Review of Herc ‘Panny’ style Automatic

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Model #  205 Series
Brand/Model:  Herc ‘Panny’ style Automatic
Movement:  Chinese automatic
Material:  black stainless steel case, leather strap
Complications:  date display
Price:  MSRP: around $70 USD 
Plenty of photos follow the review.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.
Caution!  If you don’t like Panny homages or Chinese watches, move along, nothing to see here!  On the other hand, if you appreciate quality, strong value and good looks, welcome, and read on!
People seem to either love or hate Panny homages, the watch style that seems omnipresent these days.  With so many companies producing a dizzying array of styles as an homage to the original design, it seems that many of us either own or have tried one of these watches on for size.
I’ve had three so far, as I welcome my new Herc black steel Panny homage to the stable.  This is the fifth Herc I have purchased, with another on the way as I write this review.  I am constantly amazed at the value Herc delivers to the budget-conscious watch buyer.  This Herc Panny give new meaning to the term ‘strong value.’
The watch starts with a nicely finished black stainless steel case measuring 43.5mm without the crown and its associated guard and apparatus.  With the crown guard, the size is 50.5mm.  Lug to lug, it measures 53.1mm.  Thickness is 14.8mm, with a 24mm lug width.  Just about perfectly sized for this homage style without being too big.  And can you believe the case has drilled lugs?  Amazing at this price point.
I don’t know if the black steel is a PVD or ion plate or something else, but it is evenly applied and has a nice matte finish with just a bit of shine to it.  The domed mineral crystal has a round internal magnifier.  I love this feature.  If you feel compelled to put a cyclops on a watch, do it inside the crystal, so it doesn’t have that ugly, sometimes uneven bump.  Very nice design feature here.
The dial is black with luminous arabics and markers.  The hands are highly legible, being luminous with black outlines.  A sub seconds dial is located at the 9 o’clock position.  Lume is surprisingly good, but not long-lasting.
On the case back, we find a polished stainless steel screw down display back, showing a surprisingly well decorated automatic movement.  The rotor is even embossed in gold with the Herc logo.  Classy!
The movement hacks and manual winds and has been keeping great time, currently running +20 seconds over 24 hours right out of the box.  That’s fine by me.  I don’t have further details on the genesis of this movement or a jewel count, but it sets and winds smoothly. 
The action and fit on the crown guard is superb, with the black finish covering all parts inside and out.  Water resistance is rated at a modest 3 atm, but nonetheless, I wouldn’t get this one wet.
The signed strap is leather, nicely padded, with white contrast stitching against the black matte finish.  A stout Panny-style signed buckle finished in black steel completes the look.
I really love the way a Panny homage looks in black steel.  It is stealthy and bold all at the same time. 
Oh, and here’s the kicker.  All this watch, with the drilled lugs, automatic hacking and manual winding movement, crown guard, internal cyclops, good looks and all, set me back a whopping $41 USD, delivery included.  If this isn’t value, I don’t know what is!
Pros:  nifty black finish, internal cyclops, drilled lugs, legible dial, cool looks
Cons: I honestly can’t think of anything here for the price, except maybe the dial could be aligned a tad better inside the case
Verdict:  $41 USD for a black steel Panny homage with an automatic movement and looks like this?  You’re crazy for not wanting one!  Congrats to Herc for making one heck of a watch!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.
Excelsior,
-Marc
UPDATE!
I sold this watch after about six months to a fellow WIS after putting it on a beautiful tan Hirsch strap that contrasted perfectly with the black steel case of the watch.  He got a great deal and I wasn’t out any money, so it all worked out in the end!
-MCV, 8-28-11

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