Last week I attended the introduction of a couple of new Panerai models. Their most recognizable watch, the Luminor Marina, received an update.
Now, I don’t want to ruin a party, but changing or even slightly modifying an iconic watch can be very dangerous. We’ve seen that escalating with a couple of brands, including Rolex (remember their initial 39mm Explorer, or what about the Day-Date II. Both short lived.). Anyway, while I was holding my breath, Panerai built up the tension by showing a bit of background information first.
I assume you are familiar with Panerai, we covered it many times, so I am going to skip the history lessons. Important to know is that Panerai has been a manufacture since 2005 and brought all activities of development, production, assembly and QC under one roof in their new Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
There are 5 updated models for the Luminor Marina 1950 collection. All became thinner. Panerai made a couple of improvements to ensure the watch could become thinner. How thin? The 44mm Luminor Marina 1950 watches went from a whopping 17,95mm to 15,65mm. The smaller Luminor Marina 1950 models, with a diameter of 42mm are now only 13.2mm instead of 16,35mm thick. Quite an improvement!
On first sight, nothing much changed. That is a good thing, as no compromises have been made to its iconic design. Upon closer inspection, there are some differences. Let’s have a look.
One of the reasons that Panerai was able to create a thinner Luminor, was the development of a new caliber. This P9010 caliber movement consists of 200 components and is only 6mm thick. Two barrels ensure the power reserve of 3 days, a feature of every in-house Panerai movement since 2005. The hour hand can be independently set, so you don’t have to set the minute hand (again) when going to another timezone or switching from winter time to summer time or vice versa. I am not sure whether this feature would add something for me, as I switch watches regularly and have to set minutes and hours anyway. I rather would have a quick-set date, which this watch does not have. The fastest way to adjust the date is to use the independently moving hour hand to set the date. Useful is the fact that the date can go back and forth, so just use the direction that is closest to the actual date.
Not only the movement, but also some adjustments to the Luminor Marina case chipped in for a thinner case. To go from 17,95mm to 15,65mm (44mm case) or from 16,35mm to 13,2mm (42mm case) you need to make some changes. First, the caseback is a bit thinner due to the new movement. The middle part of the case, or caseband, is also thinner. This also includes a thinner crown protection system, perhaps one the most recognizable features of Panerai. I also noticed that the sapphire crystal is less domed. You will also see that the lugs are different. They seem to be positioned a bit lower when you look at the side of the case.
All these changes sound like quite influential aspects to the design of the watch, but Panerai has some skilled designers in Neuchâtel it seems. I had to ask one of the Panerai representatives at the presentation to give me hers to compare the old with the new. Only then I noticed some of these changes, but in the end, the new Luminor Marina case is undoubted the same icon it always was.
With a new update there is also a new reference number. Panerai decided to keep it short and simple, just replace a 0 with a 1 and that’s it. So the PAM00312 now becomes the PAM01312.
The new introduced Luminor Marina 1950 references and their retails prices are:
The delivery of watches should take place now, starting with the black dial versions. The white dial versions will be delivered around September 2016.
Next up, we have the Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 Carbotech, PAM00661. In January 2015, Panerai introduced the Carbotech technology for their Luminor Submersible PAM0616. We published an in-depth review of the PAM0616 last year on Fratello Watches. The case is made using long thin sheets of carbon fibre, under high pressure and high temperatures. Each watch has this unique ‘tech’ look & feel to it.
The new PAM00661 is the first Luminor Marina using the Carbotech material for its case. Of course, it also uses the new caliber 9010 movement. However, unlike the stainless steel Luminor Marina models, the movement can’t be seen due to a closed titanium caseback. Whether this was done by choice or that it simply was not possible regarding to the construction of the case is unknown to me. PAM0661 will retail for €11,500 Euro and will probably available around October 2016.
Take it with a grain of salt or two, but the Luminor Due is more or less the dress watch from the collection. Due stands for ‘two’ but can be read as Mark II or second version as well.
Don’t expect a 37mm ultra-thin dress watch here, but rather a more sophisticated looking version of the Luminor. The ‘dress’ factor is mainly due to the thinness of the cases. These thin cases could be established because of a pair of thin movements of course. The 42mm models use the hand-wound caliber P1000 (and P1000/10 for the gold version) while the 45mm models use the automatic movement caliber P4000 (P4000/10 for the gold version).
Purists might say that a Panerai should have a hand-wound movement, but who can say no to an automatic movement with micro-rotor? The P4000 movement by Panerai was introduced in 2014 and they decided to use it for their 45mm versions of the Due. The P1000 movement is a hand-wound caliber that only measures 3.85mm in height. No wonder Panerai is able to keep these watches at 10.50mm thick for the 42mm and 10.7mm for the 45mm models.
Below an image of the Panerai Luminor Due 42mm and 45mm side-by-side, showing their P1000 and P4000 movements.
As I wrote above, the gold versions have a slightly different movement, indicated with a /10. Below, the gold version, PAM00675 and its movement caliber P4000/10. It has a skeletonized main plate that shows the wheels and gears. The 22k gold micro-rotor also has a different finish than the regular P4000 movement.
So once you make the decision to buy the Luminor Due as a more ‘suit’ friendly watch, the question is: 42mm or 45mm? Can a 45mm watch really be a dress watch? I tried both and I have to say that the 45mm actually fits quite well on my fairly large wrists. I also have to admit that while the Due is really a Panerai design-wise, the case is really thin. I associate Panerai with sports watches, so I missed that feel a bit with this thin Luminor Due watch. In that regard, they succeeded in creating a more sophisticated piece that will fit under your cuffs. To me, I just missed that Panerai-code a bit with this Due dress watch. Not regarding its looks, but when worn on the wrist you definitely feel the difference.
That said, I can imagine someone wants to add a Luminor Due to his existing collection of Panerai watches. It also might attract the female buyer, with its slender look & feel. Below, the gold and stainless steel 45mm versions side-by-side.
There are 4 Luminor Due references, for now. Two for the 42mm and two for the 45mm versions, each size available in red gold and in stainless steel.
The gold versions have this anthracite sun-burst dial and a skeletonized movement, as written above.
I’ve been told that these watches are expected to be delivered around September 2016.
It is quite special that a Richemont brand introduces watches right after the annual SIHH exhibition. Panerai decided to do so, and their initial introduction was in Florence, Italy last May. The changes on the Luminor Marina are in my opinion very nicely done. The Luminor Marina 1950 3-Days has become a bit more wearable and just has been freshened up. I think Panerai did a great job ensuring their icon to stay an icon.
The Luminor Due is the talking piece I guess. When it was just shown in Florence (Firenze), the crowd made fuss about the WR of 30 meters instead of the usual 100 meters and 300 meters. Although my initial thoughts were similar to that of the crowd who made a fuss about it, now that I’ve seen the watches in the flesh, they are simply not diving watches. Or watches to swim with at all to be honest.
More information via Panerai on-line.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more