Ahead of the upcoming SIHH 2011 industry event, the Italian-based brand has announced its new Panerai Luminor Composite PAM 386 automatic watch offered in a scratch-resistant ceramic case. Measuring just 44 millimeters in width, the new member of the Luminor family seems to be more, um, wearable than the last year’s ceramic model, while still retaining its heavy masculine presence and offering clean, easily recognizable design of its dial.
While the original Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni P2002 47mm (PAM339) that was introduced exactly a year ago at SIHH 2010 was powered by a manufacture-made Panerai P.2002/7 Calibre hand-wound movement, the new model comes equipped with an automatic P.9000 caliber, which is also made solely in-house, but looks like a sort of stripped-down job compared to the hand-wound version.
You see, the automatic winding module comes at a price of not only making the mechanism more complex, but also by making it more thick. Sometimes the latter problem is mitigated by using a more advanced winding system (thus making the movement even more complex,) but in this instance, while designing this otherwise absolutely beautiful cal. P.9000, Panerai had to remove (I think, it would be better to say “not to use to begin with”) some components to make it better fit their watches.
While the Caliber P.2002/7 sports three mainspring barrels providing for a total power reserve of eight days, the P.9000 is featuring twin-barrel design and is running for mere 72 hours.
Well, that’s still enough if you plan to wear the watch on office days, replacing it for weekends with the gorgeous Panerai Luminor 1950 Equation of Time Tourbillon Titanio (PAM365) while cruising the Mediterranean Sea on your 100-feet motorboat. Also, it clearly beats a standard power reserve of a similarly outfitted three-hander that is animated by a run-off-the-mill ETA or Sellita movement.
Most watchmakers of Swiss origin tend to decorate their movements with perlage (aka circular graining,) engine turning or, at least, Geneva stripes. Not so with Panerai. This military-styled watch adorns its engine with nothing more than solemn brushed steel with a minimalistic corporate logo on the skeletonized oscillating weight. Of course, the finish is still very refined: you won’t mistaken it for some cheap-o throw-away job that often comes with inexpensive timekeepers.
Although both movements are of the same diameter of 31 mm (13.75 lignes,) the new watch is offered in a significantly smaller case of 44 mm, which makes it more of a wearable accessory, rather than a collector’s item. The case however seems to be a bit thicker due to the P.9000’s impressive thickness of almost eight millimeters top to bottom. However, for such a deliberately oversized timekeeper some extra thickness doesn’t seem to be a problem: the PAM 386 is supposed to be massive.
If you compare the two models, you will notice that both sport almost the same styling, however the Panerai Luminor Composite PAM 386 comes in a signature Luminor case with the patented winding crown guard and sports a small date window at 3 o’clock, where the PAM 339 had the famous “Otto Giorni Brevettato” (“Eight Days Power Reserve”) logo.
The rest, including the case and the trademark sandwich-type dial, are absolutely identical.
Panerai Luminor Composite 3 Days PAM 386 specification
Price: €7500 (MSRP)
Movement: Panerai P.9000 Calibre, automatic, 197 parts, 31 mm in diameter, 7.9 mm thick, two mainspring barrels, in-house, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hour, minutes, small seconds, date
Power reserve: 72 hours (3 Days)
Case material: Ceramic
Size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 15.50 mm
Hands: Steel, black
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Brown leather strap with large composite buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated