Panerai as a brand is known for their large-sized tool watches that are instantly recognisable. With a very distinctive design language, they were extremely popular and gave birth to the name ‘Paneristi’, a term used by hardcore Panerai collectors to describe themselves.
The history of Panerai is actually a very interesting one, as the modern brand that we know today has only existed since 1993. First established in Florence, Italy in the 20th century, Panerai is most famous for producing technical equipment and precision instruments for the Italian military. This, of course, included wristwatches. Between the years 1938 and 1970, Panerai produced a very small amount of watches, in total around 1,600 pieces predominantly for the Marina Militaire (Italian Navy). On top of this, some pieces also made its way to Germany for the Kampfshwimmer (German Special Forces Navy Command) and also to the Egyptian Navy. Interestingly, they were all designed by Rolex and included movements produced by them. As not many pieces were made, vintage Panerai today are some of the most collectable pieces in the watch world, fetching high prices at auctions.
Fast forward to 1993, and the Panerai brand is revived, now producing watches for the civilian market. Unlike many brands that have been revived, all of Panerai’s watches have a direct lineage to their past and the design language is still closely tied to its historical roots.
This Panerai PAM 379 3 Days Oro Rosso was released in 2011 at SIHH and is one of the more special Panerais out there. Made in a limited edition of 501 pieces, it is a 47mm red gold timepiece that featured the then brand new in-house hand-wound Calibre P.3000.
With its iconic Radiomir cushion shape Red Gold case with wire lugs, its looks are certainly distinctive and unmistakably Panerai. Furthermore, it has a tobacco coloured sandwich dial, with its luminous material sitting beneath the dial and giving some very nice depth to the look. The sandwich dial is historically something that Panerai did with its military pieces and it is perhaps one of my favourite aspects about the brand's dial design. Featuring Arabic numerals at 12,3,6,9 and the dial design follows the same design cues and is very clean and legible. Topping this off is a very thick plexiglass that covers it all, a nice nod to Panerai’s vintage roots.
The Calibre P.3000 is a very high-quality movement that has a power reserve of 3 days. The movement features bevelled edges on the bridges, polished screws and a fine machine brushing, topping off a beautifully finished calibre. A nice thing about this movement is that in the screw down crown’s first position, the hour hand can be set independently, making it very useful for travelling between time zones.