By Harlan Chapman-Green

Panerai is known throughout the business for its rugged, no-nonsense wristwatches. They are mechanical, heavy duty and very hard wearing. Watches such as the Luminor 1950 collection sport Panerai’s world-renowned locking crown system, too. Who could forget the fact that nearly all of their watches are cushion shaped, rather than the traditional round? What we weren’t expecting them to do recently was launch a thin set of these watches, which aim squarely at becoming essential items for a man’s dressy collection, alongside such fine timepieces as Patek Philippe’s Calatrava or the Rolex DateJust.

However, while the products themselves are elegant to behold, they weren’t massively well received by the market. Collectors weren’t entirely sure of this new move from Panerai, which hadn’t made an all-out dress watch before. Before, the closest their watches got to it were being small in diameter and simple, so they were thin, but they weren’t designed outright as a dress watch. While the Due watches are fine watches indeed, people were upset that Panerai offered them the Due with snap-in casebacks. These are known to be the least water resistant of the three methods one could use for a caseback. Considering that Panerai watches also use the most efficient water resistance method, the screw-down caseback, people were unhappy.

I can’t say for sure whether the new PAM00943 watch has a snap-in caseback or not, so unless we are informed otherwise, we can assume that the same carries over to this new watch. It’s not all bad news on the back, though, you can see through the sapphire crystal to a movement which has quite a good finish. Consider that Panerai’s finishing is done on a much larger scale than some of our favourites like Kari Voutilainen for Grönefeld, and you’ll find the movements look quite good. There’s also a three-day power reserve indicator for the P4001 calibre on the back, here, as well as a micro-rotor too.

On the dial side is a sunburst polish which gives some balance to the polished stainless steel case. You’ll also find a small-seconds hand and a wide format date. There’s even Panerai’s signature crown guard system, which they’ve refined enough to make it quite thin. I’ve seen other Due watches with this on before, and I can say it doesn’t feel any less sturdy than on something massive like a PAM00389. The 45mm case on this watch is thin, but thanks to Panerai’s substantial straps it will sit flush on the wrist and is undoubtedly very comfortable. That isn’t something you’d perhaps expect of a watch with corners, but Panerai watches do tend to be unexpected.