Strap changes on a watch can completely transform the look and feel of a watch. A myriad of strap suppliers allow Panerai owners to feel like they have a new watch every day simply by changing the strap. We’ll look into some examples in this post.

As promised from my review on the Panerai PAM 312 3-day automatic, I wanted to go through with you the different strap options available, but in particular, show you our favourites. Before we do this, why is there such a strong strap culture among Panerai fans? We can put it down to 3 main reasons:

  1. as mentioned, a strap change can transform the look and presence of your watch
  2. there are plenty of strapmakers in the market giving you lots of strap options
  3. strap changes are very easy to do

Some Panerai watches have a screw based pin, while others use the quick strap change mechanism. This mechanism consts of a pin with a spring-loaded latch built into the lug of the watch. Simply slide the pin in until it reaches the other lug, use the tool (or even a toothpick) to hold the latch down, push the pin in further and release. The latch holds onto the pin and prevents it from sliding out unless you press down on the latch again.

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Quick strap change mechanism

 First up is the OEM black alligator strap. This is the strap that is provided with the PAM312. We won’t go into much detail as the strap details were already covered by the review.

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 OEM black alligator strap

Next up is the OEM rubber strap that also comes with the PAM312. We’ve yet to use this strap but it’s a classic Panerai design that comes in handy if you are to swim or dive with your watch and want to avoid ruining the leather. We’re not fans of rubber straps as they’re not pleasant on the wrist.

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OEM rubber strap

The Kev Ammo strap is definitely a crowd pleaser, especially amongst the Paneristi. This strap has a huge fan base. The straps are made by Kevin “Adeeos” Rogers, the original ammo strap maker. Don’t be fooled by other ammo straps, Kevin’s are the original and quite frankly, the best. His straps are handcrafted using the leather from 65 year old pouches that were used to carry ammunition in WWII. These vintage military leathers are soft and have a great patina on them. Above all,  they also carry a lot of history with them.

The strap is traditionally long and thick with equally large keepers and buckle. This is the aim though, as the size and style matches a Panerai watch very well. The leather is very soft, comfortable to wear and definitely has that military edge to it. If you are looking for an ammo to give your watch that military or rugged look, Kev’s straps should be your only choice.

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 The famous Kev ammo strap (approx AUD$380)

Next on every Panerai fan’s watch list should be a superb ABP strap. ABP stands for Atelier du Bracelet Parisien. They are a luxury leather strap maker located in the heart of Paris. They have an amazing array of leathers available for their customers from lizard, alligator, snake, toad, ostrich, emu, calf, buffalo, llama, stingray, cobra, even seal and anaconda skins. Their leathers are sourced from the very best suppliers in the world and come in various colours. There is a special ageing technique that they apply called “special tanning” that gives the leather a special texture and colour. Customers can then go onto customise strap thickness, linings, stitching, holes, shape, folded or painted edges etc.

We picked up the ABP dark brown special tanning below on a holiday to Paris. The strap is thicker that I expected it to be and took some time to break in. However the leather quality is amazing and this strap is definitely built to last. It’s lined underneath with a nice cream coloured calf leather and punched with the ABP logo. Stitching is very neat and edges are neatly painted. Alligator scales are nice and square so you know they are definitely using the sought-after parts of the skin. Strap prices will be anywhere from $250 to $400 depending on the leather and level of customisation.

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ABP dark brown “special tanning” (AUD$300)

The OEM Panerai dive strap below is one of several dive-specific straps that Panerai make. The others are made from nylon and come in a blue or yellow colour. This one is unique as it is made of rubber with a stitched logo with a carbon-fiber look. Similar to the other dive straps, it is velcro based and is much longer than the standard length straps. The reason for this is that it is intended to be able to wrap around your wrist when wearing a wet suit or diving suit. Given its length, this strap doesn’t get much wear, but we’ve kept it for its ‘cool’ factor.

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 OEM Panerai dive strap (AUD$2oo)

The OEM gold cashmere strap is another favourite among Panerai fans. What distinguishes this strap for any other gold calf leather strap is the texture of the leather itself and the patina it picks up the more you wear it. The surface of the leather has a broken texture to it and as the strap is worn more and more, there is a nice aged colour to the leather itself. This strap, as with all OEM Panerai leather straps is very soft and comfortable to wear.

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 OEM Panerai gold cashmere (AUD$330)

The OEM black buffalo strap is the default strap used on Panerai’s such as the PAM232. This strap is made of buffalo leather and is much tougher that calf leather. It has a textured grain to it and is not smooth like the calf leathers, however works really well with matte or black cased watches. We’ve combined it with a black buckle to give it a stealthy look. This strap gets a lot of wear, we can’t quite pinpoint why but it’s a favourite.

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OEM Panerai black buffarlo (AUD$330)

Next up is the highly sought-after OEM JV strap. This strap is named after Jules Verne. Jules was a legendary French novelist, poet, and playwright and his works were heavily based on science fiction. He wrote 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea which is about an extraordinary undersea adventure. Panerai ties this with its marine heritage with the JV strap. It is an alligator strap that has been given a special treatment to give it a nubuck or suede-like feel. It’s not a shiny or glossy leather, but has lot’s of small fibres on it. This is certainly a strap that is in demand by Panerai aficionados as it is a strap that looks better and better as it ages. Edges are painted and as you can see, stitching is very neat as per all OEM Panerai straps.

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 OEM Panerai Jules Verne (AUD$420)

Finally we have the OEM Panerai MX strap. This strap is similar to your ordinary black calf leather strap but we find the leather to be a little stiffer and not as soft as the usual calf leathers. What sets this strap apart from the others is the buckle. The MX buckle has the Panerai “OP” logo and text laser engraved. It is a larger buckle with the same vintage design as the very early Panerai straps. It also comes in a colour similar to that of the gold cashmere strap above.

Certainly not as comfortable as other straps but it adds a vintage look and feel to your Panerai. The original MX strap from very early Panerai’s can be seen for sale for around the $1000 mark. That’s a lot of money for a leather strap that is 40-50 years old. There was so much demand for it that Panerai remade it as below.

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 OEM Panerai MX strap in black (AUD$380)

No matter what you decide on, changing straps can be fun but also expensive. “Changing shoes” as many would like to call it really does change the look of your watch and makes you feel like you are wearing a different watch. You can find many great condition second hand examples on www.paneristi.com in the Accessories Market. If the budget extends to brand new straps, look to your local authorised dealer who usually will have a limited stock of OEM straps available for purchase. Finally, there are many aftermarket suppliers such as ABP (custom order yours here), TedSu, and Rob Montana.

For further strap reviews visit Panerai Central and Panerai Source.

Below is a video we created on how to change a strap on a Panerai with the quick change mechanism.