Atelier De Griff interviewed Perezcope and Wristbusters on the many Chinese-made super replicas found on Panerai’s official Instagram account and the controversy it caused in mid 2020.
Perezcope featured in one of the largest Spanish-speaking watch magazines named Tiempo De Relojes
Perezcope received its own section on the Italian Panerai forum
Go to forum: L’angolo di Jose Pereztroika
Perezcope featured on Jake Ehrlich’s world famous Rolexmagazine.com
Perezcope exposed a fake “Solo” Daytona on Instagram and was featured by the renowned Asian watch blog SJX.
Perezcope interviewed by the distinguished gentleman and collector Edmond Saran from Le Monde Edmond in January 2018
Perezcope featured on HODINKEE in August 2017
Perezcope featured on REVOLUTION.WATCH in May 2017
Perezcope – Vintage Panerai watches under the loupe was featured on aBlogtowatch in March 2016
Welcome to Perezcope my fellow watch enthusiasts
After my first encounter with a Panerai watch in late 1998, I was immediately hooked with this brand. The half-moon shaped crown-protecting device, the simplicity of the dial, the open six and nine, the cushion-shaped case. I had never seen anything like this.
I was told by a good friend and co-worker, who unfortunately passed away too early, that these watches were originally made for Italian commando frogmen, the very guys who invented underwater war fare during World War 2. Hearing this triggered a flashback to a long forgotten childhood episode of mine.
When I was a kid, my mother worked part time and I spent half days with an Italian family. That is how I learned to speak Italian flawlessly. Speaking Italian helped me tremendously in solving the Panerai puzzle, as nothing was lost in translation when talking to relevant Italian people.
Coming back to the Italian family, I remember sitting on their window sill and browsing through piles (literally) of Italian comic books. Most were Wild West comics but a handful were about Italian frogmen agents. I loved them! I must have been four or five years old at that time. Isn’t it ironic, in a way I had discovered vintage Panerai without even knowing.
At some point later on, my father’s watches became the object of desire. I used to sneak into my parent’s bedroom and play with them, wind them, listen to them. As a teenager, I owned the usual Casios with calculator and of course some fancy Swatch watches.
Coming back to Panerai, the aura of these watches has accompanied me ever since my first encounter in 1998. My first expensive mechanical watch, which I bought brandnew in 1999, was a Breitling Navitimer Fighters though. This was a special version of the Navitimer with a brushed case. For some reason, a chronograph was a more complete watch in my opinion.
My second mechanical watch was a Rolex Submariner 16800. A Panerai became only my third watch. A second-hand Luminor Marina PAM 111 with painted dial from 2005. In 2011, I replaced that PAM with a new version of the 111 featuring a magical sandwich dial.
A gorgeous new PAM 372 was added to the collection in 2012. The 372 is the closest you can get to a 1950/60s Panerai and it was this watch that really got me into vintage Panerai. I remember, prices for historical Panerai watches were at their peak.
While doing online research in late 2012, I stumbled upon the Homageforum, a place where people shared their experiences in building so-called homages of vintage Panerai watches. An homage is a self-made replica. The goal is to get as close as possible to the real thing. This can be compared to building a car replica like the Shelby Cobra for instance. Most parts are custom-made but the movements can be taken from historical pocket watches or from alarm clocks in order to give it a proper vintage touch. You cannot imagine how many beautiful pocket watches were used as movement donors and ultimately destroyed in this process.
The following picture shows a 1940s Rolex pocket watch which I bought to extract the movement. In the end I did not have the heart to destroy it and the watch remained in original condition until today.
However, some guys on the forum knew how to convert movements, others how to treat parts like hands and dials to make them look old. It was a fascinating discovery and inspired by the dynamics of the forum, I tried to assemble a total of three watches myself. I learned a lot in the process and it was fun making them but the results were not satisfactory. These watches lack the most important feature of a vintage Panerai – the historical component, the very fact that the original watches were used as military tools during real operations. At the end of the day, an homage watch is just a lie, no matter how accurate it is.
After my third attempt at building a watch, I lost interest and instead, I began to research historical movements. Data of thousands of Rolex, Cortebert and Angelus watches found their way into my databases. With the acquired knowledge, it slowly started to dawn on me that dozens of supposedly original vintage Panerai watches had similarly converted movements as seen on the Homageforum. This really freaked me out! Suddenly, I encountered a blurred line which I was not expecting to find and all kinds of bizarre and fascinating anomalies started to unfold.
What to do with this explosive information? As a passionate Panerai enthusiast, I did what I thought was right. I started publishing my findings on Paneristi.com in order to inform collectors about what I had discovered.
My third post in which I pointed out that an important and revered piece had been altered with a pocket watch movement and a replaced dial turned out to be pure dynamite. This very watch had been presented in a famous book about vintage Panerai by two highly respected German authors.
The level of scrutiny which I was able to bring to the table shocked senior members to the core. All hell broke loose. Unable to refute the evidence presented, some members resorted to personal attacks in an attempt to stop me. My membership on the Homageforum was brought up against me. Soon claims were made that I was remote controlled by an ominous puppeteer, whose sole intention was to ridicule senior Paneristi members in public.
Jake Ehrlich, the author and publisher of Jake’s Rolex World aka Rolexmagazine.com, witnessed these attacks. He could not believe that the members of said forum would not embrace my findings. Jake contacted me and we talked for hours. We became friends and worked on amazing projects together.
During the heated discussion on the Paneristi forum, the moderators suddenly decided to ban me for lifetime and to my total surprise, they altered my post by removing crucial information like the case number from the original text. They also deleted a picture containing the case number of the watch in question. A case number search on Google would no longer lead to my post.
It became apparent that the inner circle of this group was trying to burry the truth. Too many people had invested in highly questionable watches. Some of them knew this all too well and what usually happened is, they would simply pass the watches to the next guy without mentioning the issues. Basically, they were scamming each other among themselves. Ironically, their intention to shut me down led to the idea for Perezcope, the very project that would fundamentally change the world of vintage Panerai forever.
Perezcope has come a long way since then. It has evolved into a signature in-depth research platform for Panerai, Rolex and many other brands and is world famous for its unique horological forensics that provide facts based on hard evidence. Thank you for your interest.
Follow me on Instagram: perezcope
“There are two histories: the official history, lying, and then there is the secret history, where you can find the true causes of events.”
Honoré de Balzac
Jose Pereztroika was born and raised in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. He studied interior and industrial design at FHNW in Basel before branching into advertising and working for several major Swiss advertising agencies such as DDB and BBDO. To date, he has worked on more than 800 national and international projects, covering diverse disciplines within the span of 17 years.
Developing fresh, new ideas which are driven by latest technologies is his passion. A profound interest in sharpening his skills and acquiring new ones helps him create extraordinary solutions. Add in his strong sense for quality and excellence in execution, the very ingredients for successful and award winning projects for clients such as IKEA, Credit Suisse, Clinique, AXA Winterthur, Lipton, Jaguar, UBS, Subaru, Knorr, Land Rover, etc.
Watches, especially the very first vintage Panerai watches produced by Rolex between 1936 and 1955, are his passion. He is commited to unearth the true history of these watches since he first stumbled upon them in 1998. The results of his research are based on a deep understanding of manufacturing processes of movement suppliers such as Cortebert, Angelus and Montilier and the history of these renowned Swiss companies.
In 2014, Jose Pereztroika went to Ko Samui, Thailand for a 12-month sabbatical leave. It is here were he created some of the most advanced Rolex and Panerai databases. Amazed by his new impressions and experiences, he decided to turn Southeast Asia into his base.