I hope you will enjoy it.
The Black Seal 5218-218A
This is no doubt the controversial Pre-Vendome watch
This piece was first projected very early 1996, drawn and specified in mid 1996, final specifications in December 1996, re-specified & re-final drawings in January or February 1997 by Panerai in Firenze. Delay and re-specifications happened because all Pre-Vendome pieces did not meet success expectations (not happening fast enough), already in financial difficulties, Panerai in Firenze wanted to minimize their cost of production and therefore wanted to ‘self’-produce or produce locally their latest watches. Even if the Black Seal watch project was planned for production in 1996, commercially expected by the Panerai in Firenze agents for September 1996, to produce locally took some times to put in place and it was slow, thus explaining why the watch only saw the light of sun in late 1997.
All Pre-Vendome watches were produced in Switzerland by the Frères Guenat (Company Name: Montres Valgine), all but 5218-209 5218-210 5218-218 which are the very last watches specified by Panerai in Firenze, those last, had been produced in Italy, Coro Spa (Italy) for the cases, and by Fabiano Alessi ‘Croem’ for all fittings and adjustments, movements et dials were sourced by ‘Valgine’’s subcontracted companies.
After the acquisition of Panerai by Vendome, Coro (Italy) was initially chosen to produce the post Vendome watch cases, but past the first 500 Pre-A series cases, Vendome decided to end their contract and the company ceased its activities.
The 5 pieces 5218-218A Black Seal were in fact completed and released only in late 1997 Post Pre-Vendome era. A secret, a surprise to all but one, in Mai 1997 Panerai in Firenze had sold all their rights to watches and instruments to Vendome, this resulting that officially Panerai in Firenze which continued its other activities as Panerai Sistemi spa, could not officially accept delivery of those watches. However and somehow someone at Panerai Sistemi took delivery of those pieces. I believe that most of the 5 pieces were kept till the end of Panerai Sistemi spa in 2000 (1999/2000 ) then all the 5 pieces were sold. Somehow 1 piece (probably even 2 pieces,) is with current Panerai (The CEO was photographed sporting one on wrist, photo somewhere on web), a private party purchased 2 pieces, one temporally stayed with the original recipient and I believe one was with the ex-Panerai distributor 1993-1997 (Gioie).
In 2002 (2001?) a Few Panerai enthusiasts were aware that some direct and indirect parties of the ex-Panerai in Firenze together with in the complicity professional parties as well a freshly established horological company were ‘producing’ some Pre-Vendome pieces. Even if partly assembled using some new old stock parts, none of those that were seen or discussed (often online) had the full original configurations, despite the resemblance and whatever certifications, they are simply put, nothing short of FAKES! Although legally in Italy, it seems that if a watch is 66% made of original parts it is considered as authentic, sold by ‘genuine’ people!
I believe there are out there in total approx 25 ‘Pre-Vendome Black Seal’ pieces, may be even more, safe for 5 pieces, most are with no case-back markings, no watch numbers, incomplete or reworked packaging, even wrong cases or finishes etc… I am aware of 6 re-replicas of the 5 genuine pieces, their case-back engraving clearly shows the differences, and many of the others are often with blanked or semi-blanked case back.
Regardless what anybody else says about the 5218-218A P 001; P 002; P 003, P 004; P 005, they are 5 original and true Panerai Pre-Vendome watches. Their legal existence can be discussed or challenged but, their authenticity (100%) is entire. They came out complete; with a Pre-Vendome box (like all previous models), with a named libretto (like all previous models), with a box sticker (like all previous models), with a screwdriver (like all previous models). BUT Unlike most of those assembled later…
Very recently on the web it is said about
the 5218-218A something like ‘new researches (what researches QWERTY or AZERTY?) indicate that those watches were
assembled by Panerai in Firenze ex-employees’, to me this statement is incomplete and therefore a false declaration. If it is about the re-replicated 5218-218 then in part it is also a wrong conclusion/deduction.
I never before published those below documents; In the past I shared them with a handful amount of people each time specifically requesting the same I am here asking you.
I ASK YOU:
DO NO DUPLICATE, DO NOT COPY, DO NOT PUBLISH OR RE-PUBLISH,
DO NOT HOST AND DO NOT RE-HOST THE 2 (TWO) below DOCUMENTS
In those document you will find reference of the Panerai Slytech Black Seal 5218-218A, It is not only referred, it also include its 1997 list price.
GIOIE snc, was the appointed exclusive distributor in Italy of Panerai & Slytech Panerai watches from 1994 to 1997 (till the take over by the Vendome group)
Slytech Project (1995/1996): This project was worked on from
1995 and completed in the early part of 1996. It details what were the plans for the new brand to be: SLYTECH