A few weeks ago, before the summer, I chronicled a few of the strange goings on at Omega. This certainly had an impact, as I received many comments; mostly directly to my email inbox. I surmise that people did not want their thoughts on the website, but they were much appreciated.
One person drew my attention to another large watch brand looking to obfuscate the truth. I was particularly intrigued by this one because as I read more and more about what had gone on here, it was close to some of the allegations thrown at SNGLRTY. One thing is for sure: we have never sought to hide what we do here at SNGLRTY.
Close To Home
Let’s have a quick recap, although I encourage you to read some of our earlier blog posts. At SNGLRTY, we buy a base movement, this is either a Sellita SW200 for our OHI2 Calibre or a Sellita SW300 movement for our OHI4 Calibre. We mount our complication plate designed and manufactured exclusively for us on that movement. This complication plate has three specific functions. The first is it reverses the direction of travel for minute’s drive. Secondly, it slows the speed of movement of the minute drive. Finally, this only applies to the OHI4 Calibre, and it raises the date display to the top of the complication plate so the OHI4 sports an oversized date.
We received a great deal of criticism for this. There are those out there who believe we are merely selling a stock movement for an inflated price. They seem to forget that the complication plate delivers a patented time display. Some believe that if we did not manufacture the movement 100% in-house, we cannot call it our movement or Calibre. We believe plenty of watches in history show this not to be the case.
It Is Complicated
Finally, some have argued that our complication plate is not a complication plate because it does not create a new function on the watch. The strict definition of a complication plate is a module that provides another function to be available on the watch face. Strictly, when I look at the definition, I have to agree, but then what do we call it? If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
One thing we have never done is claim anything other than the facts around an SNGLRTY watch. This is how we build it, and that is what we do. There will be those who claim we do not do enough, but whatever we do, there will always be those who find fault, so we are content to ensure we provide the truth transparently to the market.
As I have detailed before, I do not think Omega is honest with the market, and I was aghast when another famous name was caught seeking to bend the truth. This time, it is Panerai.
Panerai – Economic With The Truth?
I have to admit that I had never come across the website pereszcope.com until I was researching the strange circumstances around the Omega Frankenstein watch. It is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine, and I would imagine the watch brands are seeking to stay off this website as much as possible. It seems, though, they cannot help themselves.
So what has happened? Panerai came out and launched their new movement, the P.9200, and described it as an “in-house” movement. The problem here is that this in-house movement is a basic ETA 2892-A2 tractor with a Dubois Dépraz chronograph complication plate.
I can hear everyone now, but is that not what SNGLRTY does? Yes, it is, but we tell everyone what we do in detail. We are not trying to pretend in any way that we have an in-house movement. We may have an in-house complication plate, though.
The Panerai Premium
The next problem is the price that Panerai is seeking because they have designated this an in-house movement. The Swiss watchmaker appears to be misrepresenting a garden variety movement with a standard complication plate and seeking to charge a considerable premium.
For example, one of their top-of-the-range watches from the Chronograph range retails for nearly US$27,000. At the lower end of the spectrum, with a steel case, you could get one for just under US$10,000.
What Does It Cost?
Industry sources tell me watch brands can purchase the ETA movement powering the Panerai for approximately US$600. We have no criticism of this because it is precisely what we do here at SNGLRTY. The Dubois Dépraz chronograph module will be expensive, but as we know only too well, these complication plates are costly – especially when you make it yourself.
Many watchmakers use the ETA 2892-A2 movement. These include Longines, Bell & Ross, and even my favorite, OMEGA. All these watches are significantly cheaper than a Panerai chronograph.
To quote Mr. Perezstroika, “Having such a movement in a $10k or $27k watch could be compared to opening the engine hood of your Porsche 911 only to find out it has a Peugeot 3-cylinder engine.” I think that sums up the issue from a movement perspective. Or is it?
Cars and Watches
If we take the car analogy a bit further, it is common knowledge that car manufacturers will use components from other manufacturers. For example, several Aston Martin cars come from the factory with a Mercedes engine. Again, I do not have a problem with this. The problem would be if Aston Martin tried to tell us it was an Aston Martin engine because they had put a different gearbox on it.
The problem I see is that, at launch, Panerai described the movement as the P.9200 an in-house movement. Nothing in the marketing material or the technical details (that I could find) would indicate it was an ETA movement and a complication plate. It would lead people to assume that this whole movement was designed and assembled “in-house.” Is that not what “in-house” means? I see this as very disingenuous. It is misleading by omission; in my book, this is as bad, if not worse, than misleading by commission.
The unspoken assertion by Panerai is that an in-house movement is better – worth more money – than a modified movement. This conveniently ignores the truth that most movements on the market are derived from each other. From an engineering perspective, many “in-house” movements are variations on a common theme. That is why we chose to use a tractor movement. Why try to recreate the wheel?
HOW MUCH – THE PANERAI NAME?
How much is an actual “in-house” worth relative to that which Panerai has produced? Panerai is clear on this. They believe the answer to that question is a lot! Just check out the price tags for confirmation.
Panerai chose to obscure how it manufactured its new chronograph movements and promoted it as an in-house movement. This was disingenuous and purely motivated by potential profit. The implication of what they have done is that if they had been clear and transparent, they would not be able to charge the prices they are.
Thankfully, in an Internet-connected world, we have dedicated people like Jose Pereztroika. Panerai should know that the truth would eventually emerge and their claim of an in-house movement laid bare. It was very wrong. I would even say devious.
ALL ABOUT TRUST
The luxury sector trades on trust. A large part of a Swiss watch brand’s appeal comes from consumers’ perception of exclusivity. Panerai has been caught selling “cheap” goods for a premium price here.
Now we have Omega and Panerai being deceptive to the watch-buying community. I am sure there are others out there. When will these brands learn that the unvarnished truth, honesty, is what the market wants? Well, that is certainly what you get from SNGLRTY.
What do you think? Where do you think the line should be drawn? Please let me know in the comments below.