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Customizing Sterile Panerai Watches

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Another one from Francisco:

We have the chance of buying sterile Panerai watches. These watches are like some Paneari models, without any brand or text. Therefore, these watches are very similar to our reps.


This tuto shows how to customize these watches, Concretely, I have customized two watches. One for a woman, Belma (IsaBEL MAria) and another one for a man (Andrés Carrión). The design of Belma’s watch is more daring, and she has chosen the design. The text on both watches has been made employing decals, a cheap and versatile way for customizing.


Before showing you the front, let me show the back of these sterile watches. The movement is visible and it is a good copy of a Panerai movement.


However, we have to change the mind. This is not a rep. We are going to design an unique watch, choosing the colours, the text,…. We shall take the beauty of the Radiomir case, and the sandwich dial, that permits us to easily reluming with superb results. The final result is quite far away from a Panerai watch… this is the objective.


As the tuto is a bit long, let me show you here the final result of this customization, for motivating you to read the whole tuto.







First step is to remove the movement from the case and removing the hands.



The process is not explained here because it has been explained many times in the forum. Then the dial is removed and both faces are separated.




Next picture shows both dials, that are going to be painted,


It is very convenient to clean the dials with soap water.



If some dust or threads are on the dial the paint will cover them are they will be visible. Therefore, be very careful… that is the reason I dry the dials with watchmaker paper. Dust is the enemy here.


The dials are fastened to a cork-base using needles. An airbrush is used to paint; therefore, we need to fasten the dials with these needles.


First paint to be employed is an acrylic white base or foundation paint. This base improves the adherence of the following paint.


This is a picture of the air compressor that I use. It is a simple model, but with humidity filter…. a must.


Following picture shows the airbrush with the foundation paint.


Foundation finished. You have to apply several thin layers, employing the airbrush to dry each layer.


By the way, you can use a Panerai rep dial for this customization. The white base will cover the text. This is a picture of a rep dial, after the first layer.


When the base paint is finished it is time to paint with the desired colour.





1.- If you are not going to add text, just use whatever colour you like.


2.- If text is going to be added employing decals, you have to choose a light colour for the dial, because decals are transparent. The colour of the decal text has to be darker than the colour of the dial. For example, if the dial is dark red, the only colour available for the text will be black, or similar. If we add yellow text, the red background will darken the text, as the decal is transparent and yellow is not opaque.


To paint the dial I use this airbrush, employing Vallejo acrylic paints.



The Belma’s dial painted:


Andres’s dial:



Next step is to print the text on regular paper, for the trials, as the decals are expensive. As seen in following picture, we are going to add text on the movement. These watches are a gift, and my signature is like a dedication.


I do not explain here how to add decals, because it is explained here:


Next picture shows that the decal, as it is a plastic, has a different shine in comparison with the dial and, therefore, it is very easy to detect it. To avoid this problem we are going to apply a layer of matt varnish. And with the varnish we protect the dial and the decal.


The airbrush with the varnish:


As before, several layers are applied, drying with the airbrush between layers. Final result:


Next step is to add the decals to the movement:


And the following step is to relume dial and hands. The dials and the hand are put on a glass with acetone. Acetone quickly removes the lume and helps to remove the paint from the hands. Following picture shows the paint leaving the hands.


It is time to pain the hands. We put the hand on sticks. Picture shows the colour selected for Andres’s hands.


However, this first task is to apply the base paint to the hands.


And the paint:


The colour for Belma’s hands in brown. It is quite difficult to paint the so small seconds hand. It is directly stick it in the cork.



Now reluming. This has been explained many times…


And now we can assembly the watches.


Final result is a completely unique watch, with an excellent lume, …different, funny,… and without flaws… because this is not the rep of any watch… this is the watch we wanted to have….



I think that Andres’s watch will look better with a white or blue strap.


And a final picture of the lume.



Thanks for reading,



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Totally brilliant, thanks Onze much appreciated.

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Totally brilliant, thanks Onze much appreciated.

Who sells these Steriles?

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Totally brilliant, thanks Onze much appreciated.

Who sells these Steriles?


They used to be readily available via eBay, but are harder to find these days. Quite a few of our recommended dealers sell one or two sterile models, though.


Most, however, tend to be built as frankens - case from one place, dial from another etc...


Edit: Oh God. Was I WROOOOOOOONG! :vomit:


Just wasn't looking in the right place :lol:

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Member X

This seems like an excellent thread to bump now homages are the current hot topic :) lol


Great pictorial though, thank you! :)

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yep - good bump Member X - especially for people like me that fail to use the search button :)

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I love your work!

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Sam Circus

Amazing work done on those watches, I was just wondering how to do the paint mods on the watches ,after reading this ,I got the whole complete picture.Thanks a lot

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Cubic Hare

Old thread I know but a great read. Thanks Onze



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The astromaster

How much did this set you back haha?

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Super cool, great craftsmanship. guitar:

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