I have been into wristwatches for quite a long time now and I have seen a large number of wonderful timepieces with distinctive designs and functionalities. Yes, we all know watches are for time telling but to us horology fans, it goes beyond this time telling functionality, every watch has its unique personality that blends well with the wearer’s attitude. Therefore, you can easily tell a man’s preference based on the watch on his wrist – while purely subjective this is how I see it.
So in saying about my exposure to watches, I have always liked the intricacy of Panerai aesthetics. From the svelte lines of the Radiomir to the gentleman charms of the Luminor and the tool-ish personality of the Submersible, Panerai has always been on the front lines. I have a good size wrist so a large watch is always welcome and Panerai watches are generally speaking quite large but of course, even for me, this is a bit too large. Technically, most of Panerai’s interesting designs are larger than 44 mm which may not be the preference of many horology fans but if you are like me, who are inclined to use large tool-ish watches with emphasis on style too, I am very sure you will also like the Panerai Pam01305 so join me as I share my long-term review of this impressive timepiece. First, I personally offer my gratitude to Panerai for lending me the watch for 2 months so folks, you will only read an honest review about this amazing timepiece.
So without further ado, the Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio is one of the most classic Panerai Submersibles. It is very easy to see the classic charms of the watch but of course, you can as easily feel the contemporary improvements made to the watch such as the powerful P.9010 calibre ticking under the hood.
Of course, the Luminor Submersible 1950 model produced in the past years with the reference PAM00305 is a really cool watch, no doubt about that but the new iteration with its new dial and mechanism refreshed after a small makeup operation is just a whole bunch better. Interestingly though, based on my experience with the watch, the technical features of the PAM01305’s mechanism, with the updated bridge design, are the same as its predecessor.
Case in point, the Luminor Submersible is also available in 44 mm and 42 mm sizes, but the one I have here is the 47 mm titanium edition. While the 47 mm feels large on paper, when you get to use it, it feels very much like a normal size watch, and this is because of the design of the watch and of course the case is extremely lightweight thanks to the titanium. Nonetheless, I appreciate the brand for going the extra mile by offering everybody a choice, the 42 mm size is very small for my taste but honestly, it also looks immensely nice, just not for me.
Moving on, the whole case is made of titanium. This material exhibits excellent corrosion and external shocks resistance and we only see them used on high-end timepieces. One thing I really like about this material though aside from the obvious strength and aesthetics is its lightweight property. It is practically the reason why this watch with a 47 mm in diameter case feels more like a 42 mm watch. Yes, at this size, any watch is considered hefty and they may not be very comfortable to wear on a casual basis. This is not the case for the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio PAM01305 as it definitely feels like a regular watch.
I also like the comfort aided by the lug design of Panerai’s 1950-style case, which has the downward sloping lugs that exit from a lower position which is closer to the wrist on the case. While on some level, this gives an impression of a floating case and adds to the impression that the watch is not really big, it does feel big and you have to be choosy on what you wear because the hight of the case means that it will get on the way of your attire.
I like the model’s uni-rotational bezel for its absolute functionality. Personally, I prefer aligning the bezel to the minutes hand to achieve a chronograph function as it gives the most convenience for me. The tactile feel of turning the bezel is good but could have been made better relative to the price of the watch. I also noticed that the bezel does not perfectly align with the dial markers but of course, you will not really notice it in normal use. This is not a big deal since we have rounded indices and the markers on the bezel are spot on.
In use, the bezel is excellent. The 60 clicks with a very tight mechanical action that is also weighted good sounds great. I think the alignment issue is because of the bezel offering a 60 click mechanism making perfect alignment quite difficult. However at this price point, it should have been addressed really well, it’s also in no way too much to ask from a watch at this caliber. Being a Panerai diver, the watch boasts of an impressive water tightness down to 300 meters.
What I really like about the dial is its legibility. All the markings and hands on the black dial are white, apart from the Panerai blue small seconds hand at 9 o’clock. While this blue accent may feel a bit distant to the whole design concept of the watch, more like black and white, the more you look at it, the easier you will notice that it brings a kind of cool aspect to the rather bland dial of the watch. The simplicity is spot on, I always like this part. Pretty much, everything is readable notwithstanding the fact that we have ourselves here a really humongous watch at 47 mm case diameter.
Moreover, the legibility under normal lighting conditions is superb as well as in the dark, thanks to the use of Super-LumiNova applied to the markers, hands and graduated scale. Being a tool-ish watch, the bezel glows with a bright blue color instead of the traditional fluorescent green present on the other markers on the dial. I like this design because it practically separates the bezel reading from the other aspect of the watch therefore to the professional diver, this adds more convenience. As to a normal wearer, it offers some sort of style or a clearer reference point. What it does really good is avoiding any possibility of confusion in calculating times of immersion for the professional crowd.
Do not get me started on the strap – I really like this strap because it is very comfortable. And I wish all watches have proper straps offered on the get-go like this one offered by Panerai that is not only supple but very versatile. Moreover, the Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio is supplied with a sturdy and fully functional black rubber strap. It also features a titanium pin buckle that is very user-friendly and mates perfectly with the whole style of the watch. Comfort wise, if you are averse with metallic surfaces, the case itself already features hypoallergenic properties, and the bellow system on the strap means that sweat or body oils are dispersed efficiently. The flexibility of the strap is an absolute pleasure to experience.
For sporting events, this strap is a must-have should you decide to switch to a different strap. I like how the designers thought of making a hollowed system on the bottom of the strap as this facilitates air to flow better and I can confirm this from my experience as it definitely feels cool even in warm days.
Finally, switching straps is very easy as the lugs feature the brand’s quick release system. You just need to activate the trigger on the underside and then you push through horizontally to remove the strap and you can use anything that is compatible with the watch. Strap changing is, of course, a Panerai sub-culture so yes, the watch engineers definitely thought about that, making it really easy to get into 3rd party markets to customize your watch.
Powering the Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio is the automatic mechanical, P.9010 calibre. Compared to the older P.9000 caliber the P.9010 is noticeably thinner and has more jewels, 31 in number compared to the 28 of the older caliber. Also, the older caliber did not have the full dual-link balance springs that this new powerhouse has resulting in better protection to the movement from external shocks. The spring barrels are constantly wound by a bi-directional oscillating weight.
The movement offers two very useful functions: the mechanism for stopping the balance wheel when synchronizing the watch, and the device for changing the time quickly. The time zone function that allows you to drive the hour hand independently forwards or backwards without actually stopping the movement is superb. With this, you can also drive the date forwards or backwards without hazard to the movement or without interfering with the running of the watch. Pull the crown to its extremity and you hack the seconds which is really great to achieve a spot on adjustment. Personally, I used this hacking seconds method when I adjust using the atomic time reference. This is also wonderful when you land to another time zone and needs to quickly adjust the time. I find this functionality very requisite these days when the world seems smaller and smaller.
Moreover, turning the watch over, we see a large sapphire glass porthole. The Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio or PAM01305 features a cool skeletonized winding rotor that can be seen and admired through the exhibition caseback. The movement winds bidirectionally so it does not have the unidirectional rotor wobble you get from older 7750 based Panerai calibers. These precision engineering improvements indeed adds to a more robust movement that is capable of providing 3 days of power reserve.
The P.9010 calibre that powers the PAM01305 is designed and executed in-house and is exhibited dramatically through the large porthole at the back.
Gathering my thoughts about this watch while using it is not easy mainly because I seem to not notice how great of a watch it is. I really tried to be as objective as I can so yes, I may have scrutinized the watch a bit too much.
I covered all the good aspects of the watch particularly the classic case with its signature crown protector, an undoubtedly classic Panerai element. I love the switch, it feels responsive without being too clicky. While some dive watches offer more depth capacity, I personally think that the 300 m capability is already more than enough. If you go fishing for example and needs to look at the time quickly in the brightest of environments, the anti-glare property of the matte finishing on the case is a very cool feature to have. Likewise in a dark environment, the large lumed surfaces on the hands and indicators offer maximum legibility.
Moving forward, my gripe is with the size, as it is quite large even for my already large wrist. So basically the watch does not fit every occasion. Now, this is not really negative because the watch is not designed to be worn like that, I just needed to think in advance what to wear which feels a bit silly or counterintuitive. Another gripe I have is with the bezel that I already mentioned somewhere above. The bezel could have been done better as the quality feel when turning it does not fit the price of the watch. Finally, what is with the noisy rotor Panerai? While I love the movement, the rotor’s noise is very noticeable due to the ceramic bearings. Other than these things, the watch is superb, a pleasurable watch to wear on any day. Visit Panerai here.