Admittedly, Panerai is a brand I have stayed away from in regards to my personal collection. I like the design, heritage, and robustness of their watches. It’s really just the size that has scared me off, due to the fact I have rather small wrists. I am intimidated by the 44mm and 47mm models we got use to seeing from the brand, and the 38mm Luminor Duo fell just short for my tastes with its 30 metres of water-resistance. But this week Panerai has answered my prayers for the modern catalogue, offering up three new Panerai Luminor Marina Quaranta watches references – according to Panerai, the smallest models in the current Panerai Luminor Marina Quaranta watches collection. These watches are “substituting” the 42mm models in the collection.
So where does the diameter land with the new Panerai Luminor Marina Quaranta watches? 40mm. Yep, you read that right. Panerai has produced models in this size before, the Luminor Marina PAM 048 for example is 40mm in diameter (excluding the crown and crown guard), 16mm thick, and 48mm lug-to-lug across the wrist. So while Panerai has not detailed dimensions beyond diameter in their supplied press release, I would expect the diameter and lug-to-lug to be the same. The question that remains is whether or not the watch has been slimmed down through its newer caliber and decreased water resistance. The PAM 048 had 300 metres of water resistance, while these new Panerai Luminor Marina Quaranta watches offer a lesser but still competent depth rating of 100 metres – of course further secured by the brand’s signature safety-lock crown protection. It is my hope that the lower water-resistance means a slightly slimmer case, a respectable tradeoff if it turns out to be the case. We will know more when we go hands-on with the watches, so stay tuned for that. As for its finish, the stainless-steel cases and casebacks are satin brushed while their bezels are mirror polished – a hint of elegance for what was traditionally a tool watch, but as we all know many have been known to dress up their Panerai watches as well.
There are three dial colours to choose from, each with the same layout. The PAM01270 is likely the dressiest of the bunch with a sunburst blue dial. Then you have the white dialled PAM01271, which straddles the line of dressy and sporty, and last but not least the PAM01272 in black. The PAM01272 by all means can be dressed up as well, but in my opinion it is the most sport/tool-oriented of the three. Beneath the dial rests a luminous disc, which peers through the cut out Arabic numerals and hour indices of the dial to reveal their glow in darkness. There is no hashed minutes track, so if you are trying to synchronize the time its best to do so on a fifth minute of the dial. Three luminous hands provide the hours, minutes, and seconds, with the hours and minutes central and the seconds positioned on a sub-dial at the 9′ position. At 3′ is a dial-matching date complication, which unlike the PAM 048 is not magnified by a cyclops on the crystal. Affixing dive watches to leather straps is a bit of a pet-peeve for me, but Panerai has already announced more strap configurations will be arriving in the coming months for these watches. They are currently outfitted with dial complimentary leather straps – black alligator straps for the black and white dials and blue alligator for the blue dial – but more aquatic rubber strap options are on the way. Further good news is the fact that the incoming flexible rubber straps, as well as the paired alligator straps, will be/are built with quick-release systems. This means you can quickly swap between aesthetics, whether you want to be dress-ready or water-ready. For those who like to explore aftermarket options, the lug width is 22mm and the factory straps taper down to 20mm before reaching the stainless-steel buckle.
Inside each of the Panerai Luminor Marina Quaranta watches is the automatic Panerai caliber P.900, which notably includes an Incabloc anti-shock device and 72 hours of power reserve. If the base is in fact the OP XXXIV, then the P.900 caliber is in turn based on a Val-Flurier ebauche. Regardless of origins, it is definitely a quality caliber that should provide accurate, efficient, and robust performance.
So, what is my final verdict? Is this the smaller Panerai I have been waiting for. I’ll have to plead the fifth for now, and reserve my judgment for after we go hands-on with these watches in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.