The year was 2002 and I was at the official Panerai retail store in Florence. Previously, I was in Switzerland trying on a few other watches, including a root beer GMT Master (probably should’ve copped that!). I didn’t know anything about watches back then and I didn’t know anything about Panerai.
There is a douchebag component to Panerai, but so does Ferrari, and that doesn’t make Ferrari a bad car, not by a long shot. I know this turns off a lot of people, especially watch snobs, but Panerai does have a good history of watch making. Since they got their start, with a little help from Rolex, they have been manufacturing military and dive watches for 100 years.
This model is the ref# PAM00051, no longer in production. The movement is a tricked out stock ETA7750 with the chronograph parts removed. The watch is COSC certified, 28,880 vph, 21 jewels and rated at 300M. It was a bit smaller than the other Panerai watches at the time at 40mm. Most of the Panerai watches that were getting a lot of crap were the ones larger than 45mm. Whats funny is that it’s now the standard for a lot of dive watches. Back in my dad’s day (the 1950s) you couldn’t find a watch larger than 36mm. Now we have dinner plates for dials.
Panerai I think has taken a turn for the better. Now under the Richemont conglomerate, it sits with other luxury watch brands like IWC, A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, the list goes on and on. They have an in-house movement and are offering more sleek and dressy options, which they never had. That’s a good thing, since it seems to repel the douchebags.
I will always look at this watch fondly, like 1990s R&B. The music was great for the time, but I’ve moved on.