To judge the Genuine Panama Hat quality, it is important to examine the weave. The finer the weave, the finer the hat.
La Marqueza Hats® Creative Director selects the hats one by one in Ecuador, she uses a magnifying glass especially for Montecristi hats from the 'Extra Fine' category, because these hats are very thinner or finer to just count the straw stitches per inch with the naked eye.
A thinner hat means more hard work and significantly more time and effort is required to weave compared to a coarse hat.
Practically, you have to keep in mind that the skilled artisan is making a fabric entirely by hand. Every time the width of the straw is reduced by half, the amount of work is multiplied by four. A hat twice as fine takes four times as long to weave. This is why a hat that looks only slightly finer than another may cost more. That little bit more fineness, multiplied by the thousands and thousands of weave “intersections” in a good hat, can add up to several additional weeks of weaving time.