The Pre-A Intermediate Buckle
by OJ Whatley
I was lucky enough to stumble upon this strap by chance on a PRE A PAM02 black dial base made in 1997 in only 1000 pieces. I have never before seen a strap in this style but i have heard rumors of its existence.
This is what i would term a "Transitional Pre Vendome" strap. It would appear that the rarity of these straps is a result of the fact that these straps were only sold with the Pre A PAM 0102/03/04/09/10 models that were released just prior to the worldwide release and distribution of the A series 1998 models. To my knowledge, the PRE A series watches were only released to the European and Asian markets.
What is unique about this strap is that the buckle is sewn into the strap same as the Pre Vendome styled straps, but the buckle is stamped only "Panerai." The buckle is absent the OP arrows logo found on the Pre Vendome styled straps. Based on the longer length and textured, non-lined underside of the strap, this strap appears to have been made by the same manufacturer of the leather calfskin straps issued on the current (and most notably A-B series) models. The underside of the strap is stamped "Officine Panerai" with the Austria and C stampings found on the current edition straps.
One final observation; it would appear that the buckle on the 1950 is a faithful re-edition of this buckle, similarities being they are both the exact shape and both have only "panerai" stamped into the buckle. obviously, the buckle on the 1950 is a bit bigger proportionally to the buckle on this strap, and also features a removable buckle for ability to interchange buckle and straps. Maybe this is a sign of things to come, i would love to see this buckle re-issued on the historical editions.
Hope you enjoy the pics
Thanks for looking-