Buying Preowned Panerai Watches

Buying a preowned Panerai watch is an interesting Journey. They have a unique design, and have done interesting things without straying too far from that original piece. The company is currently owned by the Richemont company, for better or for worse. Some people feel that under Richemont control, Panerai has lost its way. Some people say Richemont is helping keep Panerai going. Whatever your views, Panerai is an exceptionally popular preowned watch to buy.


Here are some of the reasons to buy a preowned Panerai.


  • Unique, true to character design
  • Variety without going overboard
  • The most popular sizes are covered
  • Exceptional warranty coverage


Unique, True to Character Design


The very first Panerai wristwatch was commissioned by the Royal Italian Navy, whom the workshop had been supplying with precision instruments for a while now. The Radiomir, named after Radium since that is the chemical that is used for the luminescent paint that gave the dial it’s visibility in the dark, was originally a Rolex Oyster case with a Rolex movement. The dial was created as a layered system with the Radium coated center plate the basis for the highly visible markings, 5 minute indices with 4 numbers at the cardinal points. This dial is known throughout Panerai circles as the “sandwich dial”. The current Radiomir is the same basic design, manual wind movement, large 47mm case, sandwich dial for high visibility, and same basic case design.


In the 50s, Radium was replaced with Luminor, a much safer compound. At the same time, Panerai patented the crown guard for the Luminor models. A true legend was born. The Panerai Luminor became the watch to buy in the Panerai catalog. Buying a preowned Panerai Luminor, especially the Luminor 1950 with with the larger, true to the classic 47mm case connects you to a turning point in Panerai history. When Reichmont acquired Panerai in 1997, it became a luxury watch player which continued it’s tradition from the early days of Panerai for the Italian Navy.


Variety Without Going Overboard


No matter which preowned Panerai you are looking to buy, each model never strayed too far from their historical watches of the 30s-50s. It’s amazing what kind of variety Panerai could supply us with from only a handful of models and very minor changes. However, buying a preowned Panerai doesn’t have to mean buying the same Panerai everyone owns. By varying the dial very slightly, each watch is different enough that you can feel quite exclusive. Blue and white dials on these pieces are especially fun to look through when trying to decide which preowned Panerai to buy. 


Then we have the special models you can buy preowned. Panerai released the S.L.C. named after a torpedo riding group of the Royal Italian Navy. This dial has no numerals, just dots for indices, lines for the cardinals, with a double line for the 12. Then you have the California. This dial has indices on the cardinals, but all the indices are different. Triangle for the 12, and horizontal lines for the others. On date models, the index on 3 is replaced with the date window. The top half utilizes Roman numerals, whereas the bottom half are Arabic. It is a rare bird, and will definitely draw attention. 


The Most Popular Sizes are Covered


The most popular watch by far is the Luminor. It comes in at 44mm, one of the staple sizes when buying a preowned watch. Almost every major brand makes watches in this 43-44mm size because it is one of the best selling sizes out there. The crown guard and the size makes this a watch to have. The Radiomir bumps the size up just a tad to 45mm. 


However, the next most common size would have to be those 40mm. 39-41mm is a size that is covered by everyone. It is probably the most popular size when it comes to buying preowned luxury watches. It’s a versatile size and because of that, everyone from Patek Pilippe to Rolex, to Tag Heuer make watches in this size. Panerai is no different and if you are in the market for this most common size, buying a preowned Panerai could be an excellent target for you.


Then there is the big boy sizes. Some people just naturally need a larger watch. The Radiomir and Luminor both come in the bigger size, the Luminor 1950 and Radiomir 1940 being those iterations. These truly hark back to the days of old since original Panerai designs were all 47mm lending to extreme legibility required for the sailors of the Royal Italian Navy. This is where their model names come from. 


Exceptional Warranty Coverage


When you buy a preowned Panerai, there is a great chance that you will still have coverage form the original Panerai warranty. This is due to the fact that even though Panerai watches come with a standard 24 month warranty, it can be extended to 8 years through Pam Guard. Just make sure you don’t void your warranty with third party services. This does bode well for the longevity of your Panerai, however you should not ignore the service schedule, Panerai recommends 2-3 years for a normal service, and 4-5 years for a full service. This is the standard and double that schedule should cause no major issues. Just as a bit of advice, if you are looking at buying a preowned Panerai that is in the 10 year range, you should always ask about the service history. If something does happen to the preowned Panerai you bought, all Panerai repairs are covered by another 24 month warranty. 


Things to Look our for When Buying a Preowned Panerai


Panerai is a very popular brand. As such, the risk of buying a fake Panerai is pretty high. It’s not at the level of counterfeit Rolex, but they exist and some of my watch friends have received them themselves. With Panerai in house movements however, some proper diligence can go a long way. Nobody can match the Panerai quality of the movement. The dials are also usually a giveaway. Panerai have dials that are like no other. It is often quite easy to tell if a Sandwich dial is a real Sandwich or a standard dial that has been engraved. It is also the same thing with their Sausage dials. You can usually tell if a Sausage dial is legitimate because of the way the indices are painted on.


As with any watch, you have to investigate the seller. Get as much information as you can and make sure you trust doing business with that person. If you do find the right seller, he will care more about service than just money. That way he can drum up repeat business, the lifeblood of any seller. Plus a good seller will be able to educate you and open you up to more possibilities. This will help limit the possibilities of buying a preowned Panerai that is a fake.


How to Buy a Preowned Panerai Watch


Buying a preowned Panerai watch can be super easy. Just look at the listings on Value Your Watch. There is a fantastic selection available. 


Just remember it always comes back to the seller. Make sure you’re dealing with someone you can trust. You don’t want to risk being scammed by purchasing from someone shady. If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is.


When you find a good deal, remember, most places have extra fees. Even if you buy from and individual and not a dealer, you may have to pay sales tax. On a $5000 Panerai you could be paying an extra $300. On Value Your Watch, we are not required to charge sales tax. This means that even though you may find a good deal, the deal maybe just that much better on our site. Only with certain in state sales will you have to worry about tax when buying a preowned Panerai.


Here is an interesting article about Panerai.


5 Quintessential Panerai Watches Every Collector Should Know

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