP XI as mentioned, actually doesn’t feature this swan neck bridge. You can find this movement in some of the historic series like the PAM-001. So therefore, while in the PAM-183 this movement is identifiable, the replica version in a PAM-001 is harder to spot. PAM-001s also don’t have a see-through back, so it’s much more of a process to try and verify the movement.

NOTE: Since 2005 replica movements have started featuring the swan-neck bridge. The finish is rough in comparison to the real thing, but its presence makes counterfeits much harder to spot.

The strap

The replica 183’s strap is of very high-quality leather, almost better than any other copy out there. It can easily pass for an original in fact, especially compared to previous copy Panerais. But remember that Panerai lovers change their straps all the time, so unless it’s OEM-claimed, straps are not a solid indication of authenticity.

Conclusion

All in all, PAM 183 Black Seal replicas are fantastic watches. Aside from the back, they are almost identical to the real thing. It’s a good idea to have some pics of the real watch if you’re interested in buying online, just so you know what’s what. With this watch, you really do need pics of the back of the watch before you buy so you can make absolutely you’re not being a knock-off. If you have doubts about the authenticity of the pics, request the seller to put the watch against a current newspaper with the date showing.

– See more at: http://www.watchreport.co/pam-183-replica-panerai-black-seal-watch-review.html#sthash.M3OLJ2jk.dpuf