PAM351 Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio 44mm
It is very likely (if you read previous article: Buying first Panerai watch) that your first Panerai watch was a nice, basic PAM111 or PAM112. So, perhaps it is time to look for a Panerai Luminor 1950, which has a larger, cushion-shaped case giving immense presence on the wrist. The PAM351 uses a much more sophisticated in-house Caliber P.9000 movement, which offers a full 3 days of power reserve. There is no quick-change system for the date — the hour can be advanced, or reversed, independently of the minute and the date changes accordingly. This is so very cool and useful for time zone changes etc. The PAM351 is quite unusual because it has a tobacco coloured dial and, get this, a TITANIUM case! Ba-boom! Of all of the timepieces I have ever strapped to my wrist, the PAM351 is probably one of the absolute best. If you show up to a cocktail wearing a nice, light blue suit, and a nice titanium PAM351… What else should I say? What the PAM351 does for collection is to present Panerai as not only a cool a historic novelty, but also as a real serious example of high end watchmaking. It has a stunning case design, a fairly typical Luminor Marina dial, high end materials and unusual colours.
PAM112 Luminor Base Acciaio 44mm
If you have already read article “Buying First Panerai watch”, you are aware that this is one of the base models. In other words, this is a must-have. This is the most iconic Panerai and definitely the one to have. The ‘base’ dial has two hands, 4 cardinal numerals and no seconds hand. This gives a gorgeous, simple, clean and typically Panerai look. The PAM112 also has a sandwich dial, which is such an important feature for a PAM. A sandwich dial has two layers — the bottom layer is the luminous stuff and the top layer has the numerals cut out, exposing the lume underneath. The PAM112 has an exhibition caseback, exposing Panerai’s manually wound OP X Caliber movement. Now, this movement is based on the workhorse ETA Unitas movement and is not, technically, in-house. What watch snobs won’t get, is spending thousands of dollars on a Unitas movement when you can buy one in a $600 watch. My response? First of all, THIS version of the Unitas is HIGHLY modified by Panerai and made to the absolute highest levels of quality. It is simple, solid, reliable, easy to service and quite accurate. It is also somewhat true to Panerai history. The very earliest Panerai watches used Rolex pocket watch movements. So the idea of taking a big pocket watch movement (such as the Unitas) and sticking it inside a Panerai case is quite authentic and gives the PAM112 a traditional Panerai feel. The bad news is that Panerai are phasing out these movements in favour of new in-house movements such as P.5000. More on that later. But soon, you won’t be able to find a new PAM112.
Now, we cannot really mention the PAM112 without mentioning the PAM111, which is basically the same watch except that it has a Luminor Marina dial (read more on Panerai Luminor PAM000 vs PAM112). The difference is that a Luminor Marina has a small seconds hand. I much prefer the base dial, but in real life, the seconds hand is extremely useful. I use it to track the accuracy of the watch and also to time steaks on the Barbecue.
If your first Panerai was not a PAM112 or a PAM111, then one of these two pieces must be at the top of your list for PAM watches. The biggest mistake I ever made as a collector was NOT buying a PAM112 when I had one in my hands at my local authorised dealer. I have regretted it ever since.
PAM560 Luminor BASE 8 Days Acciaio 44mm
So the PAM560 is really the eventual replacement for the previously mentioned PAM112. It has a 44mm case, which I believe has been refined a bit. It has a base dial, a sandwich dials and an exhibition caseback showing off the P.5000 movement. The manually wound P.5000 offers and incredible 8 days of power reserve. You see, the PAM560 offers all of the typical Panerai character while upping its watchmaking credibility with an in-house movement that you only need to wind once per week. This would be great choice for anyone who likes to wear a different piece every day. You could wind a PAM560 on Monday and wear it, not wear it until Thursday, wear something else on Friday, and the PAM560 is still ticking on Saturday and good for the whole weekend. Awesome! And the best part is that gorgeous, simple, clean, obviously PANERAI look. And if you want a Marina dial, you have the PAM510. There is a even a PAM562, which is a base dial with titanium case!
PAM524 Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Acciaio 44mm
This is something a bit different. The PAM524 succeeds in delivering a flyback chronograph complication while still retaining a very typical Panerai flavour. It also has a ‘dirty dial’ where the lume is a sandy-brown, faux patina colour. I just love the dirty dial and you can combine it with all sorts of straps if the stitching matches the lume. Then you get superb colour combos. Being a 44mm Luminor 1950, the PAM524 has wrist presence galore. If your first PAM was a base model, then this PAM524 could be a great potential addition.
PAM533 Luminor 1950 10 Days GMT Acciaio 44mm
While we are on the topic of dirty dials and complications, we MUST consider the PAM533. Once again, you get a 44mm Luminor 1950 case with a dirty dial. But check out the complications. The PAM533 uses Caliber P.2003, which is an automatic piece using 296 components!! It has a linear power reserve indicator to measure its 10 days of power reserve. It has a GMT function, an AM/PM indicator and… a seconds reset function! This is just killer — it is so useful for setting and synchronising time. The PAM533 shows the date also. I love how the P.2003 packs so much into its movement. The PAM533 is for the Paneristi who really wants a ton of mechanical engineering going on on his wrist. And if you would love all these features in a stealthy blacked out piece, Panerai offers PAM335 in ceramic. Wow!
PAM422 Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Acciaio 47mm
I recently reviewed the PAM422 and declared it to be the ultimate timepiece on Earth. I have not changed my opinion! In 47mm, the PAM422 just demands attention. Its very sophisticated and refined case means that it wears well – even with dress shirts. But it really is a show-stopper. Manually wound is the way to go for me, and the PAM422 does this with 3 days of power reserve. The coolest feature? A power reserve indicator… on the back! Yes! The PAM422 offers my favourite complication of all while cleverly placing it on the back so as not to ruin the clean dial. To me, the PAM422 is the MOST Panerai of all Panerai. It combines all of the key traditional Panerai features with size and real high end watchmaking. This really is the ultimate.
PAM183 Radiomir Black Seal Acciaio 45mm
Let’s get back to basics for a minute. Here, we are looking at OP XI Caliber, which is another version of that no-frills manually wound movement. It is basic and robust. The PAM183 has a simple Marina dial with a sandwich dial, of course. The Radiomir are always a bit more elegant and ‘vintage’ than the Luminor. If you already have a Luminor, then why not consider a Radiomir? After all, the Radiomir-type case was the very first case that Panerai used. I love the 45mm Radiomir models, but the worst part is that it is much more difficult to change their straps. With a Luminor 1950, there is a quick-change system which allows you to swatch straps in (literally) less than 1 minute. You can change the strap on a PAM183 yourself, but it’s much more tedious. Nevertheless, I looked at a PAM183 at my local dealer recently and it took my breath away – it is really that beautiful.
PAM372 Luminor 1950 47mm
Last, but not the least, we have to look at the PAM372. Just look at it, and then tell me your impressions. It’s simple and basic, right? It’s huge. And it oozes Panerai DNA. Made as a real homage to vintage Panerai timepieces, the PAM372 doesn’t even use sapphire crystal. It uses Plexiglass! This was done to give an authentic vintage feel. The PAM372 uses sapphire on its exhibition caseback, however, which shows off the in-house Caliber P.3000 movement. This manually wound movement offers 3 days of power reserve. The PAM372 is an absolute brute on the wrist and, like the PAM422, seems to express everything Panerai. For this reason, the PAM372 is among my favourite timepieces in the world. I came close to acquiring a PAM372 once and often regret not doing it. I feel like a PAM372 would represent a real milestone in my collection as it is such an icon. Whenever I mention the PAM422 as the ultimate timepiece, I consider the PAM372 with its (nicer) base dial. The PAM372 does not have that cool power reserve indicator, though. But what a masterpiece.
Top 8 Panerai watches
So there you have it. I hope this blog has given you some ideas for your next PAM. I am on my third PAM already and I am always looking for the next one. So don’t pretend you can be content with just one PAM. As always, the fun is in the search…
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