Panerai Says “FU” With Limited Edition PAM336 Watch For China

Panerai Says “FU” With Limited Edition PAM336 Watch For China

Panerai Says

Probably good that Panerai doesn't sell an "FU" watch in the western world as we are probably going to take it as a signal of their amusement that we are putting up with their prices. No, Panerai doesn't even care too much about the English speaking world for the time being. Richemont, and other luxury watch groups have their sights securely set on (primarily) China, and other parts of Asia, given the fact that the only excitement in watch sales to be seen now is coming from those regions of the world. Each brand is vying for the attention and respect of the Chinese consumer - who is fundamentally a different animal than that the western consumer as I understand it. I hear tales of how Chinese consumers actually understand the mechanics of watches, know the values, and have keen eyes for details. Scary stuff for some watch retailers and some brands! Actually this is good. Not that people like us are without knowledge, but we aren't exactly the "typical" watch buyer here in the states (which is why each of you needs to educate at least one person a month on the pleasure of being into expensive little machines).

Panerai Says

As much as I don't like being in a country where my beloved hobby and career isn't taken as seriously as it would if I lived in Europe or Hong Kong - I am happy that in places where watches are selling well, the consumers are forcing brands to put their best stuff on the table. Panerai never made a watch with a four-leaf clover on it, but they don't have a problem making one with the Chinese character "Fu" that means good luck, or good fortune. Probably the most important "positive" character in the Chinese language as I am told. Is this the best way of telling consumers in China that "Panerai really does care about you?" I am not sure. I think enough Panerai fans will enjoy the novelty, but history tells me that Chinese consumers like western things because they are western. Panerai is seen as an Italian brand, not a Chinese one. So why is there Chinese on the dial? It is entirely possible that this tactic works wonderfully for brand fans looking for a cool new limited edition piece - but how will it work in the long term. It is part of what I call "Asianification" of watch brands. Basically where a non-Asian brand focuses their designs, sizes, limited editions, etc... on the Asian market. The result is a total removal of the character and status that made the brands popular in the first place. If people in China want to buy watches made for the Chinese market, they have loads of local options. When they buy Panerai they want an Italian watch with an Italian or Swiss movement.

Panerai Says

I think that having dedicated brand boutiques and marketing in a certain region is enough communication that a brand is "serious" about that region's people. China has a lot of attention from high-end watch brands. Those brands should focus on what they do best in their home countries and carry it over to China, not try new things there necessarily.

The watch in steel, is 44mm wide with a Swiss (base ETA) OP II movement that is manually wound. I think this might be a Unitas. It has 50 hours of power reserve, and Panerai has them all COSC Chronometer certified. Water resistant to 300 meters, the watch has a sapphire crystal and a subsidiary seconds dial. Pretty standard stuff for entry level Panerai watches - which is what this is. At 1,500 units in the limited edition of the piece, these aren't exactly super special in the scheme of Panerai watches. The whole allure here seems to be the whole "Panerai + Fu" aspect of the watch. You are basically talking about a simple Panerai with the Fu character on the dial as the 6 o'clock indicator. So while enough people in China will love the watch, I don't feel as though it communicates a sincere level of Panerai "connecting" with the Chinese people. Panerai and other European brands need to stick with what they are good at, and simply market it well in China. Changing their image too much with permanently take away from the brand's character, and ultimately damage sales in China, and the world over. Price for the Panerai Luminor Marina PAM366 China edition watch is reportedly about $4,400.

See Panerai watches on eBay here.

See Panerai watches on Amazon here.Panerai Says

Panerai Says
Panerai Luminor Marina Logo Manual Winding PAM 005 44m
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $4,699.00
Buy It Now
Panerai Says
Official Panerai Luminor Marina Logo PAM48 Wristwatch
$3,000.00 (46 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2h 25m

Bid now

Panerai Says
$3,150.00 (55 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2h 38m

Bid now

Panerai Says
Ex++ Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days PAM00359 PAM359 44mm Auto Mens Watch
Time Remaining: 5h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $6,269.00
Buy It Now
Panerai Says
Panerai Luminor Power Reserve PAM00126 PAM 126 40mm
Time Remaining: 8h 47m
Buy It Now for only: $4,750.00
Buy It Now
Panerai Says
Panerai Luminor Submersible Depth Guage Limited Blue Dial Automatic Heavy
Time Remaining: 11h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $20,000.00
Buy It Now

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  • Dean Grant Baker

    Pretty pathetic cheesy marketing gimic that panders on ethnicity, instead of quality.
    Seeing as how I just read a report that most Chinese can’t write the characters in their language anymore I’m betting there will be quite a few left unsold. I’m also pretty sure the oversized watch will flop in China.
    As an aside; that stupid L swiss L for Luminova is ridiculous and pointless.
    I don’t get it; they’re boring, tired, dated and just plain ugly, tarting the face up with a Chinese character that most of the population won’t even understand is hilarious, somebody really failed on the marketing research.

    • admin

      I love the passion Dean!


    This is a shabby way of saying “FU” to the US(A).
    If Dean is correct about leftover inventories, then they can hide these watches in chinese dumplings, & give them away @ random. That budget
    price is the lowest I’ve ever seen for Panerai.
    They may just end up like the Ferrari branded watches that never left the starting gates.

  • Chip

    Understandable why Panerai might want to say ‘FU’ to China.

  • Damien COLLIGNON

    Sell your soul and it will never come again!

  • Dangeruss

    So no one recalls the special NY edition Panerai did of the 318 with the Brooklyn Bridge on the caseback? Fundamentally, how is this really different. Targeted to US customers (even more specifically to NY’ers) -vs- catering to a massive consumer base in China.


  • Guido

    Dear Adrian,

    great article, thank you!

    • admin

      who is Adrian?

  • Rick Grossman

    Ironic that they would make a watch for the China market given the fact that China makes quality fakes of the watch.

    • Laurie

      Chip says:
      August 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm
      Understandable why Panerai might want to say ‘FU’ to China.

      And this-
      Dangeruss says:
      August 28, 2010 at 6:13 pm
      So no one recalls the special NY edition Panerai did of the 318 with the Brooklyn Bridge on the caseback? Fundamentally, how is this really different. Targeted to US customers (even more specifically to NY’ers) -vs- catering to a massive consumer base in China.


      Pretty much settles it. Nice rant though. Love your passion too AA!
      I would love a watch with FU on it. Especially a Panerai!

      • admin

        Polarization creates passion. Thanks for the thoughts Laurie.

  • ZL

    This article is more than 2 years old, and maybe no one is paying attention anymore, but I just saw it. The article brought up some interesting points for me, and points that are maybe growing more relevant by the year.
    First, I’m an American who’s been in China for about 3 years, Shanghai about 1 year. One comment said that this is a character that “most of the population won’t even understand.” Incorrect. It is a character used for decoration all over the place and probably most school children recognize it. China has 92% literacy (+ consider the other Chinese speaking countries and the diaspora). Anyone in a position to even glimpse this watch on someone else’s wrist will know it. Just couldn’t leave that misinformation out there.
    Ok, that said, I wanted to add my thoughts to the point on appealing to the Chinese consumer with Chinese characters. Since things like imported watches are even more expensive here than abroad, I have been looking at Chinese watches. I figured that if I’m going to get a Chinese watch I’d like it to be confidently Chinese, something other than a wannabe (not interested in straight up fakes or imitations). I thought a watch with Chinese numerals would be cool if tastefully done. These, however turned out to be extremely few and far between. Why? Maybe because watches are a foreign import and concept to begin with — and maybe because Chinese have a strange inferiority complex. I think (and hope) there is a growing trend of pride in things Chinese, rather than just worshiping the foreign. Will we see a day when the international standard for all consumer products is dictated by Chinese aesthetics? Hard to imagine now, but who knows! 
    However, I doubt this Panerai would fail to sell because of the ?. Are there enough people that have the money, understand watches, and also hang ? on their walls and wear various jade luck charms? Certainly. Some people will like it, and given the size of the Chinese market, I imagine “some” will be enough. Other comments have noted examples of limited editions for specialized markets, so the “pandering” accusation is unfair. Panerai is an Italian company, but the “Swiss made” on the bottom is English. I’ve seen a Rolex with Chinese numerals, incidentally. I don’t think Chinese will understand it as “Panerai really does care about you,” but I think there would be a market for it and might get some attention for the brand. Probably doesn’t represent a major shift in brand imaging. 
    As for, “pathetic cheesy marketing gimic that panders on ethnicity, instead of quality” and “the oversized watch will flop in China,” well, such attitudes speak for themselves. A lot of “passion” based on misinformation and stereotypes is nothing unfamiliar.
    Wow. Sorry for the long ramble!

  • stone9

    ZL ??not ? but I pretty much agree with everything you said.

    The Chinese are nothing short of knowledge and passion of this brand. Some fan even started his own strap business: and got pretty famous.