One thing I learned about myself whenever I look into a spanking new watch is how it really interests me as a wearer. Over time, I believe we as horology fans somehow delve into the deeper nature of owning a mechanical watch – that which gives us utmost satisfaction, after all, we shell good amount of money for our favorite timepieces. Now, I know this may sound a little off topic, our smartphones are more than capable to tell us what time it is and about the next event in our work or personal schedules but we still long to have a personal relationship with our mechanical timepieces. We may be enthusiasts or pure horology fans but this connection to our mechanical watches is what inspires watchmakers to make their watches even more pleasant to use. So without further ado, here is my take on the fascinating Luminor Marina PAM01351 watch featuring the time tested strong design codes of the brand.
Indeed, it is a very nice watch for which I got a lot of compliments for. As I mentioned in my previous write-ups that I have a rather large wrist so I often go for a bigger watch but not the very large ones like the one I covered here (Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio 47Mm Pam01305 Watch) not long ago, my experience with the new Luminor Marina is mostly positive. Comparisons aside, the Luminor Marina PAM01351 watch at 44 mm wears like a bigger watch. But then again, this observation is admittedly biased so I do not really know what experience you could have with the watch. For now please enjoy my honest review about this cool and classic Panerai watch.
As I mentioned above, the 44 mm size of the new Luminor Marina sounds “small” on paper but on the wrist, it feels big. This may have to do with the classic shape of the case or the static presence of the signature crown protection but all things considered, the Italian brand has made sure that this watch harkens back to its original form. Speaking about history, the Luminor case was created in 1993 and the first civilian case was first released with the pioneering collection of Panerai watches. The inspiration of the Luminor Marina has always been the 1950 case created for the underwater commandos of the Italian Navy. I believe that your guess would be the same as mine, the original case was designed with functionality in mind. Nevertheless, what we see now in the new Luminor is a highly innovated case but it is easy to see the reinterpretation of the classic tones of the original Luminor case. The brand was able to preserve all the goodness of the masculine Navy case albeit in a contemporary manner. All these add up to making a watch that has become an icon of luxury sports watchmaking.
Moreover, the brushed titanium finish adds a more robust feel to the watch but is not very overwhelming at all. I like the overall simplicity of the case design. I also like the neat bezel, and the smooth edges that extend throughout the crown guard. Mind you, 44 mm is regular size but is already large to a small wrist so for me, it feels just right.
Furthermore, the case being made in titanium is very light and is crafted with care for the wearer. I like that it is hypoallergenic and of course, being corrosion-resistant. Comfort wise, the watch is absolutely A plus. I like the lug design of Panerai’s 1950-style case, which has the downward sloping lugs exiting from a lower position giving it a closer distance to the wrist on the case.
Moving on to the dial, what I really like about it is its legibility. I will not beat around the bush, the bluish thing on the seconds subdial feels just in place. There is no patina here just a brown dial that is made to mimic a rather boring lazy afternoon but I still love it, the warmth makes me feel right at home. Brown for me is a nice color, akin to classical timepieces and personally, it is a very hospitable color, so seeing a bluish hand kind of puts some people off, but for the rest of the 99%, it is a great combination. This blue accent is nothing new for Panerai, besides blue harkens to the origins of the watch which is the color of the seas. While the blue accent feels just right, it brings a unique perspective to the watch, so looking at the watch for a while kind of makes me think that it is the odd element that stitches everything together.
Furthermore, the legibility of the sandwich dial is superb under normal lighting conditions courtesy of the luminous Arabic numerals and hour markers. Also, the date at the 3 o’clock looks small but hardly unreadable. Then there is the seconds subdial at the 9 o’clock with the odd blue hand. Come nightfall, the greenish lume takes over the dial in a very precise manner making it very easy to tell the time. I can safely guarantee that this is indeed a tool-ish watch to beat. Personally, I find the dial to be very nice with a warm color.
Moving on the strap, it is fine on the wrist but not as comfortable as I expected it to be. The material is leather so I expect that it will be comfortable down the line. Moreover, the beige color somehow makes the strap truly stand out so that is a plus for the strap.
Comfort wise, this is a very subjective issue and I specifically mentioned above that leather becomes comfortable to use through time. The convenient pin buckle is also finished with trapezoidal brushed titanium. In my experience, this is a very user-friendly system and swapping another strap is really quick and easy and the watch being a Panerai, there are a lot of options for the strap design and material.
Beating underneath the iconic and legendary case of the Luminor Marina PAM01351 watch is the impressive automatic mechanical P.9010 calibre executed entirely by Panerai. At a mere 6 mm thickness, this new movement is thinner compared to its thicker predecessor, the P.9000 caliber. Looking at the specs though, it packs more jewels, 31 to be exact. This is not unusual since the trend these days is to make the movement more efficient and to use innovative new technologies that ultimately result in a thinner movement while doubling or perhaps improving on the efficiency aspect.
Moreover, P.9010 caliber of the Luminor Marina PAM01351 watch features the highly innovative Glucydur® balance spring that yields better stability and protection to the movement from the daily wear and tear of using a mechanical timepiece. This amazing improvement is achieved by employing a bi-directional oscillating weight that constantly wounds the dual spring barrels. Panerai has always been innovative so I am not really surprised by this development as I reviewed not long ago with another Panerai watch. The experience was also the same, on the positive with minor annoyances.
So instead of going with the details again and again like a broken record, I want to talk about my experience with the movement instead. One thing I find quite annoying is the noisy rotor considering the caliber of the movement. I normally expect a quieter rotor especially since I love glancing at the dial in close proximity or when showing it off with friends. If the environment is loud, this is not a problem but when things get so quiet, you can really hear the noise emanating from the rotor so it is kind of embarrassing but of course, this is a really nice watch so nothing to be embarrassed about at least in hindsight. Nevertheless, it does not dampen the mood of appreciating what Panerai has done with the movement especially the massive porthole at the case back. By turning the watch over, what is revealed is the impressive movement through the sturdy sapphire crystal. It is lovely to be honest. You can see all the marks of a high-end watch. Of course, we can not see the full 200 components including the 31 jewels, but it is right there. The fonts used at the signages at the back are very legible in blue. The red and gold accents against a backdrop of metal looks really cool, making you appreciate the subtleties of owning a mechanical watch. Looking at the impressive balance springs is marvelous, now I really sound bias, but what really impresses me is the mechanism behind the technology.
The balance is fixed by a bridge with twin supports that beat at 28,800 vibrations per hour frequency or at 4 Hz. One of the benefits of this technique is a precise adjustment to the movement without incurring any damages. You can adjust the time without affecting the running minutes hand thanks to the device that directly moves only the relative hand in one-hour increments forwards or backwards. One particular advantage of this is jumping between time zones. Adding to the convenience is the adjustment of the hour hand also adjusts the date indicator automatically.
Furthermore, I can attest to the incredible three-day power reserve of the watch. Panerai says this is the basic standard for their in-house movements, no doubt about that indeed.
Pardon me if I may have sounded biased about this watch but rest assured I wanted to be really objective with my review of the Luminor Marina PAM01351 watch. While using the watch, to be honest, I sometimes forget that I needed to gather data about my real experience for my review and separate it with my theoretical expectations. It proved difficult because I actually enjoyed using the watch and even though I tried hard to fully scrutinized the watch, I found little annoyances other than least expected wrist comfort issues and an obvious noisy rotor. The fixed bezel is not an issue but when you have used other watches in Panerai portfolio you will know what I mean. Plus listening to positive comments from friends is also very reassuring about the quality of the watch.
The best aspect of the watch other than movement is the iconic case design. When you look at a Panerai, the first thing you will see is, of course, the massive crown guard on the side, it takes away your focus but this is actually good since you know that the watch you are looking at is an unmistakable Panerai watch. The feel of the switch when I adjust the time is kind of addictive, it has a really tactile feel to it that you would not find in low-end timepieces. At the price of $8,000 and this caliber, this is a no brainer but it is good to know that it really delivers to the price Panerai is asking for the watch.
I was not able to test the 300 m water resistance of the watch, pardon me. The 300 m rating is nothing to laugh at besides this is also a given considering the legacy of the Luminor. From a navy watch to a civilian watch, the Panerai brand has evolved nicely.
I also like the anti-glare property of the brush titanium finish which is very useful when you find yourself in direct sunlight. The legibility is superb in bright daylight – compare that to your smartwatch or a smartphone that has to struggle to stay readable in the brightest of environments. Yes, I like to compare since I mentioned above in my opening salvo that finding satisfaction should be a priority when looking to buy a mechanical watch. In my experience, the Luminor Marina PAM01351 watch is a very good fit.