Editor’s note: We recently went hands-on with the new Panerai Luminor Chrono PAM01218 and found it to be an exceptional timepiece that offers more than what simply meets the eye at first glance. We would like to thank the Panerai Australia team for organising this photo-shoot. Please note that none of our posts are sponsored so if you like our work, you can support us by buying us a coffee.
If life were to be an anthology and watches one of its books, then here’s a look at the chapters that make the new PAM01218 so special.
Chapter 1 – Symmetric Simplicity
There is a quote by the famous architect Le Corbusier that has stayed with me since my design days: “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak”.
The dial of the new Panerai Luminor Chrono PAM01218 is a physical manifestation of this ideology. When lots of other brands are either releasing chronographs with very cluttered dials or going the panda (or reverse panda) route, this tone on tone sub-counters layout of the PAM01218 is welcome and refreshing.
The dial is also very symmetric, which further adds charm: the bi-compax counters are the same size and mirror each other; there is no unnecessary date window; texts at both 12’o clock and 6’o clock balance each other out, and so do the ‘12’ and ‘6’ Arabic numerals.
The two counters are also visibly more sunken and combined with the angled tachymetre flange ring allow for a more three-dimensional appeal to this particular version.
Talking about symmetry, I also appreciate that the pushers are now on the opposite side of the crown balancing the overall geometry of the timepiece. It reminded me a lot of my Heuer Monaco, but with just the opposite layout.
Its clean, simplistic layout eliminates the unnecessary, allowing for time to speak.
Chapter 2 – Raro come una mosca bianca
If you browse through Panerai’s current catalogue, there are a total of 13 watches bearing a white dial, but in reality, most of them are slightly coloured or off-white-ish. No doubt these have their own aged charm, but pure white dials are usually harder to come by (even in other brands’ catalogues). Simply said, raro come una mosca bianca, or the white dial is rare as a white fly.
And pristine white ‘sandwich’ dialled watches are even more uncommon. In fact, Panerai only recently introduced their first such offering earlier this year, sans the chronograph complication, the Luminor Marina PAM01314.
The new Panerai Luminor Chrono PAM01218 is one such handsome sports watch, that revels in the beauty of its (grained) white texture.
But what’s life without a touch of colour? The dial of the PAM01218 is enthused with life by the very subtle addition of bright blue in both the chronograph hands.
And as any true Paneristi will attest, dial’s night time seduction is arranged thanks to the dollops of lume — one can see the text ‘L Swiss Made L’ at the base — that alongside the hour markers and hands is also present even in the sunken sub-dials or bi-compax layout counters.
Our apologies but we photographed this is in a rush at a media event and couldn’t get the lume shots, but below is a generic picture from the website.
Chapter 3 – Ti sta a pennello
One of my personal apprehensions, and a concern for a lot of collectors with slimmer wrists is the large sizing of Panerai watches. You would then understand when I say that it was with a bit of hesitation that I put the Panerai Luminor Chrono PAM01218 on my 16cm wrist. And while usually I prefer ~39mm watches, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the watch fit me nicely.
One of the main reasons why anyone should seriously consider the PAM01218 is because not only does the watch has a solid wrist feel weighing in at 134g, but despite measuring 44mm x 15.65mm with a lug-to-lug length of ~53mm, it fits superbly.
It’s not that I wouldn’t mind a 42mm version of the same dial, but the 44mm diameter sure didn’t make me feel that the watch sat awkwardly on my slim wrists. I reckon this excellent sizing should work for both men (and should I dare say even women).
The watch also has a nice formal & sporty mix to it. It’s got a versatile character, and I found it to look good even with formal trousers, and it would look downright sexy when paired down with simple blue jeans and a white t-shirt.
Ti sta a pennello, or the new PAM01218 will fit your wrist perfectly (especially if you have larger wrists than mine).
Chapter 4 – Ticks The Right Boxes
The PAM01218 is part of the updated Luminor Chrono collection released recently at Watches & Wonders 2021. The brand’s catalogue is enriched with three variants in black (ref. PAM01109), blue (ref. PAM01110) and white dials, all regular production models. They all feature the new automatic mechanical calibre P.9200.
This 13¼ lignes diameter and 6.9mm thick movement comprises 41 jewels, beats at the standard frequency of 4Hz, and features a single barrel with 42-hour power-reserve.
Usually, Panerai movements that don’t start with ‘OP’ are in-house calibres, and while I am unsure as to if the new calibre P.9200 is indeed completely a manufacture calibre or not, I am still pleased to note that the movement makes use of an Incabloc® shockproof device and features a Glucydur® balance.
The calibre P.9200 is cased inside a 100m water-resistant AISI 316L brushed steel case and the watch comes on a comfortable black alligator strap with tone on tone stitching (24/22mm). You can also buy this on a brushed and polished steel bracelet — featuring a deployant clasp customised with an engraved “OP” logo — that increases the retail from 13’200 for 14’400 AUD.
Chapter 5 – Iconic & UNIQUE
As much as looks can be subjective, there is no denying that Panerai is universally known for its unique looks and history. Another reason why anyone should seriously consider the new PAM01218 is thanks to its iconic status.
The word iconic is thrown around a lot these days. Classic is another. Timeless, yet another. But only a few watches can truly hold on to this label of being iconic. Panerai Luminor is one of them. As a matter of fact, the design DNA inherently unique to the brand makes all of its watches similar, yet different.
Panerai watches are often misconstrued as oversized watches that are all very alike. But once you see these in the metal, they hum a different tune. And especially once strapped on the wrist, Panerais in general come to life. Such is the case with the PAM01218.
The simplicity is welcomed, embracing the unique design language of the timepieces. Heck, even Omega recently released their new Seamaster 300s with Panerai elements. The popularity and distinctiveness of a Panerai Luminor is no joking matter.
That iconic — there’s that word again — crown guard, the exceptional legibility, the clean-cut aesthetics, the cushion-shaped case, and the sandwich-dial construction, all harp to the same ideology: you simply can not deny the presence of a Panerai.
One can spot a Panerai from a mile away. Its wrist presence is legendary, whether be it on the wrist of the Regia Marina or a certain Sylvester Stallone.
So if you are someone who would like to own a timepiece that sets itself apart from a world of ‘certain other stainless steel sports watches’, the PAM01218 is an excellent alternative.
Talking about being unique, in another exciting news for watch enthusiasts, Panerai has also recently from 31st May 2021 onwards launched phone sales in Australia (and Hong Kong, Singapore). Not only can you now order the new Panerai watches socially distanced and from the comfort of your couch, but Panerai has also released special camouflage straps, which are e-commerce exclusive.
Whatever category you may file me under, a watch enthusiast, collector or reviewer, I find it impressive that Panerai is embracing the modern e-commerce trend, includes options like financing through Affirm on some pieces on their website, and have the Pam.Guard program that allows extended warranties.
Chapter 6 – Rompere il ghiaccio
For those who may not be aware of the brand, the distinctive looks sure are a conversation starter. And for those who collect these, the introduction of this charming white dial means it’s a great way to break the ice — Rompere il ghiaccio — at your next week social meet.
One of the major aspects in its favour for me aside from the dial is the execution of the case, both as a design language and finishing. This is something I can foresee myself going on about should I ever buy and sport this watch at an event.
This new set of Luminor Chrono watches feature the Luminor 1950 case design, something that I personally prefer over the Alessandro Bettarini designed cases or the 1950 ‘Vintage/Base’ style cases. I won’t go over all the subtle case differences here that only Paneristis will notice, but very briefly, the 1950 cushion-shaped case features longer gently sloped lugs directly carved out of a single block of shaped metal that meets the rather unique U-shaped case band artistically.
There is so much nuance to the case than simply being a thick ‘hockey puck’ which I as an architect appreciate. The meeting of the lugs with the case-top and the U-shaped case band has a sort of Antoni Gaudi meets Santiago Calatrava quality.
Moving on to the top, the outer bezel slopes inwards considerably, and then pretty much mirrors internally to feature the tachymetre scale external ‘rehaut’. This bezel is polished to provide contrast with the brushing present on the rest of the case (and buckle).
Another aspect I like is the inclusion of the crown guard system, and even though all Luminor family watches have this iconic patented device at 3’o clock, the 1950-style case here features the familiar markings of “R.E.G.” and “T.M”.
Flip the watch and the case finishings nuance continues, with the closed case-back featuring circular brushing and a sun-ray effect. We already mentioned that the watch is decently 100m water-resistant, and while purists may argue that all Panerai watches should be 300m given their history, I prefer the lower rating as it is high enough to not be afraid of water while also ensuring that design wise the case back sits almost flush on my slim wrists rather than having a bit of bump like in the Luminors with 300m rating.
That’s All Folks!
So there you have it; six features that show how the new Panerai Luminor PAM01218 writes the book on ultra-legible and daily-wearable chronographs. The PAM01218 can be both dressy and sporty, modern and timeless, without losing sight of what’s important: accuracy, legibility and styling.
Allow me to wrap this up in the words of Albert Einstein. “The core of beauty is simplicity.” The PAM01218 is simplistic beauty personified. It is truly a timepiece worth adding to your collection, non ci piove!
Stay tuned as more Panerai hands-on reviews are coming soon. To find out more about the Panerai Watches & Wonders 2021 watches, please head to their website here. You can purchase Panerai watches from Mr Porter here. All images unless otherwise specified are © Watch Ya Gonna Do About It. Make sure to check out our reviews of other Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.