By the 2000s, mechanical watches were very popular. Major brands are no longer just selling instruments that tell the time, but become the cornerstone of the luxury world, and the watch industry is booming.
When it comes to watches, Panerai is one of the brands that shaped the 2000s. The collection features Luminor, Luminor Marina and Mare Nostrum. After that, the brand quickly made a name for itself and was a huge success.
Panerai is one of the big names in shaping the watch industry’s focus on bigger watches. For most watch fans, this is probably the first name that comes to mind when asked to name a brand that makes oversized watches.
When it comes to different models, this list has hundreds of watches to choose from. Panerai has created numerous variants of its iconic timepieces. This is why it is difficult to choose from the different Luminor, Luminor Marina, Radiomir, Luminor Submersible and Mare Nostrum models.
Panerai Luminor Marina PAM00111
The Panerai Luminor Marina PAM00111 was launched in 2002 and quickly became a hit. The watch also features a white dial (PAM00113) that graced the wrist of Robert-Jan at Fratello in those days.
I’ve always preferred the classic aesthetic of the black dial with a nice leather strap over the white dial version. While I always choose the Luminor Base over the Marina because of its more minimalist look, the small seconds at 9 o’clock really brings the watch to life because you can see it in action.
The watch features a 44mm stainless steel case with a thickness of approximately 14.5mm and a lug width of 24mm. It comes with a beautiful domed crystal and is water resistant to 300 meters. I remember well that despite the size of the watch, it was comfortable on the wrist. Since I’m a big guy, size has never been an issue for me.
As we all know, the Luminor is a real strap monster. Panerai watches used to have a lot of different straps to choose from, and owners would change the straps on a regular basis. I’ve always liked the look of black dial Panerai models with light brown/sand suede or matte straps. These looks are iconic and authentic.
The most popular Panerai
Panerai is equipped with a COSC-certified Panerai movement OP XI inside a stainless steel case. This hand-wound movement is based on the Unitas 6497-2. It runs at 21,600vph, has 17 jewels, and has a power reserve of 56 hours.
The movement is robust, reliable and easy to service. It is also visible through the back of the sapphire display case as you can see in the picture. The sturdy look is reassuring, and I think it fits the overall design well.
In addition to the slightly different finish of the movement, earlier models from 2002 to 2005 featured a traditional black dial with painted numerals and hash marks. All models after the G series have a sandwich dial. I recommend chasing a version with a sandwich dial because it’s beautiful.
The black dial with the skeletonized numerals, pound sign and small seconds placed on a disc with Super-LumiNova luminous coating looks stunning. The layered structure adds great depth to the simple dial design, and it is these intricate details that make it such a beautiful timepiece. Finding the Luminor Marina PAM00111 is not difficult.
Panerai Luminor 1950 “Fiddy” PAM00127
The watch features a 47mm stainless steel case. It’s a size you have to get used to, and it will be oversized on any wrist. But it’s not a size you’re not used to.
The dial doesn’t need it, and it would be more historically correct without it. I also feel that the size of the text is fairly small compared to other mostly balanced designs. For me, though, it doesn’t break the design.
I love seeing the sandwich dial with the contrasting gold hands through the extremely domed sapphire crystal. It makes the PAM00127 a spectacular piece that perfectly captures the vintage appeal of a time-honored watch.
The case is water-resistant to 100 meters, and inside you’ll find the COSC-certified Panerai movement OP XI that I just discussed with Luminor Marina. “1950” is the model that introduced this movement in 2002. As you can see, this is one of the early versions of this movement, adorned with repeating Panerai branding.
With the Luminor Marina, I was quickly introduced to the redesigned bridge. Compared to the base Unitas 6497-2, Panerai has redesigned the bridge to look like the legendary Rolex 618 movement. It’s a great detail, and coupled with the repeated Panerai name, it helps give the movement a lot of character. This great piece has a lot of personality overall, making it one of my favorite modern Panerai models.