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plaifender

PAM 253 Comparison Review

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Ok, So this watch has definitely always needed a definitive review about the different versions. I've had this watch since May 2007 and it's by far my favorite watch despite it's inaccuracies. The watch is both loved and hated by Paneristis for it's "non-traditional" panerai design, hobnail dial and blue chronograph needle. Many people think of it as a remarketed 212 with a waffle looking dial and blue accents. But to me it's something completely different and fresh. If anyone remembers my post entitled "Treat me like a millionaire" you'll also know that I even quite accidently fooled an AD while wearing this watch. Here's a pic of the genuine:

Panerai_PAM_243_I_Regatta_Flyback_c.jpg

Although my review will focus on V2 and V3 of this watch, the original replica of this watch was offered as early as august of 2006 and had a cost of about $500USD. The original "V1" had a 21.600 A7750 that was soon upgraded to the "high beat" 28.800 A7750. It was advertised as sapphire glass with AR. But I cannot attest to it's scratchability. It was a successful watch but had some very obvious flaws; mainly the missing tachymeter ticks as well as the ticks markers not being on a separate ring raised above the hobnail dial. In addition, this watch had incorrect serif font subdial numerals (the genuine has sans-serif). The 6 and 12 on this watch were very thick like the genuine, with a slight greenish neon tint. Members like Rolli and TineT were catalysts and publishing pictures of their first versions.

Here's TineT's V1 PAM253:

135530-18256.jpg

Around January 2007, this watch received a facelift. The tachymeter ticks were placed onto a separate ring surrounding the dial the subdial rings were raised higher and the numbers were slimmed down, but maintained the correct color. The watch is advertised with mineral crystal with AR and I can attest that my crystal has scratched once or twice since I've had it. The case and crown gaurd remained untouched in this version. Here's my V2 purchased in April 2007 from Jay at silix-prime (price paid $288):

IMG_3819.jpg

In early 2008, a new version with correct sans serif dial came out. The subdial ring height was lowered again and the numbers were slimmed down even more and lightened to a color much closer to the 212's dial(which is incorrect). The watch is advertised as having mineral crystal. With slight AR. The crown gaurd was also changed. Here's my recently purchased V3 from Angus at puretime (price paid $238):

IMG_3822.jpg

This review will talk about the differences between V2 and V3, and who offers which versions. I bought the V3 because the subdial font was closer to genuine, and like many people, I think I bought the V3 thinking it was the exact same as the V2 with correcto subdial.. Man, was I WRONG.

Let's start with the subdial. The subdial on the V2 is great, with a really pronounced border ring, but the biggest flaw is the incorrect number 1 written in serif font. The border ring should be shorter and less pronounced

V2 Subidals:

IMG_3832.jpg

Notice the less pronounced, shorter (and more correct) subdial border of the V3. Also the number "1" written in sans serif font:

IMG_3834.jpg

Let's look at the crown guard. Surprisingly, the crown guard of the the V2 and V3 are completely different. If anyone looks up any former posts of mine, I've had various problems with the V2 crown guard. It's quite close in general shape to the original (like an almost perfect half circle), but is not machined correctly for the watch case. When I first received the watch, the crown guard prevented the top chrono pusher from pushing smoothly. The CG lever on the V2 also leaves much to be desired. It's not very secure and gives the infamous CG lever gap. The V2 CG also doesnt seem to sit completely flush with the case no matter how tight it is screwed. I've had to replace screws from the V2 CG twice already. and once had to have the watch shipped back in order for Jay (Silix-Prime) to find the correct sized screws. Notice the unflush CG in the second picture

V2 Crown guard (front)

IMG_3831.jpg

V2 Crown gaurd (side profile)

IMG_3844.jpg

V2 Crown guard (backside shot) Notice the gap between case and CG:

IMG_3850.jpg

The V3 253 is a completely different shaped and incorrect crown guard. (shaped more like the letter "D"). Although it's incorrectly shaped per genuine, the upside is that the V3 is VERY well machined, and gives a secure "snap" upon cg lever closure. The CG lever gap is non existent and all joints are flush with the case. The CG lever also has no gap on the side profile:

V3 Crown Guard (Front):

IMG_3835.jpg

V3 Crown Guard (Side profile):

IMG_3842.jpg

V3 Crown Guard (Backside shot). Notice no gap between case and CG:

IMG_3851.jpg

Let's look at the too side by side. At first glance, most will notice that the font of the V3 is significantly thinner than the V2. The dial font on the V2 is the correct keylime green, while the font on the V3 is dull and whiter. They will also notice that the Chrono needle is a brighter blue than on the V3. The tick marks and subdial markings are also less pronounced and less white on the V3 than on the V2. V2 is on the left, and V3 is on the right:

IMG_3847.jpg

Here's a closeup of the bolder V2 dial font and lighter almost correct chrono needle:

IMG_3846.jpg

Closeup of the thinner V3 dial font and darker less correct chrono needle:

IMG_3845.jpg

In conclusion, it's a shame that the V3 lacks nicer, bolder, more colorful font and markings. But in my honest opinion, the new V3 makes up for that with its correct subdial font, and better cg lever and non-impeded chrono funcionality. The fit and finish of the V3 is superb and worth every cent, although it would be nice to see someone finally correct the mistakes of both versions and create an almost perfect PAM253.

I hope you enjoyed my first review and that you let me know if I've seemed to have left anything out!

enjoy,

Fender

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Just tell me something: the cristal is scrath resistant?

Both crystals on V2 and V3 are Mineral crystal and are susceptible to some scratching.

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Anyone know why i can't edit my review? the link to my post "treat me like a millionaire" is not working, but the edit option doesnt appear

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Great review. I love this watch but haven't pulled the trigger on one yet because I live in hope they will bring out a V4 that covers all the mistakes. How does the AR on V2 & V3 compare with the gen? Some members have had their 253's AR'd by Chief or jakub but is this a must?

Thanks once again for this excellent comparison.

Rob

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Great review. I love this watch but haven't pulled the trigger on one yet because I live in hope they will bring out a V4 that covers all the mistakes. How does the AR on V2 & V3 compare with the gen? Some members have had their 253's AR'd by Chief or jakub but is this a must?

Thanks once again for this excellent comparison.

Rob

AR on this watch is not great. But is similar to Gen Panerais. Gens do not have strong AR either. Due to their curved domed glass, it's hard to make the crystal "disappear" like some omegas and breitlings are known for. From what I can see, the AR is probably single sided on the inner side of the glass. A new version of this watch is probably improbable.. but it's always nice to hope!

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Great Review!

so the best thing for now is get a older version crownguard and mod it for a tight fit against the case.

And to relume the dial and hands to get the correct color (white instead of C3 green is a big tell) and better thickness of the font and also to get the gen appearance in terms of luminousness. Which is also visible in daylight with relumed dial, because the green is a bit more brighter. Actually much more visible than a wrong no 1 font on the subdial which can hardly be seen from 1m distance, the normal minimal distance for people to see the watch.

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I'm soo glad someone has finally done this review.

It's excellent, and is nice to see the subtly, but noticable differences in the versions.

Can't wait to get mine from SEAD here in the next couple of days!!

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Both crystals on V2 and V3 are Mineral crystal and are susceptible to some scratching.

I recently purchased a pam253 regatta from Josh which indicated a synthetic sapphire w/ AR? perharps it will hold up much better than mineral crystal? of course, watch eden provides one with real sapphire crystal but no AR. .*sigh* so many combinations... <_<

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I recently purchased a pam253 regatta from Josh which indicated a synthetic sapphire w/ AR? perharps it will hold up much better than mineral crystal? of course, watch eden provides one with real sapphire crystal but no AR. .*sigh* so many combinations... <_<

Josh and Andrew advertise this vesion as Synthetic sapphire, but that's just another way of saying mineral crystal... There are no versions of V2 or V3 with real sapphire crystal.....

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Another thing i noticed is that the serial numbers on the V3 caseback are more crooked than the V2s. so i guess for all 253 buyers, you can immediately check the back if you want to find out if you got the V3 or V2.

The V2 serial numbers seem to align more properly especially with the "I" compared with the V3, where the "I" is bigger and slanted.

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AR on this watch is not great. But is similar to Gen Panerais. Gens do not have strong AR either. Due to their curved domed glass, it's hard to make the crystal "disappear" like some omegas and breitlings are known for. From what I can see, the AR is probably single sided on the inner side of the glass. A new version of this watch is probably improbable.. but it's always nice to hope!

Correct--the "Synthetic Sapphire" at Cartel is "Scratch Resistant" Mineral Glass.

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I'm soo glad someone has finally done this review.

It's excellent, and is nice to see the subtly, but noticable differences in the versions.

Can't wait to get mine from SEAD here in the next couple of days!!

Thanks jkirke, I'm Curious.. who is SEAD?

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Is it just my eyes? I always see the 30 min. subdial is smaller than the seconds subdial on the gen. But on the rep they look the same.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

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Is it just my eyes? I always see the 30 min. subdial is smaller than the seconds subdial on the gen. But on the rep they look the same.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Yes it's your eyes. On both the rep and the gen they look different sizes to me. The reason that the seconds subdial appears larger in circumference is because the tick marks are longer than the tick marks on the 30 min subdial. An easy way to tell that they are the same circumference is to look at where the hands are located on both subdials. The hands are exactly the same size on both subdials and are level with the tick marks on both subdials. Optical illusion. (p.s. this also goes for the 212)

Edited by plaifender

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Three things.

1. Thanks for posting this. I am thinking of getting the 253 and this is soooooo useful

2. Is it my imagination or is the "I" on the "I226 / 500" text on the back of the v3 really crooked?but not crooked on the back of the V2?

3. I am amazed that I noticed that ... I guess I am becoming obsessed :D

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The V2 serial numbers seem to align more properly especially with the "I" compared with the V3, where the "I" is bigger and slanted.

2. Is it my imagination or is the "I" on the "I226 / 500" text on the back of the v3 really crooked?but not crooked on the back of the V2?

+1! You guys are absolutely correct. I had noticed this before, but forgot to include it in the review. But yes.. the serial numbers on the v3 have a crooked "i" . Since I have both, i think I'll switch my casebacks before I sell my V2

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I have the V2 for a while but the crystal exploded about a year ago.

Does anybody know where I can get a new crystal? I prefer a real sapphire one.

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Excellent comparison P. There's quite a few things that i learned right there! :)

Hope you don't mind me posting a few quick and dirty shots of my 253 for further information.

Just to keep the 253 comparison thread in one.

S5001042-1.jpg

S5001043-1.jpg

S5001044-1.jpg

S5001045-1.jpg

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