I've always lusted for a 127 but could never justify the cost for the watch considering the movement used in it. I was secretly hoping that the appearance of the 372, with 1950 case and in-house movement and a price of around $10K, would drive down the prices of the 127, but they seem to be as high as ever (I haven't been on this forum for a couple of years, but 127s were going for about $13K then but they're going for close to $20K now!!). Can anyone explain what the 127 has that the 372 lacks that keeps the 127 at a high valuation?
Now that 372 is out and readily available at fair price, given all its great features, case, movement, crystal etc. You still prefer to buy 127. Whatever reasons make you choose 127 over 372, are exactly the ones that keep 127 prices high.
they didn't start manufacturing their own movements until 2006, therefore there's a certain tradition. Why are PreA & PreV peices so expensive? Or even the Angelus peices? A few years ago you could pick up Angelus alarm clocks with the same movement in them for $75-$100, have you ever wound one? Talk about rough! However it's a certain historical value and tradition. A good amount of Panerai collectors don't care about movements, and never have, as long as they are accurrate and something robust that they don't have to baby and can be easily repaired, I personally think that goes along with the traditional, military 'tool watch' aspect of the Panerai brand. I love my ETA based pams, not to take away from the new inhouse pieces those are great as well, but if the majority of Paneristi's were movement snobs this forum probably wouldn't exist.
compare almost any current Ferrari or Porsche w/ one of the classics. the classics are slower, have some rust or other issues, less reliable, trouble finding parts,very expensive service, have inferior or no air conditioning, etc. but many sell for multiples of the current models. scarcity, retention of value, collector interest, are only 3 of many reasons. if you don't feel it you will only buy a new car, fortunately there are those that choose the classics and maintain their originality so that others of us, who can't afford to buy them or for some other reason don't, can enjoy looking at them. if you have the chance, go to monterey/carmel california this month to the car activities there. there are many parallels between the classics cars and classic watches that are even more evident there.
I own two 'classic' air-cooled Porsches - a 1987 911 and a 1995 911. I get where you're going with the Porsche analogy, but it's not really a good one. The early Porsches were completely different cars - totally different appearance, a much more raw, visceral driving experience (no driver aids, no power steering, little to no sound insulation, simple interiors with bare bones dashes, etc. etc.) The newer water-cooled cars starting with the 996 in 1999 were 'ugly' in the eyes of the Porsche faithful (me included), and sported many 'improvements' that were only there to meet stricter noise/emissions standards and had nothing to do with improving the driving experience. Couple that with less than sound engineering on the normally aspirated 996/997 engines (Google 'IMS Issue' or 'RMS Issue' if you're interested in the gory details) and you'll get more evidence as to why the earlier cars are more desirable.
The 127/372 comparison is entirely different. I haven't seen the 372 in the flesh, but photos and other information I've read lead me to believe that it has virtually the same appearance as the 127, and is possibly more historically correct. The 372 has an in-house movement which is typically seen by watch collectors as an improvement over an ETA movement like that used in the 127. The 127 isn't really an 'historical' watch in the sense that it is a reissue of a historical watch that contained an outsourced movement (albeit a Special Edition that was produced in small numbers). Early Porsches are the real deal, the originals.
I'm certainly not putting down the 127 in any way. I think it is a terrific watch and I'd love to own one. But with the introduction of the 372, basically the same watch in terms of appearance but sporting an in-house movement rather than a more generic, outsourced movement and obtainable for about 1/2 the price of the 127, I see it as a pretty attractive alternative. Which leads back to my original post about being surprised it hasn't caused values of the 127 to significantly drop. But apparently the Panerai community currently values the rarity and soul of the 127 more. I wonder if time will tell a different story.
The market as a whole has softened a little from what I've seen....
August 3 2012, 2:55 PM
but it has nothing to do with the 372. A couple years ago 127s were going for a little more than they are, but you aren't going to see a huge plunge as people thought. The fact is that there is just something special with the 127 and 217 that can't be explained, they represent a time and an era in Panerai history. I own a 372 because of the price point but I still dream of owning a 217 and 127 all the time...one day I will
There are now more than three times as many 372's (6000) than 127'2 (1950+oor...27 IIRC). And very possibly more 372's to come. They are not called 'Special Editions' for nothing.
That said, I prefer the 372 as I view it as more historically 'correct' which is one of the main aspects I value in a Panerai. I would love to have a 6152/1 but the 372 is as close as I'm likely to get.
Anybody who wants a 127 to wear and enjoy for the simple fact that they like a 47mm 1950 case PAM will likely find the 372 a good (and perhaps even better) option. However, for people who want a 127 because it is THE "Fiddy", nothing has changed. The 372 is not an option. Some may choose the 127 for some actual preference about the design but most who choose the Fiddy will do so because it is rare, iconic, a Special Edition, collectible, etc.
And of course we all know many many people will pay a higher premium to have something that others can't.
Lucky for me the Fiddy never really appealed to me and I'm not a collector, I'm an enthusiast. To me the 372 is just a much, much better looking and more interesting watch. Rarity, collectability, etc, have no bearing on what sings to me.
... kill the market for the 127, or at least bring an end to the high plateau that prices seem to have settled at. That seems to be the case I feel. Yes, askings for the 127 remain very high but I am very curious to see exactly how many transactions get actually done. Hardly any, if I were to guess.
Not to take anything away from both these pieces as watches of course. The 127 was long my grail and the 372 has DNA written all over at at a very reasonable price point to the serious Panerai enthusiast. Not to mention easily available as well.