Just before SIHH 2014, I received this Officine Panerai Luminor Marina 8-Days reference PAM00510 for a review. A week of wearing this Panerai made me go back 10 years ago, when I first bought a Panerai Luminor Marina. A watch that I fell immediately in love with at the time, with its large case and thick vintage looking calf strap. This time however, the Panerai comes equipped with an in-house developed 8-days power reserve movement instead of the Unitas based hand-wound movement it had before. Let’s have a look at this PAM00510 that was introduced to us about a year ago, during the SIHH 2013 exhibition in Geneva.
I even quite well remember where I saw the Panerai Luminor Marina up close when I decided to pull the trigger on the purchase. It was in Antwerp, Belgium when I saw the Panerai Luminor Marina in 44mm at a dealer when I decided that I should go for it. The military looking large case, the large and luminous hour markers and the specific crown lock system were the most important ingredients for me to buy one myself. Looking at this Panerai Luminor Marina PAM00510 I wondered what exactly changed over the years. The watch has the same appeal to me except now it has an in-house developed movement and the dial has this extra ‘notification’ on the dial, telling me that it has an 8-days power reserve. Quite useful for a watch with a hand-wound movement and perhaps being not your only watch to wear during the week.
Turning the watch around, I started to look for a power reserve indicator, but did not find it. I guess that the power reserve is 8 days and you just have to keep hold of when it is about to run out of energy. However – and to be honest – I have the habit of winding a watch every day before putting it on my wrist, so I am sure that the watch is wound properly when wearing it. When you don’t do this every day or every other day, there is nothing to worry about with this PAM00510 as it two barrels to make sure it will have a full 8 days of energy.
Talking about the movement, this Panerai P.5000 caliber has a very clean appearance and finish. It matches the overall apparel of the Panerai Luminor Marina 8-days, a richly engraved movement with lots of gears and wheels to ‘observe’ wouldn’t fit the military look of the watch. In the end, this is the watch inspired on the original Panerai that Italian Navy used for military operations. Perhaps it shouldn’t even have a transparent case back, but since men who wear one are probably interested in mechanics or technical stuff, it is cool to at least be able to enjoy the mechanical hand-wound P.5000 movement when turning the watch around.
This large pocket watch sized movement has 127 components, has – as mentioned – two barrels to ensure the 8 days of power reserve and the movement ticks at 21,600 beats per hour.
The Panerai 510 comes on a thick leather strap with a beautiful polished large buckle, also known as the Pre-Vendome buckle. This perhaps needs some explanation for the non-Paneristis out there reading this review. Between the re-birth of this brand in 1993 and 1997, so before Panerai was owned by the Vendôme Group (which in turn is since 1998 100% owned by the Richemont Group). In that period of time, Panerai watches were delivered with this large buckle similar to the one on our photos. After 1997, there was a long period in which Panerai watches had a more ‘modest’ buckle on their straps. However, I love the so-called Pre-Vendome buckle and it really suits the watch and the strap.
The strap and buckle are using screws to be kept in place (instead of spring bars). With the small screw driver that comes with each Panerai watch you are perfectly able to change the straps yourself. If you want to make sure not to damage either the case or buckle when changing it, make sure to use a bit of Scotch tape to protect the case around the hole. This way, if you lose control over the small screw driver and accidentally hit a part of the case, the tape will be there to protect it from getting scratched. A polished surface like the side of the case (or lug) will show scratches in a pretty bad way.
The patented system for the crown lock is a fairly simple yet refined one. To wind or set the watch, just release the lock by using your finger nail to flip it open. Since there is no date or other complication on this watch, it is a very easy watch to operate.
Although the thick vintage looking strap on this watch might look very uncomfortable, it is actually one of the nicest straps I have worn in a long time on a watch. The softness of the strap is unbelievable and doesn’t feel at all as a thick and inflexible strap. You have to love the cracked leather look on this strap otherwise you will bothered by it. However, you can easily order an extra strap of your choice using the strap selector on the official Panerai website (here). If you want to have a more classy look with this Panerai, go for one of the alligator straps and if you want a more low-profile look you might want to check-out the calf straps. In case you want to use this watch in or near the water (it is a diver’s watch after-all, with a depth rate of 300 meters or 30 atm) I suggest to use a textile or rubber strap. Even though an alligator lives in water, do not use these straps in the water.
Conclusion, I loved wearing this soft strap Panerai Luminor Marina 8-Days. Even though I always like the Luminor Base (without a seconds hand) a bit better because it was more ‘clean’ looking, having something moving around on the dial surely makes this watch more alive. I am a fairly tall guy so this watch really suits me quite well with its thick case that measures 44mm in diameter. Since I am more or less a technical oriented fellow, I love the fact that it is an eight day power reserve watch and that you need to hand-wind it.
Detailed information on this watch can be found here and the official retail price is € 6.100,- Euro (including 21% VAT).