Just like the International Watch Company (aka IWC) did just a couple days ago, the Italian brand Panerai has also presented a number of new models for this year. One of the most interesting in this torrent of new watches is the new Gargantuan Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 300 chronograph.
The new chronograph was officially presented this week during SIHH 2010 trade show.
Originally designed for the Italian Navy in mid-1940s as an officer’s deck watch, the Panerai Mare Nostrum series was put in production only 50 years later sporting a two-register chronograph functionality and a tachymeter scale.
This is, as far as I understand, the second iteration of the timekeeper.
Although the watch looks rugged and ready for a good piece of the action, it is not actually rugged enough to withstand any serious water pressure and is by no means a diving watch. More than that, Panerai officially rates it for only 30 meters, which basically means that it is not a good idea even to take a shower while wearing this watch, not to say swimming or snorkeling.
Frankly, I don’t really understand why they decided not to make it a truly water resistant watch. I mean, with its huge case measuring 52 millimeters in diameter and also quite thick, there seems to be plenty of space to insert the needed gaskets to make the watch water tight. Probably, some marketing reasons.
Details are scarce, but, judging by the photos, this PAM300 is powered by a very rare Panerai OP XXVIII Calibre. First introduced back in 2008 to animate the brands oversized timekeepers, the mechanism is based on the vintage Minerva 13-20 movements produced from 1920s till 1940s. Interesting thing about this Minerva mechanism is that it was re-introduced in early 2000s as Caliber 13-21 offering the same design, but being built to much higher tolerances afforded by modern CNC equipment. Still, possibly in order to give their timekeepers some extra vintage vibe, Panerai decided to use the original NOS Caliber 13-20 as a base for their own movement.
Like it is almost always the case when dealing with “historic” engines, each Minerva movement was disassembled, cleaned, oiled and then put together again to power this limited edition model. Predictably, the mechanism was also redecorated with bridges now featuring vertical Geneva stripes and beveled edges, while the screws were polished and the rest of the parts machine brushed for an even more three-dimensional look.
By the way, the same movement was installed in the 2008 Panerai Ferrari FER-24 Chronograph watch.
With a price of $36,000 (MSRP, will vary in different parts of the world,) the watch is quite expensive, especially given the fact that it is crafted with nothing more than ordinary 316L stainless steel. However, the vintage movement that serves the base for the Panerai caliber greatly increases it “value for money” rating although I still can’t call getting one of these little monsters a rational choice.
Panerai Mare Nostrum PAM 300 specification
Price range: $36,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Panerai OP XXVIII Calibre, hand-wound, Minerva-based, Swiss Made
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Transparent back: Yes, sapphire crystal
Size: 52.00 mm
Hands: Blue with luminescent substance
Strap: Green cloth
Water resistance: 30 meters