Panerai watches are always big. Panerai watches are supposed to be big. Panerai watches are waterproof to at least 100m or more. Panerai watches are proper dive tools. That used to be watch world 101. And then the Luminor Due appeared… Thinner, smaller and not so much your reliable diver’s tool. Today, the Italian brand introduces no fewer than 6 new iterations of the Luminor Due, including a very good-looking edition in blue. Meet references PAM00926, PAM00927, PAM00964, PAM01043, PAM01045 and PAM01046.
Back in the 1990s, when Panerai was riding the wave of success, things might’ve been quite easy for the stylish Italians. Take inspiration from a magnificent yet obscure design from the company’s archives, give it a contemporary twist and boom, another hit was born. Panerai’s signature oversized cushion case became a guaranteed compliment magnet at any cocktail party. And although that’s still definitely so, things have changed for the Italians. Success doesn’t come automatically any longer. And so Panerai is working harder than ever.
Looking at all the new introductions in the last five to ten years, you won’t see a lot of retro models or even remakes of obscure, odd-number-limited-editions-once-delivered-to-an-army-no-one-ever-knew-existed.
Backed by serious Richemont investments, Panerai opened its first real manufacture in Neuchâtel in 2014. Its range of in-house movements has grown rapidly since 2005 when the brand introduced its first manufacture movement. Its experiments with new, high-tech materials are honestly impressive. But the most important development is the strategic step the company took by looking forward instead of backwards. Panerai was almost entirely dependent on retro models in the 1990s, but that has changed thanks to the shared visions of former CEO Angelo Bonati and current boss Jean-Marc Pontroué.
SMALLER AND SLIMMER LUMINOR DUE
One of the most telling examples of this development has been the introduction of the Panerai Luminor Due in 2016. This new model was not just a completely reconfigured Luminor 1950, it was a new creation with modern styling and wearability in mind.
And although the design of this smaller and slimmer version of the Luminor still relies on the historical Luminor 1950, this Due is definitely not a retro watch. It’s as up-to-date as calling your mother on Snapchat.
Today, Panerai is introducing 6 new versions of the Luminor Due with new materials, under references PAM00926, PAM00927, PAM00964, PAM01043, PAM01045 and PAM01046. Its design is both stylish, functional and quintessentially modern while staying true to its roots by keeping the cases quite slim.
Panerai has also always paid attention to fashion, and therefore couldn’t miss out on the interchangeable straps trend; all these new Luminor Dues are equipped with a quick-release system.
LUMINOR DUE PAM00926 and PAM00927
Half of them, (PAM00926, PAM00927 and PAM00964) have brushed titanium cases and blue alligator leather straps and sunburst dials with the numerals (sandwich style) in beige. The first two references differ only in case size (38mm and 42mm) and could be considered the main introductions. All three also have date indications and, of course, the Luminor crown protection system.
The caseback for both these references is closed. Why exactly Panerai did this, is not quite clear. It doesn’t have to do anything with the movement, as it is equipped with the same P900 calibre that is fitted in the more expensive PAM1045 (more about that piece later). It also hasn’t got anything to do with the depth rate, as all Dues are (only) 30m water-resistant. So presumably it just has to do with making the more expensive pieces a little more appealing.
Quick facts: PAM00926 – 38mm diameter – titanium case – water-resistant to 30m – calibre P.900 – automatic – 28,800 vibrations/hours – 72h power reserve – hours, minutes and small seconds, date – alligator strap – clasp buckle in brushed titanium – EUR 6,700
Quick facts: PAM00927 – 42mm diameter – titanium case – water-resistant to 30m – calibre P.900 – automatic – 28,800 vibrations/hour – 72h power reserve – hours, minutes and small seconds, date – alligator strap – clasp buckle in brushed titanium – EUR 7,000
PAM00964 with GMT function
Reference PAM00964 also has a titanium caseback, but it’s even larger with a case diameter of 45mm. It also has a second time zone at 9 o’clock and a power reserve indicator placed slightly off-centre between 6 and 5 o’clock. The Swiss-made P.4002 calibre used for this Luminor Due is revealed through a glass caseback and has a micro-rotor to maintain its slim profile. It’s developed and produced by Panerai on its premises in Neuchâtel. The price of this piece increases to EUR 11,800.
Quick facts: PAM00964 – 45mm diameter – titanium case – water-resistant to 30m – calibre P.4002 – automatic – 28,800 vibrations/hour – 72h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, date, GMT, 24-hour hand with am/pm indicator, power reserve indicator on the dial side, zero seconds reset – alligator strap – clasp buckle in brushed titanium – EUR 11,800
PAM01045 gold case
The most expensive watch in these new updated Luminor Due models is the PAM1045, which is quite an expressive piece. It has a bright red strap, a 38mm gold case and a beige dial. It’s equipped with the P900 automatic movement that has a power reserve of three days/72h. Is it a ladies’ watch? Yes, it is a ladies’ watch.
Quick facts: PAM01045 – 38mm diameter – gold case – water-resistant to 30m – calibre P.900 – automatic – 28,800 vibrations/hour – 72h power reserve – hours, minutes and small seconds, date – red alligator – clasp buckle in Goldtech – EUR 14,900
PAM01043 and PAM01046
The most accessible piece is the PAM01043. This is a typical modern Panerai; a very pure tool-like design with some nice Italian styling. It has a taupe-brown leather strap with a nice grain that goes well with the beige dial. The case measures 38mm and is made of steel. Inside that case is the in-house P900 movement. The PAM01046 is its bigger brother, measuring 42mm. It also has a slightly more masculine strap made of matte dark brown calf leather.
Quick facts: PAM001043 – 38mm diameter – stainless steel case – water-resistant to 30m – calibre P.900 – automatic – 28,800 vibrations/hour – 72h power reserve – hours, minutes and small seconds, date – brown strap with steel clasp buckle – EUR 5,900
Quick facts: PAM001046 – 42mm diameter – stainless steel case – water-resistant to 30m – calibre P.900 – automatic – 28,800 vibrations/hour – 72h power reserve – hours, minutes and small seconds, date – calf leather strap with steel clasp buckle – EUR 6,200
When Panerai introduced its Luminor Due back in 2016, not everyone was immediately enthusiastic. Especially those who loved Panerai for its pure tool watches had their own opinions about this smaller and more stylish expression of the Luminor legacy. But it was a success, and it showed that the Italian brand could evolve much further than Giovanni Panerai could ever have imagined. The brand nowadays calls this “distinctive refinement, expressed in a more evidently informal character.” We call it a very nice watch that will definitely suit your big city needs.
For more information, please consult panerai.com.