If you’re looking to buy a beautiful diving watch, but don’t want to buy the usual Tag Heuer, Rolex or Seconda, maybe you should consider a Panerai watch. What follows is a review of Panerai watches – especially the men’s Panerai Contemporary watch that my wife owns.
Panerai have a long established reputation for making diving watches of exceptional quality; the company was founded in Florence in 1860 and, in 1900, became the official supplier of the Italian navy and in 1938, Panerai began supplying the Italian navy with Radiomir wrist watches for diving. Panerai’s pedigree of making nautical watches is a good as any other watch maker.
Despite the name, the Panerai Historic Collection is of contemporary styling. Within this collection come the Panerai Luminor Base, Panerai Luminor Marina and Panerai Radiomir. The watches are hand-wound mechanical with Panerai OP XI calibre with swan’s neck regulator. The power reserve for all watches in the collection is 56 hours – amazing for a hand-wound watch. The case and bezel come in either stainless steel or titanium with the glass being sapphire, formed of corundum, 3.5 mm thick and with anti-reflective coating. The watches are water-resistant to 300 meters. What’s really nice about the Panerai Historic watches is that the back is also see-through sapphire crystal. Both the Marina and Radiomir come with chronograph mechanisms. Finally, all watches in the Panerai Historic Collection come with leather or alligator strap – reminiscent of when diving watches came with oiled-leather straps. My favorite watch in this collection is the Panerai Marina. I love the small seconds hand at the nine o’clock position.
The Panerai Contemporary Collection is superb, and, in my opinion, the Luminor submersible is the jewel in the crown; my wife owns one of these – more in moment. The Luminor Marina Automatic comes with steel, titanium or steel casing. The movement is automatic, so no winding, but you do loose out on the power reserve – 42 hours. The back isn’t see-through like the Panerai Historic. Like the Historic, the Contemporary Marina watch, the Marina collection comes with seconds hand at the nine o’clock position. But, in addition, there is a date display at the three o’clock position. A small point: but the date display window is round 二手帝陀 rather that the usual rectangle; a really nice feature. The Marina watch comes with leather, alligator or steel straps. The Luminor GMT is very much like the Marina, except you get an additional time-zone hand at the nine o’clock position – the second hand being the more conventional type.
But my favorite watch from Panerai is the Luminor Submersible from the Contemporary Collection. The Panerai Luminor Submersible is a proper diving watch. As standard, it is water resistant to 300 meters, but a special edition model is water-resistant to 100o meters and comes equipped with a helium valve for decompression on the left-hand side of the case. My wife’s watch is the Luminor Submersible PAM 00025. The case is brushed titanium, the face is Black with Paris hobnails decoration – very eye-catching, and the strap is black rubber with PANERAI personalized steel buckle. The watch is supplied with a steel screwdriver and a second interchangeable strap fit for diving. If you’re looking for the ultimate diver’s watch then the Panerai Luminor Submersible is the one to buy.
One final note: no matter what Panerai watch you buy, each one comes with a lockdown winding crown arm, which is a trademark of Panerai and makes a Panerai watch very distinctive. Panerai are fine quality watches which look and feel, modern and industrial – watches that can withstand anything you can throw at them. In my opinion, a Panerai watch is better value for money than an over-price Rolex. It’s a watch for the connoisseur and not for those who follow the crowd.