Panerai Quick Release Strap Change System In-Depth Review

This video gives a close-up look at Officine Panerai’s incredible quick strap changing mechanism, allowing for easy watch strap swapping. The watch shown is a Luminor GMT Power Reserve.

When was the quick release system introduced?

We first started seeing Panerai watches with this system around 2006.

Which models have it?

Find the quick change system in the “Luminor 1950” style cases. You might find it at the end of J serial models, but mostly all of K series forward. It is not in base or historic collection, and is not in all 1950 models. Pro Tip: If you’re looking to purchase a Panerai watch that is part of the current catalog, find the model on their site, click the gallery and go to the second image which is usually the caseback. From here you can see if the back of the lug has the button or not.

What are the benefits of this feature?

Aside from the benefits of this feature, one of the benefits of owning a Panerai in general is that it’s the ultimate strap swap watch. This is so much a part of the Paneristi cult that many PAMs even come with extra straps and screwdrivers for changing them. You can change the look of your PAM in a matter of minutes by adding a new band.

  • What used to take minutes to change the strap now takes mere seconds with this system.
  • You have less of a chance of scratching your lugs with a screw driver. Watches like Panerai and Kobold almost always have scratches on the lugs by the time the watch hits the pre-owned market.
  • You don’t need to use strap tubes with your lug bars. Strap tubes are used on Panerai straps where the lug bars is screwed directly into the case. This is to avoid making the bar come loose from friction of the strap constantly rubbing on the bar. The quick change system locks into place horizontally, so vertical friction won’t affect it.

What are the downsides/warnings?

What Panerai probably doesn’t want you to know before pulling the trigger on a new PAM is that folks have been known to have issues with the quick release system breaking. Apparently the ring around the button is friction-forced into the case, holding the spring loaded button in place. This ring has been known to pop out. Sounds minor, right? The problem is that Panerai doesn’t offer a quick fix and usually asks for the watch to be sent back to Switzerland, sometimes for as much as an entire recasing, costing between $3,000 and $4,000 USD! Sources of these claims here, here, here, here, here and here.

What is the official name of this mechanism?

Uh… there isn’t one. Panerai clearly put a lot of work into designing this robust quick changing button/pin system, but they failed to brand it! Rolex goes way too far with branding even the tiniest design elements, but Panerai has done nothing to come up with a name for this convenient functionality. They don’t even call it anything in the official instruction manual for the watch, merely referring to it as “a special device for changing the strap and the bracelet.” This technology deserves a better designation that that!

From the Panerai user manual:

The Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT Power Reserve Automatic watch uses a special device for changing the strap and the bracelet. A pin (a), visible at the side of each strap attachment, can be released by simultaneously pushing on the push-piece (b), located on the underside of the strap attachment and on the pin itself. A special took (c), supplied in the box, enables this operation to be carried out with simplicity and precision. Before making the replacement, detach the two parts of the tool. To complete the replacement, after introducing the pin, push on the push-piece. (b).

I lost my tool, now what?

We DO NOT recommend using two paperclips or toothpicks, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Get a new tool from KeepTheTime, and if we don’t have one in stock, get two tools like this.

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