Among the new (and some of the older ones that were simply updated with minor touches here and there) models presented at the last week’s SIHH 2011 trade show, there also was a gorgeous Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic PAM 382 diver. Having its huge 47 mm case made not of over-hyped ceramic or some other hi-tech material, but of good ole brushed bronze, this new member of 1950 family looks like it was designed exactly for the sort of people who still dream about giant krakens and burning Spanish galleons, and prefer a good goblet of rum to a snifter of cognac.
This special edition model, which is going to be limited to only 1000 units and will possibly be sold at a price well above the €7000 mark, is certainly inspired by the works of its former partner and supplier of components — Firenze Group.
As some of you may be aware of, the Anonimo Firenze is mostly known for its bronze timepieces that are sold in bulk to the Italian Navy.
Yes, although some people still think that a diving tool that has its case fashioned from a bronze alloy is just a new fad, the metal, in fact, has a surprisingly long history of being a material of choice for timekeepers designed to withstand humid environments and lots of salty water. After all, for centuries bronze was the most widespread metal in navies around the world.
Since Panerai is eagerly (or maybe even hastily) migrating from ETA-sourced blank calibers to its own in-house-made movements, this model is also equipped with a manufacture-made Panerai P.9000 automatic caliber.
The movement was introduced in 2009 and now gradually replaces the well-known Panerai OP III caliber, which is based on the ETA Valjoux 7750-P1 ebauche.
The caliber P.9000 is still too new, so make claims about its long-term reliability is still a bit far-fetched. However, I have heard numerous complaints about its rotor being too loud due to some mechanical problems. Also, some owners had problems with the mechanisms losing or gaining minutes per day and needing extra regulation at a local service. Although newer batches of calibers will probably have these initial problems taken care of, it would still be a good idea to first check whether there is a reliable authorized service facility available close to your location before ordering this (otherwise absolutely stunning) timekeeper.
With its width of 47 millimeters (the signature massive crown guard not included,) the Luminor Submersible looks impressive, even on a thicker wrist. Also being relatively thick, the PAM 382 may not be particularly comfortable to those who plan to wear it with a formal suit. The pair of relatively short lugs don’t do much to solve the problem although they make it less of a pain to those with narrower wrists.
Also, bronze is a metal that is known for its tendency to form a patina, a thin layer of tarnish that forms over its surface due to the oxidation process. So, if you are not into these “relic” things, you will probably have the timekeeper disassembled and brushed from time to time to preserve its “new-old-stock” look.
Like other models from the Luminor Submersible series, this one features Panerai’s proprietary “time of immersion” calculator (well, actually it is just a glorified diving scale that is engraved on a unidirectional rotating bezel with a traditional glowing dot at “00” position).
The rest is pretty much obvious. The watch features a marshy-green face with a small date aperture at 3 o’clock and a small seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock.
Despite its deliberately archaic look, the dial is easily legible in all circumstances. Even if you plan to take this expensive toy underwater, readability will probably not be a problem thanks to its main elements covered with thick layers of Superliminova.
The inevitable crown protector is also on its rightful place in all of brushed bronze, um, glory.
Photos: Officine Panerai
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Bronze (PAM 382) specification
Price: $11,600 (Retail)
Movement: Automatic, caliber Panerai P.9000, in-house, 31.02 mm in diameter, 7.90 mm in height, 28,800 vph, two barrels, 28 jewels, 197 parts, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, time of immersion
Power reserve: 72 hours
Case: Brushed bronze
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 47.00 mm
Case height: 17.70 mm
Hands: Bronze, luminous, open-worked
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Panerai personalized leather strap and large-size brushed titanium buckle. Supplied with a second interchangeable strap and a steel screwdriver
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Sapphire, antireflective