Panerai watches are usually big, and while on the less-massive side, the Panerai Luminor hasn’t exactly deviated from the Italian watchmaker’s “more is more” attitude in making bold timepieces. Until recently. The Panerai Luminor Due collection has released a new version of the wildly popular watch with a 38mm case. It’s part of a package of six recent Dues that expands the field to include a new GMT and a variety of design updates.
A Flash Though Luminor’s History
This merits a quick look back at Panerai, founded in 1860. But not that far back, let’s just look to the 90s, 1993, specifically, when Panerai made the first Luminor watches available to the public. They had been making high-end military watches for decades. Their watchmaking expertise showed, and the world went wild for the Luminor, based on a Panerai design from the 1930s.
But the thing is, these watches were big (and many are still big). The traditional cushion-shaped case comes in at 47mm! Not everyone will want to lug something like that around. So Panerai presented an alternative and a few years back they introduced the Luminor Due collection, a smaller and more subtle version of the now-iconic watch. The Luminor Due is more appropriate for dress casual and workwear, something that’s not so bulky it can’t slip under a nice cuffed shirt. We started with 42mm cases in 2016 and got a few 38mm models in 2018.
Panerai Pitches to Women
Now, of course, there is no rule that says a woman shouldn’t wear an oversized watch. From red carpets to fashion shoots, we’ve seen big watches work with a variety of looks. But women tend to buy timepieces in the 38mm and under range. With slimmed-down and more compact cases, plus a variety of vibrant strap colors, it’s hard not to see Panerai’s push to put this watch on the wrists of women. And vice versa, a red gold case on a burgundy strap goes equally well on a man’s wrist.
The Latest Half Dozen
So what are these six new watches? With three of the six models (PAM00926, PAM00927 and PAM00964), we have brushed titanium cases, sunburst dials and alligator straps. All have date windows and 72-hour power reserves, with water resistance up to 30 meters. Yes, Panerai purists will gripe that a company with such a deep dive-watch history should offer 100-meter resistance. And they have a point but you’re probably not diving for sunken treasure any time soon. Prices on the new watches start at around $6,000 USD and go up to $15,000.
Now let’s take a closer look at the latest in the Luminor Due line.
This is the first time Panerai has gone with titanium on a 38mm watch. The dial keeps things simple with printed Arabic numerals. On the inside, you’ll find the automatic Calibre P.900 in-house movement. The watch comes with an alligator strap featuring a brushed-titanium buckle.
The bigger brother of the PAM00926 model, this 42mm case is also made of titanium and has the same movement that gives three days of power.
Things get just a tad more complicated when it comes to this entry. It’s a GMT! So that means we’ve got a GMT function in a micro-rotor movement (to keep the profile slim), the automatic in-house P.4002 caliber. It offers the same 72-hour reserve as the Calibre P.900. Beyond the dial’s date window, you’ve got a GMT hand topped by a traditional arrow, a small seconds/24-hour subdial that indicates AM or PM. Beige Super-LumiNova covers the indices and hands. With all of that going on, it’s the busiest dial of the new bunch.
This is one of the more popular of the latest additions and it’s easy to see why. It’s pure modern Panerai, no-nonsense with a tool-watch vibe that’s elevated by the contours of timeless Italian design. The polished stainless steel case looks classic on an alligator strap. The white dial is subtly contrasted by the black borders of the beige numerals and indices.
The big brother of the PAM01043, this 42mm watch wears wonderfully on its included deep brown calf leather strap. It shares the same in-house P.900 movement.
The last on the list we find the most expensive of the recent editions (north of 15k). You can probably tell from first glance it’s a bit higher-end than the others, likely due to its “Goldtech” case. Panerai took 18k gold and mixed it with platinum and copper to create an alloy that’s tarnish resistant and exudes more warmth than traditional all-gold. Match this red-hued alloy with a red alligator strap and you’ve got yourself a watch that wants to get out for a fun weekend. While the dial is similar to others above on the list, the hands are gold to go with the case and overall gleaming look.
In total, these new entries in the Luminor Due line are some of the most accessible watches Panerai has put out there in a while. With toned-down sizes, elegant dials and a variety of strap colors, they’re versatile enough to go with any look short of black-tie formal. So maybe take your eye off that Swiss timepiece you’ve been considering and turn your gaze south to enjoy some Italian style.