Those who know me would know that I had been looking for another watch for quite some time. I narrowed it down to the RXW MM20, the IWC Mark XII with the JLC movement, and the Omega Co-Axial Chronograph.
I had been wanting to see the RXW MM20 in person for about 2 years. I had talked to Bill Sohne and Chuck Maddox, two renown contributors at TimeZone’s Omega Forum, about the MM20 on AIM countless times; they both own one and love theirs. Panerai brought a lawsuit against Ken Trading and forced production on this watch to stop, there had been a few re-issues, and most recently they were sold at OrientTime.com. The OrientTime site had an order form in plain text (no SSL encryption), and I was uneasy to place an order across the world with my credit card information in plain text.
I put off buying a watch for a while; kept myself very busy with work, photography, and consulting. Nevertheless, my subconscious kept telling me that it was time for another watch. Earlier this week I casually went to the Big Watch Forum’s Trading forum, there I saw a listing with a brand-new-in-box MM20 from a seller who happened to be a Bay Area resident!! Two days and half a dozen emails later, we met up at a Wells Fargo in Santa Clara, turned out he owned 3 MM20’s, one as his daily wear, and two brand spanking new ones as spares, in case something happened to his daily wear. (yes, he loved the MM20, he also had a Panerai, which started his big watch obsession). He took off his daily MM20 for me to try on, my main concern about getting this watch was the size, it is 47mm wide without the crown! It does look huge in person and on my wrist, but maybe it was the styling of the dial, it looked just right. The watch was more beautiful in person than in pictures! I had to get it. As I don’t keep any money in Wells Fargo, we decided to just do it via PayPal, so we drove to my condo across the street and 10 minutes later, the watch was mine! Amin, the seller, was kind enough to show me how to change straps, the watch was shipped with the brown strap and I prefer the black strap. I must say this was one of the best internet transactions I’ve had. Amin, an attorney at Google, was a real pleasure to deal with. He was also very knowledgeable about the RXW, Panerai, and other big watches. The watch was in original BNIB conditions, it had never been worn! I actually felt a little bit of guilt as I removed the protective films and put it on my wrist.
The RXW MM20 was made by Ken Trading in Japan, it’s a very close homage to the original MARINA MILITARE, which translates to Navy in Italian. The original MARINA MILITARE was made by Rolex in 1938, and is the watch Panerai now emulates. It has the Swiss UNITAS 6497 movement, 316L stainless steel case, and a sapphire crystal. The UNITAS 6497 is not real fancy, but it’s real fun to wind. The dial actually has two layers, the bottom one is a layer of Super Luminova, and the top layer was cut so you see the bottom layer at the markings and arabic numerals (12, 3, 6 and 9). The base dial employes antimagnetic soft iron. RXW refers to the dial as Plasmir. It has a sub-dial for the second display at the 9-o’clock position. The case is brushed stainless steel, but the bezel is polished. Like some Panerai’s, the crown has a crown guard, it’s pretty useless but it does look nice. The watch comes with 3 boxes; a very well-crafted wooden box, a black paper box and a cardboard box.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so here was my attempt at watch photography, follow this link if you fancy viewing them in their full-resolution glory. 🙂
Technorati Tags: horology, iwc, mm20, omega, rxw, rxw_mm20, watch, watches
Hi , I just found your blog, how is the RXW MM20 now, do you still own it?
Any latest picture, its even more difficult to find it now!
I still have it, wear it pretty often… Don’t have any recent macro shots of it… I’ve switched to the brown strap about a year ago, also switched to pushpins. Love this watch. 🙂
I think you can still find them at Big Watch Forum…
ayn, this is retrored from SF. damn, you got this thing? wouldn you mind shedding some light on how this piece was obtained? it seems it can’t be touched for at least a grand nowadays. anyways, i’m looking to trade in the IWC Fligerchrono and picking up this piece and the new milgraph.
Hi Pete, I looked for one for a while, was just my luck to find one in brand in new box condition from a local bay area resident on Big Watch Forum’s marketplace. That would probably be the best place to look for one. Expect to pay around 1k for a mint one, and 1.2-1.4k for a BNIB one. I haven’t checked prices on these things since I bought mine though, so those were just ballpark figures back in Fall/Winter 2005.
Thanks for your post Andrew. I believe your comments were instrumental in my decision to get this piece. I acquired mine a little more than a year ago. I have truly enjoyed wearing it for several reasons that are to be expected, but also some unexpected ones. A close friend of mine has the 1950–which I’ve had my eye on for a couple of years–anyway I found the 1950 for sale from a reliable seller, and my friend snatched it up. I got my MM20 about three months later I think. I do know there’s a difference in quality between Panerai and RXW–I also happen to own a GMT Panerai–but when I put the 1950 next to the MM20–the MM20 truly holds its own. It is a much heavier watch. Why exactly I don’t know, but I suppose the fact that the 1950 has a display back would make it lighter–also the movement of the 1950 has been heavily altered from the original ETA. So, I enjoy the look, feel of the piece. But what I really enjoy is that while I paid over $1K for mine–at $10K for the 1950 I would be too afraid to wear it MOST OF THE TIME–like I wear my MM20. I don’t worry about this piece, I figure the most it will drop in value with a few scratches is a couple hundred bucks–tops. A strange reason to enjoy a watch–but it has so far stopped me from really wanting the 1950. Thanks for you post and your fantastic pics.
Hi, can a person buy a replacment orange-brown 26mm leather band for Rxw Marina Militare? Thanks, Curt H.
you can try contacting Ken Trading in Japan directly about ordering one. I would go for a “Dirk strap” instead though, check Big Watch Forum.
i own one piece of panerai luminor with titanium case produced only 400 pieces, is it worth keeping.tq
Hi, i’m interested to purchase a MM20. how can i tell the different between a fake and original? Please advise…..Thank you!
I would search at Big Watch Forum, I remember reading a lot of thread about that when I was looking, or shortly after I got mine, as “Russian” watches started showing up. Obviously if the price is too good to be true, it probably is just that. You should not find an MM20 for less than $500, a BNIB one should run more than $1200 now. But then again I haven’t been looking at prices for years coz I don’t want to buy another one. I would suggest do your research, hang out and read up at Big Watch Forum, send out PMs to members who know the watch well, and you should be able to tell between real and fake. btw the Russian ones are not bad for the price really.
Great blog of my favourite watch. Congrats!
IÂ´m the happy owner too of a MM 20 original from Ken Trading
Great watch but poor crown protector :-(.
I need to replace it asap and tried insistently to get help from RXW but never got answered back.
I just came back to look at this piece because I finally located a new in box one in the States (presumably, awaiting email from bigwatchforum). Buyer wants 2 grand. Never seen, or heard sub 1000 watches appreciate this much. BTW thanks for the heads up on bigwatchforum, although I am on Panersiti all the time I never bothered to check. How is it holding up as a daily?
Sorry it took a while to reply to your comment… I’m not surprised they go over $2k, as even at $2k the MM20 is a pretty good value. I don’t wear mine as often as before, been wearing my Omega Broadarrow Co-axial GMT most of the time, but I do wear it at least once a week and I still love it. It keeps great time and it’s such a great looking watch.
i was researching on the ken trading rxw when I found your blog. How do you tell fake rxw from the real ones? You mention the “russian” ones popping up. Would those have the backplate stamped with the unitas movement as well?
there is one on ebay right now that started for $1, no reserve auction!
I have a mint Ken Trading RXW MM20 I am looking to sell for $1300 if anyone is interested. It has all three boxes and all papers and the straps have never been worn. I have an extra large wrist so I had to get a new strap. Anyway, contact me at email@example.com if you are interested and I will send pictures. I have tons of references.
hello! just got my MM20 couple of days ago.found it at book-off used & unused items here in Shibuya,Tokyo.
Its new! bet never been used. got it for only Â¥99,000
got & had almost all great watches but with this BEUATY, definitely keep it forever & perhaps for my kids or grandkids then.
no production or re-production of this kind.
wonder how much Panerai paid Marina Militare.
Did yours come with an instruction paper? It looked liek it was just printed out off a printer? Was it in english or japanese? I see some in English and some in Japanese, are they both authentic?
Hmm I don't remember how the papers look like and it's difficult to get to the box right now coz it's under a whole pile of stuff…
Anyone know where to get the rxw mm20 fixed if there is ever a problem, or the crown guard or crown breaks?
Andrew, for many years now i love your pics of ‘our’ famous RXW, but never wrote it to you … now it’s done mate! there is my babe…
Cool. Thanks!!/ayn–Andrew Nghttp://andrewng.me
😉 hope you liked my babes pic and maybe you can add it to yours … family affair.
Great photos! I am a new MM20 owner myself. Just wondering if your crown guard is somewhat loose?
Mine is when it is opened.
It’s not loose, pretty much the same as it was new. It was never super tight though.
my MM20 crown was lose
my MM20 crown was loose I send to a watch shop for service they did it for me and it need to do some pouching at the pin and the winding screw it perfect tight now
Just bought one from UK seller.
Advertised as brand new but had a few scratches when I received it.
To those wondering about current prices..
They are up..