When Panerai launched the PAM127 a.k.a. 1950 a.k.a. Fiddy, back in 2002, they could never have thought that this very model would cause so much. Collectors went crazy about it and three years later Angelo Bonati (Panerai’s CEO) gave the green light for a left-hand version of the Fiddy (PAM 00217). Two years ago (2011) there was the PAM372 that won collector’s hearts all over again, and at next year’s SIHH they are going to introduce the lefty version of the PAM372, being the PAM 00557 Luminor 1950 3-Days 47mm. Not only a whole mouthful but also a whole “wristful.”
As the name already reveals, the case is 47 mm in diameter. The crown and iconic crown protector are now positioned on the left side of the case, making it more easy for left-handed people to wind the watch and adjust the time. But you don’t have to be a southpaw, to buy this lefty Luminor 1950 3-Days.
When Panerai made the first watches for the Italian navy, mechanical wristwatches and other mechanical instruments were still a bare necessity. Now-a-days there’s the help of all kind of electronics, but back in the 1950’s Italian frogmen had a mechanical wrist watch, a compass and a depth gauge on their wrist. More important, these tools were indispensable for synchronizing their attacks and for keeping track of the length of time spent in the depths of the sea.
With so many large tools on their wrist, some of them preferred to wear the watch on the right wrist, and for them Panerai created the watch with the winding crown on the left side.
Design-wise and technically there are several, rather important, changes compared to the aforementioned models, the PAM127 and PAM217. First of all, and very much visible, is the lack of the small off center second hand. The in 2011 introduced PAM372 and this new PAM557 only feature a central minute and hour hand to indicate the time.
Clear reading of time, that was of the essence for the navy frogmen during a mission. No distractions and while most Panerai watches featured a small off center second hand, some of the historic models didn’t. That was, like the crown on the left side of the case, a choice of the frogman; some preferred the second hand to know that the watch was running, some didn’t want the additional hand because it only was a distraction.
The other BIG difference with the older models, is that the PAM372 and the new PAM557, are equipped with an in-house movement. The hand-wound caliber P.3000 has a power reserve of three days, and was completely developed and made in the Officine Panerai manufacture in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
The movement has a distinctive structure with two large bridges, which hold two spring barrels and all the gears in place. The large balance wheel, which measures 13.2 mm in diameter, has its own bridge, offering maximum stability for the regulating organ. The only draw-back is in my opinion, the lack of a power reserve indication.
A very nice feature is the rapid time-changing device: the hour hand is moved in jumps of one hour at a time, without interfering with the minute hand or the running of the watch.
Soon we will publish an extensive review of the PAM372, the right-handed version of this new PAM557. Stay tuned!
The Luminor 1950 Left-Handed 3 Days (PAM00557) is water-resistant to a depth of 100 meters (or 330 feet). It is fitted with strap of natural, untreated leather, fastened by a brushed steel buckle inspired by that of the period model. It is supplied with a second strap made of rubber and a spare Plexiglas crystal. At the moment of writing the official retail price is not yet communicated, however we think it will be a bit north of $10k USD.