The Perfect Panerai?

Panerai Luminor Pam676

*Wipes eyes*. It’s real! Panerai finally did what many have asked for for years, and created a very wearable Luminor. I’m not sure what took so long, but I guess it’s better late than never. Not long ago, I told the W4L crew in our ongoing chat that if Panerai made a 42mm PAM372, I’d buy it in a second. I said this partially because I never thought they’d do it, but also because it would be a killer watch. Thankfully, this PAM676 has the running seconds that saved me from eating my words and shelling out $8K, but it’s still a tempting proposition.

Over the years, Panerai has released a few smaller options, but they’re either too rare to find, or they’re still really thick. This is where the 676 really adds value, the thickness. I’d have to say I’d still be interested in a 42mm Luminor if it were the same thickness as a PAM111, but the 10.5mm thickness here is a major eye-opener. You can pretty much count on one hand the amount of sports watches with a thickness of under 12mm, but here we have one from a brand known for giant watches almost too big for the Terminator.

PAM676

 

Okay, so there’s more than just a svelte appearance that the PAM676 has going for it. Panerai utilized the retro good looks of their 1950s case, as well as their classic sandwich dial to add a bit of depth to that 10.7mm heft. The other fantastic detail is the sunburst finish of the dial, which I know will be killer in natural light. Panerai didn’t stop there. They’ve been hard at work with developing movements, and here the 676 is packing their P.1000 3-day manual wind caliber. It’s a good looking movement for those that like the industrial-finished style, and certainly more interesting than an ETA6497 variant.

PAM676

With all of this goodness going on, there has to be a catch, right? Yes. There’s one major catch for me: the water resistance. Come on, Panerai — 30m?!? That’s just about enough water resistance to protect your watch from a rainy forecast. If achieving a modestly sized case requires a 270m reduction in water resistance, it’s almost not worth it. What am I missing here? Is the caseback not screw-down? Does the crown lock not work? I don’t get it. For a company known and built on dive watch history, I don’t see how they can even release a watch with this kind of resistance.

Despite the very disappointing water resistance, the PAM676 is a huge step in the right direction for Panerai. I have a feeling this watch is going to sell like hot cakes, which will hopefully prompt Panerai to look at doing other similarly sized references. Retail on the 676 is $8,100, which sounds about right considering their other in-house powered watches. Figuring second hand prices will be about 35 to 45% lower after a year or so, the PAM676 becomes an incredibly attractive option. Kudos to Panerai to going against their own grain.

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Shane is one of the founding members of Wound For Life and a contributor to several other publications. A lover of all things mechanical, his true passions lie with watches and adventure. To keep up with the latest from Shane, you can follow him on Twitter (@shanegriffin1) or Instagram (@shanegriffin25). If you’d like to get in touch with Shane, email him at shane@woundforlife.com.

6 Comments

  • May 18, 2016

    Mark Holland

    I think the design of these are stunning!

    However… The 30m wr just seems to be insane.

    As panerais key selling point is that of being dive watches (even to the point that they put the crown guard lever on these), to have essentially completely not bothered to even make it suitable for washing your hands with just seems like a major insult to their customers.

    Yes it’s more of a dress watch. I totally understand that, but there a lot of manufacturers making slim watches without a screw down crown (h2o hydra for example), with display case backs that can hit the 200m rating… All at about a 16th of the cost.

    It just goes against everything the company stands for and is know for. It’s really not tricky to hit that wr rating in a thin case, and at 8k you would think they could get a couple of gaskets in there for the budget.

    It’s not a matter of ‘will it be used for diving’, it’s a simple matter of build quality, manufacturing tolerances and creating a product their customers don’t have to worry about.

    This decision genuinely baffles me and reads of a bit of a slap in the face to their customer base when there is no good reason for doing so.

    It does look damn good though, but if they’ve cut corners on sealing the case properly… I’d have to wonder where else they have done the same?

  • May 18, 2016

    Ivan

    I am a Panerai fan but the water resistance is the elephant in the room. Panerai is a divers watch. Some of the Luminor 47mm models with a water resistance of 100m are already a bit incongruous. But 30m? 30m with the crown protective device and a sandwhich dial? Any micro with stock cases and push crowns can do much better than that. Come on, they are clearly having a laugh… It is lazy, spectacularly disingenuous and borderline dishonest.

  • May 19, 2016

    Han

    Who put the title in (‘the perfect Panerai’) ?

    The perfect Panerai has the water resistance of something that comes free with a pack of breakfast serial??

    Oh.

    Reality check: it’s an absolute disgrace and potentially a jump-the-shark moment for the brand.

    Someone should get fired for this.

  • May 20, 2016

    Ian

    I admit to wanting this watch. The 338 and 512 both had me interested, but this one *looks like* the winner that could finally get me to buy a Panerai. I emphasize ‘looks like,’ though, because the combination of crown lock and no water resistance is pretty absurd, and makes me feel a bit like a sucker for wanting this watch.

    • May 20, 2016

      Shane Griffin

      It really is a bummer about the water resistance. The title was a bit of clickbait, but if it had 100 or 200m of water resistance, I really think it’d be close to perfect. Oh well — maybe next time!

  • May 20, 2016

    Chris

    Just $8,100 for a three-hander dive watch with little water resistance? In-house movement be damned. It’s a pretty-ish overpriced bauble.