The Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days PAM00372, or more affectionately known amongst Paneristis simply as the PAM 372 (PAM372), was first seen at SIHH 2011. It has since gone on to become one of the most popular Panerai models. Why? Probably because it combines so much of why people enjoy the brand including a minimalist military style and iconic case. Before talk about the watch, it is necessary to understand the circumstances under which this watch was conceived and its significance to Panerai’s history.
Back in 2002, Panerai released a Special Edition model known simply as the Luminor 1950 or more famously and simply as the “Fiddy” (like “fifty” for 1950). Limited to just 1,950 units, it wasn’t long before the Fiddy started exchanging hands at well over list price. Even now, more than a decade later, it is exchanging hands for more than double its list price.
Since the Fiddy, Paneristis have been clamoring for a “base” Fiddy. Base in Panerai speak refers to a watch with just the hour and minute hands and nothing else. In addition, the watch should be a regular production piece (not limited) so that everyone can have a chance of owning one at a slightly less insane price. Panerai listened, and in 2011 answered Paneristis’ prayers with the PAM 372 – a two hand 1950-style model that was not a limited edition.
As a result, the PAM 372 is one of the most eagerly anticipated Panerai watches in recent times. It was so hard to get your hands on one that I only managed to get mine – this watch you see here in the review – earlier this year.
Like the Fiddy, the PAM 372 also has a 47mm 1950-style stainless steel case, but with subtle differences. For one, the case is entirely polished stainless steel instead of brushed. However, the trademark “device protecting the crown” retains its brushed finishing. Additionally, the case also has a slightly different shape. It’s less chunky and has a cushion-shape profile that is more similar to the Radiomir watches. It also has slimmer lugs.
These subtle changes to the case has had a profound effect on the way the PAM 372 looks and wears. Overall, it looks less bulky, and despite its massive size, I found that it fits better than the smaller 44mm Luminor 1950 watches. It’s less top heavy, and sits closer and more snugly to the wrist.
Beating at 21,600 vph, the P.3000 uses two mainspring barrels connected in series to give it a power reserve of 72 hours or 3 days – hence the name. The PAM 372 winds really smoothly, as if the crown itself was bathed in rich butter. There’s no clicking sound, just a slight resistance that builds and builds until the movement is fully wound. However, to generate enough power for 3 days, it does take many turns before the watch is fully wound. This should not be a problem because winding is one of the joys of a manual movement.
The P.3000 is a basic time-only movement, but it does have a helpful feature up its sleeves. Pull the crown into the second position, and it lets you advance only the hours. This is useful if you find yourself traveling across timezones. This is actually a relatively rare complication. That said, the movement was never one of the PAM 372’s strong selling points as there are more advanced in-house Panerai movements out there. The P.3000 is about as basic as it gets Much of the PAM 372’s allure is down to the dial, which is highly reminiscent of the vintage Reference 6512. Like the vintage 6512, it has a sandwich dial and a simple design with only the hour markers (12, 3, 6 and 9 are in Panerai’s characteristic font) and the words Luminor Panerai engraved on it. The engraved words are then filled with an “ecru” colored paint, as are the hour markers. To match it, the hour and minute hands are done in gold. Like most Panerais, the PAM 372 is highly legible, both day and night.
Finally, to top it off, Panerai has decided to fit the PAM 372 with a highly-domed 3mm-thick Plexiglass crystal. This has been a point of contention amongst collectors and enthusiasts. Detractors argue that a Plexiglass crystal collects scratches too easily and has no place on a luxury watch. They would thus prefer a sapphire crystal. Also, Plexiglass adds thickness to an already bulky watch, making it tough to fit under shirt cuffs. On the other hand, those who like the Plexiglass crystal argue that it gives the dial a certain “warmth” that sapphire crystals can never hope to achieve with their clear, perfect clarity.
The Plexiglass crystal, it is highly domed, it distorts the dial at certain angles and the way it refracts light onto the dial makes the watch interesting to look at. “Warm” is an often used cliche when describing watches but that’s exactly what the Plexiglass crystal does. The PAM 422, which is really PAM 372 with a seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock and a sapphire crystal instead of a Plexiglass one, looks and feels cold in comparison. And while it does get scratched easily, it can be effortlessly touched up with some PolyWatch polish.
At 47mm, it is a big watch and this is likely to put people off. In addition, there are many times I see people asking on forums if it is too big for them to carry off.
It’s not adequate to just judge whether a watch is too big on you based on the size of your wrist. More importantly, one should look at how the watch fits you as a whole and many people are overlooking height as a factor.
Text: Kenny Yeo
Watches: PAM00127 / PAM00372
Accessories: L´invitta Legione
Photographer: Erwan Grey