Pre-Owned Spotlight: Go Big Or Go Home With Pre-Owned Panerai
Panerai has always spoken to me. There is something about those cushion cases and characteristic dials that lures me in. However, I have not yet gotten around to adding one to my collection. So for today’s picks, join me on the search for my dream pre-owned Panerai.
I have to state that I prefer to see Panerai doing the basics right. It is not a brand from which I expect fancy complications and exotic materials. So I have picked out some simpler versions, which are closer to their historical military forefathers. Furthermore, I will stick to some younger models. With older generations, you need to do solid homework regarding authenticity, which I cannot reliably do from a distance. I do not want to accidentally point you towards incorrect watches, so I will play a little on the safe side. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Pre-owned Panerai #1: PAM00914 Luminor
Let me kick things off with a 2019 addition to the Luminor collection, the PAM00914. The brand has, at times, been accused of doing otherwise, but this reference shows Panerai listening to its fan base. The 914’s predecessor went from a sandwich dial to a printed dial halfway through production. The price, however, remained the same. As a result, the Paneristi were disappointed and felt pushed towards more expensive models. The 914 then saw the reintroduction of the sandwich dial at a lower price point than its predecessor, the PAM00560. Naturally, this was met with great enthusiasm. I, for one, prefer the sandwich dial too.
This pre-owned 44mm Panerai Luminor is powered by the hand-wound P.5000. Its eight-day power reserve has great historical significance for the brand. Panerai fitted the eight-day Angelus SF240 caliber as early as 1958, printing “8 Giorni Brevettato” (8 days patented) on its dials.
This specific 300m-rated Luminor is on offer from Japan. It is worn but seems to be in pretty good nick. It is a full set, priced at ¥684,545 (roughly €4,900) with free insured shipping. As with any pre-owned watch, you may have to add local taxes and import duties depending on your location.
Pre-owned Panerai #2: PAM00992 Radiomir
Okay, this is possibly my favorite. If I were to go for one, it would be this or a PAM00183 or PAM00210. I love everything about it, from the blued hands to the oddly small sub-seconds and equally odd 8-Giorni label. It also features a sandwich dial and the same P.5000 eight-day caliber as the Luminor above.
What I like about the PAM00992 is its resemblance to the original Radiomirs supplied to the Italian Royal Navy. The main aesthetic difference is that it was sized down from 47mm to 45mm. That is still very much oversized but slightly more manageable on my tiny wrists.
This one is on offer from the US. It dates back to 2021 and seems to be in excellent condition. The seller is asking $7,260 (approximately €6,900) for it.
Pre-owned Panerai #3: PAM00779 Luminor California 8 Days DLC
My next pick is yet another P.5000 eight-day hand winder. This one, however, does not mention it anywhere on the dial. The PAM00779 is discontinued, and this particular specimen dates back to 2018. Its DLC-coated titanium case shows some mild wear but nothing overly off-putting.
The star of the show here is the sterile California dial, characterized by the Roman I, II, X, and XI paired with the Arabic 4, 5, 7, and 8. Few people realize that this dial style (originally called Error Proof) is actually original to Rolex/Panerai watches from the WWII era. So again, this pre-owned Panerai pays homage to the brand’s history.
This PAM00779 measures 44mm in diameter. Paired with the darker case, it should be the most subtle-wearing of the three watches here. However, that is a little like identifying the most pleasant of shark bites — basically, they’re not, in any form. However, this watch is undeniably cool. And it can be yours for $6,050 (about €5,750) from a dealer in the US.
Pre-owned Panerai #4: PAM00425 Radiomir S.L.C. 47mm
Can you fall in love with a dial? I think I can. I think I did when I first saw this. This is the PAM00425 in the original (whopping) 47mm case size. The dial is of the archetypal dive-watch style and is executed in a sandwich construction. There is something special about Panerai’s execution of this otherwise rather common dial style. The massive dial real estate allows for stretched dash markers, which are further accentuated by the undersized dot markers. The vast black emptiness around them and the oversized “Radiomir Panerai” text somehow make a strong statement.
The S.L.C. in the name stands for “Siluro a Lenta Corsa” (slow-running torpedo). These were the WWII-era submarines with external crews, as displayed on the dial.
This Radiomir is powered by the P.3000 movement with a power reserve of 72 hours. It is visible through the sapphire case back. I particularly enjoy details such as the gold-tone handset and the relief S.L.C. image on the dial. This one is on offer from Japan as just the watch only, so you have to accept life without the box and papers. The seller is asking ¥570,000 (roughly €4,085) plus shipping.
I would happily wear any of the four watches above. If I had to pick one, it would surely be the PAM00992. In fact, it sits pretty high on my wish list. It is such a unique and characterful watch. Unfortunately, it is the most expensive of the three. In fact, the price range is pretty wide considering how similar these watches are. If you can live with a more old-school ETA 6497-1-based caliber, the PAM00183 Black Seal is a great alternative for quite a bit less. If you dislike the small seconds, a PAM00210 is a great choice. As mentioned in the introduction, you have to do your homework, though. Chasing down a specimen from a reliable seller complete with the box and papers might be a good idea.
To me, Panerai is at its best in this segment. Unfortunately, the brand seems to aspire to loftier realms, like most of its peers. I would love to see Panerai stick to simple, no-nonsense design heroes like the models above and more modest pricing to match that philosophy. What do you think? Would you prefer Panerai to be more modest and toolish? Or do you like to see the brand push horological boundaries? Let us know in the comments below.
Oh, and if you are still wondering about that most pleasant shark bite, my vote goes to the nurse shark. Its teeth have evolved into something a lot less pointy and a lot more sucky. But I am open to reader suggestions.
*Featured image: Watch Exchange Co.