It’s a well-known fact that Panerai watches have always been popular, both in terms of practicality and style – from the first 47mm prototypes used by frogmen in the Italian Royal Navy in the late 1930s, to the 44mm ‘Vendome Forewind’ reference 5218 Luminor worn by Sylvester Stallone in his 1996 film Daylight, a move that catapulted Panerai onto the international scene and ultimately cemented the outsize aesthetic as an emerging trend of the last decade.
If it were the size of a Rolls-Royce Phantom, would the Mini Cooper still be an icon? What if the Walkman never fits in my back pocket? Conversely, would Luminor, the benchmark of Italian minimalist design and perhaps the foremost advocate of the “big watch” trend of the last decade, maintain a similar reputation if it were nearly 25% smaller? It’s hard to say, but Panerai is willing to gamble on it, as SIHH has introduced the Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic in a new 38mm case.
Not surprisingly, maintaining a huge legacy Panerai Luminor Automatic 38mm also means that Panerai has been the slowest to reverse its own trends and adapt to market tastes that have been quietly moving towards smaller, more traditional sizes, which has been the hallmark display cycle of recent editions of Baselworld and SIHH. But a change is afoot at Neuchâtel, and the brand seems to be trying to broaden its appeal by introducing smaller 42 or 40mm pieces in almost every available collection. Even the usually heavier Submersible is now a very popular 42mm in diameter, which is a worthy second look for those who once considered the Panerai a one-wrist wonder.
For the same reason, the 38mm Due is a popular product, and also a long overdue addition to the range – not least because there will always be a large number of watch lovers who love the Panerai aesthetic, but the wide range of cases allows them to wear only the big wrists. Likewise, the Luminor’s thin bezel and wide dial aperture don’t help the wrist feel much larger than the specifications suggest. So while the 38mm Due is the smallest watch Panerai has ever produced, it’s much closer to a traditional 40mm sports watch, ironically the nail in the coffin of the ‘big watch trend’ as the brand has become the other pole of the industry’s popularity spectrum.
As of 2018, Panerai no longer relies on the ETA-based movements it has deployed in the past, and the 38mm Due is no exception, utilizing Panerai’s new in-house manufactured OP XXXIV – a newly developed automatic movement that hums at 21,600 bph and has a three-day power reserve. But like all good things, the 38mm Luminor Due comes with a warning: despite the case being 11mm thick, it’s only water resistant to 30mm. The watch has a closed back.
2020 is the year of Luminor and there is a new Luminor Marina in the family. it has a blue color, which is undoubtedly one of the most popular colors in watchmaking. It should be noted that this is not Panerai’s first blue dial. The brand already has a large number of Luminor and Radiomir watches with blue dials. But there’s a lot more going on with the new Luminor Marina 44mm PAM01313, making it one of Paneristis’ most talked about watches in a long time.
In many ways, the new Panerai Luminor Marina 44mm PAM01313 Blue Dial Watch PAM01313 is the foundation of the brand. It’s a simple and practical tool watch. This 44mm case features the classic lines of the Panerai Luminor 1950 case, with a satin-brushed finish and polished bezel. It has 24mm lugs and Panerai’s quick-release strap change system. The sturdy screw-down caseback is water-resistant to 300 meters.
The dial is where most of the magic happens. The highlight is obviously the color, which is a bright satin blue. Most importantly, it has a more conventional or more controversial white luminescence. As you will see, for Panerai’s recent releases, there has been a general dissatisfaction that they have an artificial, old-fashioned luminescent material. Some call it “fautina” while Panerai calls it “ecru”; in any case, the idea is to replicate the look of the luminescent markers found in vintage watches. As much as I like it, I can understand why some would find it phony.
The rest of the dial is classic Panerai. Since it’s a replica Panerai watches, 9 o’clock is only a few seconds away. The well-balanced date window can be balanced at 3 o’clock. The dial shows “Luminor Marina” at 12 o’clock and “Panerai Automatic” at 6 o’clock. In most cases, this would be considered a fairly clean dial. But I can definitely see some “Christina” offending me with the word “automatic”. The watch also has sterling silver hour, minute and second hands. No madness, no illusions.
Inside beats Panera’s Calibre P.9010. The P.9010 movement was introduced in 2016 and is the successor to the P.9000. It has a number of key improvements, most notably a reduced height, from 7.9mm to 6mm. it also has a balanced bridge, rather than a balanced screw plug. It pulses at 4Hz and has a 72 hour power reserve. A neat feature is that it has an independently adjustable hour hand. Unfortunately, the sturdy screw-down bottom cover prevents the owner from appreciating the movement.
Like I said, this is a Panerai back to basics. Panerai launched the Calibre P.9010 and updated long-time favourites (such as the Luminor Marina PAM0312 and PAM0359) with some controversial changes such as the blue seconds hand and a much lower water-resistance rating, which caused a lot of “Christian! “The discomfort. This new Luminor Marina PAM01313 isn’t perfect, but it corrects those mistakes.
For 2020, Panerai is debuting not the Luminor Marina 44 format, but two new materials. The Panerai Luminor Marina Fibratech 44 PAM01663 makes its debut in a case made of mineral fibers fused from basaltic rock. Yes, you read that right.
Model: Luminor Marina Fibratech 44 PAM01663
Size: 44mm wide, 15.65mm thick
Water resistance: 30 bar (300 m)
Case material: DMLS titanium case, Carbotech bezel, crown and tie rods
Crystals/lenses: sapphire crystals obtained from corundum
Movement: Panerai P.9010, 200 parts
Power reserve: 3 days
Strap/bracelet: Panerai Sportech, additional rubber strap
As Panerai explains, Fibratech is “made of unidirectional mineral fibers produced by the fusion of basaltic rocks. These fibers bonded to the polymer become thin layers that are superimposed in precise directions and then cemented by a process of pressure and temperature control.” How the watch feels on the wrist has yet to be determined by a “wrist time” assessment.
The brand seems excited about this high-tech discovery and could be the next Panerai Fibratech watch. The Luminor Marina FibratechTM (PAM01663) was apparently one of the first products to be introduced. This is interesting because, as a rule, the high-tech materials used in the large luxury watch industry are still components reserved for “halo pieces” best replica watch pro forum rather than materials designed for long-term, serious production, even if the latter are actually used to truly prove the value of innovation rather than the lofty claims made in press releases. Here’s hoping for more Panerai works using proprietary materials.
Panerai has demonstrated the ability to put more novel parts into more conventional production, and the Panerai Luminor Marina Fibratech 44 PAM01663 is a good example. The bezel is made of Carbotech, a multi-layered carbon composite that the brand has been using on the exterior of its watches in recent years. This time, Carbotech was also used as a joystick for the top bridge – certainly a clean touch.
Sandwiched between the gradient blue dial, which is all the rage these days, and the microblasted titanium back, the Panerai Calibre P.9010 offers a three-day power reserve, supplemented by a self-winding rotor. The operating frequency to match this extended power reserve is the modern 4 Hz rate, which makes the 72 hour reserve even more impressive.