Upgrading to the Nightwatch Case

This section will show some of the differences between the old style 6152 Jackson Case and the 6152 Nightwatch Case

Above shows the old Jackson made Panerai 127 case (discontinued) it was used to make the Vintage Panerai 6152 Case after shaping. Its not plain to see but this type of case was Die-Cast and mass produced. It started life as molten metal being injected into a mold and later machined finished. This is a very cost effective way of making watch cases, they offer excellent value for money and were used by many people to build their own watch projects.

The Nightwatch Case doesnt use the Die-Cast Method, this case starts life as a solid bar of Stainless Steel which is machined into shape. The authentic 6152 Panerai Vintage cases were made the same way. In fact all good quality watches cases are machined rather than die-cast. The advantages over die-cast is that the machined case has normal stainless steel hardness (die-cast is a little softer) and the machined cases are also a little more precise (but not always noticeable). The downside is that machined cases cost a lot more than die-cast to produce, especially if they are made in small batches.

Another area that will be upgraded is the dial. Above shows an early type 2mm thick 3 Piece Dial. Its a good dial, however, it uses a Plexi which was believed to be the accurate way to build these dials. This was later found to be incorrect. Authentic Vintage Panerai 6152 dials used Resin, they did have a Plexi but the Plexi was never visible, the Plexi was used to hold the lume and sat in the centre of the dial.

The image above shows how even the Holders have progressed over the years. The bottom Movement Holder with the hole in the centre is the new Nightwatch 6152 Case Holder its much closer to the genuine Vintage Panerai Holder.

Case (A) shows the old Jackson 6152 Case. What isn’t clear is that this case had a specially fabricated 2-Piece Bezel in order to fit the thick 2mm dials. The New Nightwatch Case (B) is machined from a solid block of Stainless Steel the same as the authentic cases and thus it doesn’t use or require a 2 Piece Bezel. This is important because it keeps the watch sealed from water, especially important in the 1950/60’s as the Vintage Panerai watches were made for the Italian Navy and used by divers.

Another upgrade is shown above. The older 6152 cases had pressure-fit Stem Tubes. Above we see the Nightwatch screw-in Stem Tube and Spring Loaded Crown with rubber o’rings to seal. The image above was taken after the Stem Tube was soldered into the case. The Vintage 6152 Panerai Case was also soldered, it achieved two things, firstly it made the case watertight and secondly its prevented the Stem Tube from coming loose.

The image above shows how the solder has “sweated” through the case to the outside. This is a method of soldering whereby the solder is drawn through or deep into the metal. If enough solder is added at the front of the case eventually you see it at the back around the Stem Tube, this is what the term “sweating” means. It makes a very strong water-proof seal.

Above shows the Stem Tube after being soldered and cleaned, it will be aged later. However, now is the time to check the set-up for the Crown and Crown Guard.

Pretty much all authentic Vintage Panerai 6152’s with Solid Case Backs had Dust Covers. The build above is the same.

The image above shows small adjustments being made to the slight dome on the back of the Dust Cover. Its being “set-up” so that when the Case Back is screwed in place it slightly touches the Dust Cover in the centre. This stops any upwards or downward movements inside the watch.

The Old and the New. The old Jackson type Case Back wasn’t designed to take a Dust Cover. The Nightwatch Case Back on the right is machined much deeper so that there is space for the Dust Cover.

Finally everything fits as it should.

Its time to go back and age the Stem Tube, its supposed to look 50 years old.

Looks a lot better after ageing. The authentic Panerai Stem Tubes were made from Bronze.

(A) is the New Dial with the Resin Indices (numbers) and (B) is the old style dial with Plexi Numbers. Also whats important to note is that the New Dial (A) has a textured surface (bead blasted). This makes the dial surface less shiny, you can see the difference in the two dials above.

The clarity of the resin is easy to see. The New Dial is very clear and the lume under the resin is sharp and clear. Note the old dial on the right.

Because everything on the Nightwatch Case is designed to fit together then the hole in the Movement Holder lines up exactly with the winding hole in the movement (same as the authentic watch). Whilst this may sound relatively simple, however, on the older Chinese mass-produced cases people used to struggle to get parts that were compatible and often they would have to file larger holes to make things fit. This is why some holders have slots and not holes, it’s a universal fit but it was never used on authentic Panerai Vintage Watches.

The back of the dial is also improved and much more accurate. The Dial Feet are hand-made and soldered.

Its time to put all the parts together and finish the watch.